The Civirjic family has spent years working abroad. They returned to Moldova and started a bee farm with EU support. Photo: UNDP Moldova.

The Civirjic family from the southern part of the Republic of Moldova has spent years working abroad until they decided to return home. To earn their living, they started a bee farm with support from the European Union and are now producing honey-and-nuts.

Three years ago, Gheorghe and Tatiana Civirjic decided to return home in Cazaclia village from Ciadir-Lunga district to be close to their children and friends. They could not find a decent job and decided to start a business for living. They bought a small bee farm from a friend. Now they own a hundred beehives.

Moldova produces about 4,000 tons of honey. Companies buy this “liquid gold” and sell it abroad. According to statistics, over 85% of Moldovan honey is exported to the European Union countries. Thanks to the Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Agreement EU – Republic of Moldova, the number of bee farmers and the production of honey have been growing lately. Only in Cazaclia, there are over 30 bee farms.

Unlike other bee-keepers in the region, who wholesale their honey production to companies, the Civirjic family chose a different approach. They registered their own company and developed a retail channel for honey in Moldova. They positioned their brand thanks to an unusual package. They sell “liquid gold” in amphora-shaped glass bottles, canvas decorated. Oher producers across the country followed suit.

The company is selling their products under the brand “Sweet Honey” to emphasize that the honey produce din southern Moldova is sweeter indeed, compared to the one in other regions of the country. Meteorologists register 230 sunny days on average in the south, whilst other regions of Moldova register only about 200.

To increase their sales, the Civirjic family launched production of honey-based sweets: honey with dried fruit and nuts – walnuts, almonds, hazelnuts, dry apricots and figs.

“Nuts, dry fruits and honey are very healthy on their own, but if you combine these ingredients, you get a delicious and nutritious product to strengthen your immune system,” said Tatiana Civirjic, the founder of the family business.

In 2017, the family applied for a Call for Proposals announced by the Support to Agriculture and Rural Development Programme (SARD), financed by the European Union and implemented by UNDP.

With the help of EU’s EUR 5.500 grant and their own contribution, the Civirjic family purchased a mini production line to bottle honey, which allows producing over 1,000 bottles of honey per day, as well as a honey-creamer.

“This will allow us to make honey paste, creamed honey and other sweets in the future,” explains Tatiana Civirjic.

With the EU grant, they also bought a trailer with a platform, customized and assembled on their special order, which will be used to transport the beehives.

The EU support helped was key to boost the production and create three jobs. “We do hope that our honey with walnuts will become an emblem of the Republic of Moldova and will sooner or later reach EU customers as well,” said Tatiana Civirjic.

Tatiana Civirjic is one of the 30 entrepreneurs from Gagauzia, an autonomous territorial unit in Moldova, and Taraclia district who were awarded EU grants worth of up to  EUR18,500 each and benefited from consultancy services enabling them to set up or develop their businesses within SARD Programme.--- Article text goes here ---

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