Supportive Beekeeping: beekeepers take training course at SEBRAE

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Beekeepers from International Paper Institute’s “Support Beekeeping” project took part in workshops to enhance techniques while also growing points of sale. The idea is that the Cooperative will gain more autonomy, therefore expanding its market share.

The project involves professionals from the Cooperative of Beekeepers of the Ribeirão Preto Region (COOPERAPIS), who work in the cities of Luiz Antônio, Brotas and Altinópolis and who use International Paper eucalyptus forests, among other growing areas, for honey production

The Cooperative, along with SEBRAE (Brazilian Support Service for Micro and Small Businesses), held courses for coop members. Training is able to increase knowledge, since the honey packaging process is entirely outsourced. With this training, the beekeepers will be able to package and distribute without needing a warehouse.

Through the “Supportive Beekeeping” project, beekeepers are benefitted by the IP Institute through creation of income as a result of production coming from planted forests, with this being the main means for coop members to support their families.

To gain greater mastery of work and grow their business, workshops were given from April to June of this year on Food Chain Relations, covering the following topics:

  • Legal Requirements for Officializing Business and Sales
  • Agroindustrial Products for Adding Value – Beekeeping
  • Distribution Channels

In October, there will be another training session, this time at Senac in Ribeirão Preto, where the beekeepers will attend more workshops and display their products.

Although packaging is outsourced, all honey is produced by the Cooperative: “We follow the companies during the packaging process, so that we can apply the standards we learn day-to-day,” explains José Antônio Monteiro, the leader of COOPERAPIS.

According to Monteiro, the Cooperative intends to expand its participation in workshops and, as a result, its points of sale, through packaging and distribution of honey in the market. In addition to the logistics side, these professionals are always looking for different solutions to any problem that can come up in production.

An eye on the calendar – In January, SEBRAE releases its calendar of courses and right at the beginning of the year beekeepers already find courses that appeal to the group in terms of improving professionally. Training is for everyone, including beginners. “The workshops are very important for the new people, including because they are learning to work and develop the beekeeping process,” says Monteiro.

With the training, the beekeepers gained knowledge on the management system, which also allows them to follow the process across the production chain. Moreover, they begin to have a broader view of their work: from installation of beehive boxes and harvest to packaging and distribution of the final product at points of sale. “The beekeepers admire the companies’ organization during the packaging tests. This makes them to value their work even more,” says Monteiro.

In order to make it possible for COOPERAPIS to package honey, the company needs a suitable space and that is the next step for the Cooperative. To do this, they need approval from the Federal Inspection Service (or SIF, its acronym in Portuguese), connected to the Department of Inspection of Products of Animal Origin (DIPOA, its acronym in Portuguese).

COOPERAPIS recognizes that it does good work in the market and that being involved in every stage of the honey production process is very important to gaining more space in the market. And the partnership with IIP is fundamental for all of these improvements to happen.  “If it weren’t for International Paper, through the Institute, we would not be able to grow our technical knowledge and enhance all of our production processes. Part of our success is the fruit of this partnership,” Monteiro reiterates.

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