Brazilian beekeepers from Piauí state, in the Brazilian Northeast, have a lot to celebrate. The Central of Beekeeping Cooperatives of the Brazilian Semiarid (Casa Apis), based in Picos, in the south of the state, earned a Fair Trade Certificate January 28.
“Casa Apis had been going through the certification process for some time and now we received this piece of good news,” says the president of the Federation of Beekeeping Organizations of Piauí and director of Casa Apis, Antonio Leopoldino Dantas.
The entire honey certification process lasted nearly two years and is going to add even further value to the production from Piauí, in the domestic and foreign markets. The certification was issued by Fairtrade Labeling Organizations International (FLO), a German company.
“This certification represents a great progress, and Casa Apis is the country’s first honey fairtrade certified exporter. The certificate adds value to our honey, attests that the product from Piauí is a clean food, that is, pesticide-free, has quality and a fair price,” explains Dantas.
According to the director of Casa Apis, having a fairtrade certified product enables for the price of honey produced in the state to be raised. Presently, 1 kilogram of honey sells for US$ 3.20. The price should increase by 15%. The surplus will go to the beekeepers.
As a result of this new achievement, Casa Apis is going to ship four containers of honey to the United States and three to Europe over the next few days. This year, the organization estimates that it should produce 900 tons of honey.
Casa Apis is a processing center involving 1,500 beekeepers from the states of Piauí and Ceará. The Central is the result of the work of organizations, non-government and otherwise, such as the Brazilian Micro and Small Business Support Service (Sebrae) in Piauí, Fundação Banco do Brasil, the government of the state, and the Federation of Beekeeping Organizations of the State of Piauí.
The objective of Casa Apis is to avoid middlemen in honey processing and selling, and to make the region into one of the leading honey producers in the country and in Latin America.