Professionalising Honey Cooperative JMHI
Optimising production and marketing of wild honey in Indonesia
In Indonesia, a major part of the rural population lives off small-scale, self-sufficient farming. They need additional sources of income to ensure their subsistence (food, education, health care). In the local forests, wild bee honey is largely available. Local farmers collect the honeycombs from the trees and then process and sell the honey. Formerly the harvest did not take place in a sustainable way, destroying the bee brood and causing the bee population to diminish progressively. Furthermore, the quality of the honey was very unsatisfactory.
The Indonesian honey network JMHI introduced sustainable means of harvesting and hygienic processing methods. They are supporting and training honey collectors’ cooperatives in the areas of:
- Maintenance, production and processing techniques
- Equipment to ensure better quality
- Sustainable forest management (such as planting nectar sources)
- Strengthening the organization of collectors
Over 1,000 honey collectors have now joined the network. However, more local groups acknowledge the network’s added value and wish to contribute locally to their own livelihoods and the conservation of their living environment. The network now aims at scaling up and consolidation.
As a result of this intervention, there now is a growing demand of this honey, in particular from the Indonesian elite in Jakarta, but also from eco-tourists and a large international food processing company. In addition, the price has improved greatly, because the honey now meets the applicable standards of sustainability, hygiene and quality. Increasing professionalism and sustainability of harvesting, processing and marketing of wild forest honey. If the quality, quantity and sustainability of the traditional production methods are improved, both sales and revenues can be increased. Thus, the production of honey becomes a durable source of income, improving the honey collectors’ living conditions. Moreover, this will prevent the rural population from having to resort to the sale of wood as an additional source of income, which would be devastating for the local ecosystem.