Beekeepers on both sides of the Nistru river produce and export sugar cakes for bees
March 16, 2023
In Alexandru Ivanov's family from the village of Butor on the left bank of the Nistru river, beekeeping has always been more than a profession – it is a passion and a way of life. His parents produced honey, following traditional honey extraction techniques and working with dedication and the young man inherited the love for bees and turned it into a promising business.
Last year, Alexandru extracted four tonnes of buckwheat, acacia and polyfloral honey. For the time being, the honey and bee products from Alexandru's bee farm are reaching the neighbouring villages and also Chișinău. Alexandru plans to export his products and sweeten the world with quality honey.
To achieve their goal, Alexandru and other members of the trade association on the left bank of the Nistru formed a partnership with the Association of Producers, Processors and Exporters of Beekeeping Products from the Codru area. Together they participated in a grants competition organised by the UNDP project “Advanced cross-river capacities for trade” (AdTrade) and won a US$50,000 grant from Sweden and the UK to adopt innovative technologies in the production and processing of agricultural products. This was the turning point for Alexandru's business and of his beekeeping associates: their farm became equipped with 100 vertical hives and modern equipment for removing, extracting honey and melting wax.
“Thanks to the assistance of the UNDP/AdTrade project, we have acquired modern beekeeping equipment which, in addition to increasing production, simplifies our work. This hive model reduces physical effort and makes our work more efficient. For example, whereas previously it took 10 people to remove the honey, now only four are needed. Honey extraction can be done by one person. This way, we will develop our business much more easily,” says Alexandru.
A first-of-its-kind bee feed production line
With the support of the AdTrade project, a first-of-its-kind bee feed production line has been set up in Moldova.
When nature can provide nothing or too little food for bees, beekeepers need to step in. Climatic conditions, floods, human activity, droughts – all these can take their toll on bee families. When it's too early and cold, bees can't forage for nectar, so they need extra food. In such cases, beekeepers feed them with cakes prepared from sugar syrup, protein supplements and various vitamins and minerals needed to feed the bees during the cold season.
Until now, beekeepers have had two options: either to prepare them at home, which is a risk as special conditions and techniques are needed to prepare the cakes; or to buy them from abroad, which is expensive.
“Now we have the equipment to make the sugar cakes without depending on anyone. More, we can prepare larger quantities and export the surplus,” explains Ștefan Condratiuc, Executive Director of the Association of Producers, Processors and Exporters of Beekeeping Products from the Codru area.
The beekeepers have been trained and mentored to meet the requirements to export to EU countries and the UK.
“The support we have received has helped us to become more competitive and to increase the quality and production volume of honey and honey products. We want to access new export markets together.”Ștefan Condratiuc, Executive Director of the Association of Producers, Processors and Exporters of Beekeeping Products from the Codru area.
With plans in place and endowed with the necessary equipment, beekeepers look more confidently to the future: “The assistance we have received has given us more strength to move forward and conquer new markets with a wide range of beekeeping products, including sugar cakes for bees. When there is a will, everything is possible,” concludes Ștefan Condratiuc.