Strengthen the production chain of honey from native bees in order to constitute a sustainable economic alternative to deforestation
24 rural communities (quilombolas, indigenous, riverside and extractive), making up a target audience of 373 individuals
States of Amapá and Pará
Project selected in the first Amazon Fund’s direct public call-to-submission of sustainable production projects
The project focused on the creation of melipon bees, a term used to name the species of stingless bee native to the Amazon. Honey extraction from these bees is called meliponiculture and is part of traditional local practices, usually intended for food consumption and popular pharmacy.
Meliponiculture, in addition to bringing benefits to the community because it is a complementary income alternative and contributes to food security, has relevant environmental effects. The native bee is an important pollinating agent, contributing directly to the pollination of trees and, consequently, to the renewal of the forest and the stability of ecosystems.
The traditional communities involved in the project have been working with honey production since 2006, under the Peabiru Institute's Native Bees Program. This institute is a¹ Brazilian Oscip, with more than two decades of activity, whose mission is to foster the role of social groups in the Amazon to promote full access to their fundamental rights, based in Belém, Pará.
The Amazon Nectar project worked on strengthening and expanding the productive and processing infrastructure, valuing the final product and structuring the marketing of honey from native bees produced by traditional communities (riverine, extractive and small farmers) in the municipalities of Curuçá, Almeirim and Monte Alegre, in the State of Pará; quilombolas² in the municipality of Macapá and indigenous in the municipality of Oiapoque, the latter two in the State of Amapá, which borders French Guiana.
The Amazon Nectar project is part of the “Sustainable Production (1) component of the Amazon Fund Logical Framework. Its direct effects were defined as follows: "production chain of honey from native bees with expanded scale and added value" and "managerial and technical capacities of traditional communities expanded to operate in the production chain of honey from native bees".
The actions supported contributed to the appreciation of the standing forest, by promoting the generation of income for local populations with environmental sustainability, thus contributing to the general objective of the Amazon Fund to "reduce deforestation with sustainable development in Legal Amazonia".
Click on the following image to view its objectives tree, that is, how the project's outputs and linked to the expected outcomes and impact.
¹ Oscip - Civil society organization in the public interest
² Quilombos consist of communities formed by descendants of escaped slaves before the abolition of slavery in Brazil in 1888.
|Date of approval||05.13.2014|
|Date of contract||08.27.2014|
|Date of conclusion||06.30.2022||Disbursement period||42 months (from the date the contract was signed)|
|4º disbursements||06.28.2017||R$584,164.63||Total amount disbursed||R$2,030,000.00|
Total amount disbursed in relation to the Amazon Fund’s support
The project contributed to an increase in installed capacity for a total of 4,075 boxes with colonies, of which 1,800 hives had already been implanted in the previous phase, and all meliponaries served by the project received authorization for the management of wildlife with the National Wildlife Management System (Sisfauna). Four hectares of agroforestry systems (AFSs) integrated to the meliponaries were implanted. The project also identified a private company as a potential outsourced processing unit for stingless bee honey, having worked in partnership with its technical staff in the successful fulfillment of the necessary requirements to obtain the registration of stingless bee honey with the Federal Inspection Service (SIF) of the Ministry of Agriculture and Supply (MAPA).
Training events were held on the management of stingless bees, in the form of courses, workshops, evaluation meetings and a symposium. The symposium on stingless bees had the support of the Goeldi Museum and mobilized 262 participants, having been an opportunity to discuss the value chain of stingless bees, with the participation of family producers and researchers from the Brazilian Agricultural Research Company (Embrapa), the Federal University of Pará (UFPA) and the Vale Technological Institute (ITV).
A series of research and other activities was developed based on a technical cooperation agreement signed between the Peabiru Institute and Embrapa Amazônia Oriental. Among them, the following stand out: (i) study of the benefits of meliponiculture for communities and the environment; (ii) cataloging of the species of flora that bees visit; (iii) study and improvement of the honey dehydration process for sale without refrigeration, with a moisture index of 20%; and (iv) barcode of Pará bees – genetic sequencing of stingless bees commonly used in production. This last activity was developed with the collaboration of the UFPA genetics team, still within the scope of the partnership with Embrapa.
With the support of the project, a demonstrative meliponary for pedagogical activities for students and producers in the vicinity was also installed at the Castanhal Campus of the Federal Institute of Pará (IFPA). With the creation of the meliponary on the Campus, the discipline of meliponiculture was included in the technical course in agriculture.
Finally, the project prepared a first business plan (“Matrix Business Plan of the Native Bees Honey Production Chain”), based on the meliponiculturists supported by the project. The dimensions of prices, processing, storage, expenses with logistics, competition, product differentials, marketing channels and marketing strategies for honey from native bees were analyzed.
RESULT AND IMPACT INDICATORS
The project activities contributed to the results related to the “sustainable production” component (1) of the Amazon Fund Logical Framework.
Below are the results of the main indicators agreed to monitor the expected direct effects.
- Number of hives in production (output indicator)
Target: 10,000 | Result achieved: 4,075
- Revenue obtained (outcome indicator)
Target: R$400 thousand | Result achieved: R$7.3 thousand
Both results achieved fell short of the target. One explanation for the low revenue generation is that for the implementation of the project it was necessary to promote the multiplication of hives, and that, while this process occurs, there is no production of honey for commercialization.
- Number of individuals trained in native bee breeding, agroecological practices, business management and production processes (efficiency indicator)
Target: 310 | Result achieved: 373
- Number of community organizations strengthened (outcome indicator)
Target: 6 | Result achieved: 1
In general, the planned goals were not achieved, although the project's actions were implemented satisfactorily, signaling, above all, that the project was mismatched with the result of these activities during the monitoring period. In this context, it is worth mentioning that meliponiculture is a challenging front, as it is a consolidating production chain.
Finally, the project benefited 45 indigenous individuals and 52 women from a total of 373 individuals directly benefited.
Institutional and administrative aspects
The Peabiru Institute entered into a Technical Cooperation Agreement with Embrapa Amazônia Oriental for the survey of floristic knowledge about plants of meliponiculture interest in areas of action of the Peabiru Institute and dissemination of meliponiculture technologies. Within the scope of this cooperation, as already mentioned, research was developed, including the participation of the UFPA genetics team. The Amazon Nectar project financed research grants and transportation expenses for Embrapa and UFPA scholarship holders.
Embrapa Amazônia Oriental is one of the 42 decentralized units of the Brazilian Agricultural Research Company (Embrapa), linked to the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Supply (MAPA). The research center was created in 1975 in the municipality of Belém, in the state of Pará, inheriting the structure of the former IAN (Northern Agronomic Institute), founded in 1939¹.
Risks and lessons learned
Among the lessons reported, we highlight the recommendation that demonstrative fields of meliponiculture be implemented in the vicinity of the proposed territory for about a year, sufficient time to ascertain the safety of the project in terms of biological threats, especially if there is the presence of “pillaging” bees (Lestrimelitta limao), which plunder the nests of other species to remove honey, pollen and wax.
Another lesson learned is to estimate a lower production of honey and a longer breeding time of hives in areas historically deforested and/or with strong vectors of deforestation, which can decrease the pasture for bees.
Sustainability of results
The actions supported were aimed at consolidating the value chain of stingless bees, promoting food security and income generation for local populations.
The financing of the Amazon Fund allowed to advance in the process of multiplication of parent hives and generated a squad available to the families involved that, it is believed, will allow an increase in honey production.
The project also contributed to the formalization of this activity in the Amazon, obtaining registration with the SIF that will benefit the marketing of honey produced within the scope of the project and in the region, as well as obtained for all meliponaries served by the project authorization of wildlife management with Sisfauna.
Finally, the project contributed to the expansion and dissemination of knowledge about the value chain of stingless bees. It is worth mentioning the differentiated price that honey from native bees already reaches in the national and international market, even being demanded by fine cuisine.
¹ Source: Embrapa - https://www.embrapa.br/amazonia-oriental/apresentacao
In this area we offer some PDF files with the main publications generated by the project. Click the filename to start the download.