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Naturland honey is produced not only in Germany but also by Naturland beekeepers in Mexico, Nicaragua and Romania. Since the beekeepers in Germany only satisfy 20% of its domestic consumption, the majority of German demand is met by imports of honey.

Itunuvico, a co-operative in Mexico, is this year exporting Naturland honey for the first time. Because of the great demand for organic honey, Naturland is expecting a further increase in the number of beekeepers abroad.

The Mexican state of Oaxaca has meanwhile become one of the main suppliers of organic honey in Mexico and in the world as a whole. This is also where the Naturland co-operative of Itunuvico is situated. It has been a member of the association since 2015 and is now exporting Naturland honey for the first time. Its 69 beekeepers manage some 9,000 bee colonies which produce about 400 tons of honey. The honey comes from not just one single honey plant but is multifloral, which means that the bees forage from many different flowering plants in this organic coffee growing region. The honey is filled in the co-operative’s own processing plant which processes nothing but organic honey.

Training courses in quality assurance

The new Naturland beekeepers have just completed a course on the maintenance of the internal inspection system. Those designated as internal inspectors receive special training. They monitor every single beekeeper in the co-operative for conformity to the Naturland standards. The external inspectors of CERES, the inspection body, check to see if the internal control system is operating correctly, which includes risk-based random checks directly on the premises of individual producers. Naturland developed this internal control system for growers’ co-operatives back in the mid-1990s in order to enable even smallholders to have access to organic certification.

Naturland is campaigning on behalf of bees

Naturland is involved in organic beekeeping both in Germany and abroad. One result of this commitment is its role as a co-initiator of IAF, IFOAM’s international apiculture forum, which was founded last year in order to promote organic beekeeping and to work towards saving the bees. In his role as co-ordinator of this forum, Manfred Fürst, the head of the international division of Naturland, is also involved in the organisation of the World Conference on Organic Beekeeping which is scheduled to take place from 6th - 10th September, 2016, in Argentina. The conference is being organised jointly with APIMONDIA, the International Federation of Beekeepers’ Associations, and with Coopsol, the Argentinian beekeeping co-operative. At a time when beekeepers the world over are lamenting major losses of bee colonies, it is important to make a contribution to lobby work and to public awareness campaigns in order to curtail practices which are harmful to the environment and hostile to bees.