Beekeepers in the Supportive Beekeeping program receive new personal protective equipment

“Coop members were excited to receive the new materials,” says José Antônio Monteiro

On Jul1y 6 and 7 at the Luiz Antônio unit, members of the Beekeepers Coop of the Ribeirão Preto Region (COOPERAPIS) and the Association of Beekeepers of Leme and the Leme Region (AAPILEME) received new personal protective equipment (PPE) for honey cultivation and harvesting.

Management and production techniques are needed to work with bees; yet, in addition, workers need special garments in order to guarantee their safety. During honey production and extraction, coveralls, a pair of gloves, a pair of boots and a smoker are necessary. And these were the materials coop members received from the International Paper Institute.

The personal protective equipment delivered to beekeepers is part of an IP initiative to renew coop members work tools once a year. According to COOPERAPIS leader José Antônio Monteiro, this is a very important initiative for all of the beekeepers, who use extremely high-quality material.

“When I foun2d out when I could pick up all of the packages, I let the coop members know. Some were super excited to receive the new protective equipment, which is why they came here with me to pick it up,” says Antônio, who has worked with beekeeping for over 40 years.

According to Monteiro, it is very gratifying to take part in the Supportive Beekeeping project. The program helps in the social and environmental development of local beekeepers and contributes to generating income for these workers, who use areas of International Paper’s eucalyptus forests.

IIP celebrates “Beekeeper Day”

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International Paper Institute prepared a special action for Beekeper Day, celebrated on May 22: distributing honey produced in ‘s planted forests, through the “Supportive Beekeeping” project, to workers at all of the company’s units in Brazil.

To honor the work of beekeepers, students put together packages with honey packets that will be delivered from May to along with an informative folder containing interesting facts about this date. In Mogi Guaçu (SP), Três Lagoas (MS) and Luiz Antônio (SP), these gifts will be handed out by the students. While at the packaging units, internal employees, designated as IP Institute “focal points”, will hand them out.

The honey was produced from last year’s harvest by the Association of Beekeepers of and the Region , which has been an

The “Supportive Beekeeping” project is aimed at using IP’s planted eucalyptus forests to produce and sell honey. A total of over 70 tons of honey have already been produced. The goal is also to expand development of production and contribute to generating income for local beekeepers.

Celebrating “Beekeeper Day” means celebrating how these workers care for bee , as well as a rich and healthy food. This is recognition of this

History of the date – Celebrated on May , Beekeeper Day pays homage to St. , considered the patron saint of all beekeepers as well as of those who work with the production of honey and its byproducts.

Brazilian beekeeping goes back to around when Father imported European bee colonies from Portugal, setting them up at beach, in .

Upon finding that these bees were having problems adapting as a result of the tropical climate, professor travelled to Africa with the support of the Ministry of queens, which were used in an apiary in , .

During this time, bees from hives were released, with the African bees crossing with the European bees that were already in the country. At that time, the study of new management techniques had not been widely explored. However, over time, the remaining beekeepers began to expand production methods.

After holding symposiums and congresses that brought together producers and researchers, beekeeping became a very important agricultural industry.

In the Brazilian Beekeeping Federation was founded, resulting in the first Brazilian congress in this industry, held three years later.

In Brazil ranked 4th among the world’s largest honey exporters. In the country was ranked 8th, according to data from the Brazilian Association of Honey Exporters .

Institute invites clandestine beekeepers to project

Honey produced without the use of standards puts the security of planted forests at risk


International Paper Institute recently began mapping its forest areas. This survey identifies the work of beekeepers with clandestine operations in the planted forests or in the Permanent Protection Areas (APP) maintained by IP.

The aim is to not only survey how many people work outside of the rules established by Supportive Beekeeping, but also to invite them to take part in the project. This establishes a dialog to share knowledge about honey production.

Beekeeping is an activity with little environmental impact because it depends on nature and on the time when each species flowers. But clandestine operations do not comply with security standards, which are essential across all activities at International Paper.

“We intend to invite these people to join Supportive Beekeeping. Security is a value at IP and irregular activity puts people’s health at risk along with maintenance of native areas, which we preserve,” says Gabriel Lima, a Social Responsibility and Sustainability Analyst at IP.

The coops that are part of Supportive Beekeeping, a project the company has maintained for seven years, work with the support of security standards established by IP, within current laws. With this, everyone wins! Not just in honey production and quality, but also in technical knowledge by sharing experiences with other beekeepers.

Apicultura Solidária estuda cultivo de mel em mata nativa

Institute assesses the possibility of extending sustainable production to areas protected by International Paper


Supportive Beekeeping, a project coordinated by International Paper Institute (IIP), is getting ready to reach new heights. In addition to producing honey in planted forests, this year, forest professionals and co-op beekeepers are studying the viability of extending the installation of the beehive boxes used in honey production to Legal Reserve (LR) areas maintained by International Paper (IP).

The idea is to implement the project in 2017 if studies demonstrate the feasibility of extending the apiaries within the safety and sustainability standards required by these LRs, as is currently done in eucalyptus planted forests.

Low environmental impact – Beekeeping is considered a sustainable agricultural activity, since it relies on nature in order to exist. Contrary to other crops, it does not disrupt the environment as it takes advantage of each location’s flora and the blossoming of each species.

Once production in Legal Reserve areas is authorized, it will gain more space and diversity for pollination of the most varied species.   Today, International Paper maintains nearly 26,000 acres of native forests.

THE PROJECT – Since 2011, Supportive Beekeeping has helped maintain the activities of Cooperapis, the Cooperative of the Beekeepers in the Ribeirão Preto Region, and of AAPILEME, the Association of Beekeepers of Leme and the Leme Region, which use IP’s eucalyptus forests to produce honey.   Most of the cooperative and association members make their living exclusively from beekeeping while others develop the activity to earn extra income.

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.

Beekeeping: an activity governed by nature

In celebration of “Beekeeper Day” on May 22, IIP is showing the ins and outs of honey production, work that depends on the whims of nature

In addition to its unmistakable flavor and aroma, honey is a versatile food with various benefits for the body. The relationship between this delicacy and man goes back to ancient times, Today, beekeeping is an important activity in the agricultural sector and an income alternative for many communities.

Beekeeper Day is celebrated on May 22, in honor of Saint Rita de Cássia, the patron saint of those working not only with honey production, but also with other bee byproducts, such as propolis, royal jelly and pollen. This activity not only requires profound knowledge of beekeeping and bee habitats, but also of specific care.

Beekeeping causes positive impacts in the social and economic areas and has contributed more and more to the growth of family farming generating sources of income for families living in the fields. That is the case of the beekeepers and employees at the Beekeeper Coop of the Ribeirão Preto Region (COOPERAPIS), who work in International Paper’s eucalyptus forests during the entire year, in a partnership that began in 2011 through the Supportive Beekeeping project, an International Paper Institute initiative.

In addition to creating income, the project has helped to establish the beekeepers in one place, without the need to travel great distances every day. “We are around 20 coop members plus employees and this work is a huge source of income that supports our families,” says the president of COOPERAPIS, José Antônio Monteiro, who has worked in the area for over 30 years.

He talks about how it works and the routine of coop members, as stipulated by weather conditions and nature. “We take it day by day. When we’re not in one area, we’re in another. If the weather is unfavorable, we work in the field or we’re in the shed, working with the wax. And the whole year is like this.” Production volume is also uncertain and depends on more than the work by beekeepers.

“Production depends on the year; in one we produce more, in another less. Honey is part of agriculture and agriculture depends greatly on the climate, on rain, on droughts, all of this influences our production. When we have a rainy year, like this one, it’s more complicated since the flower doesn’t hold much nectar, which the water washes away,” Monteiro explains.

Yet lack of rain can also be a problem. “When it doesn’t rain, the eucalyptus flower doesn’t open, which prevents pollination by bees and makes honey production impossible, causing the insects to migrate,” adds José. Migration of the bees is one of the most important activities in production and can guarantee their survival. “The flowering season comes and we have to migrate to an area with wildflowers, so the bees can find food. Production will only occur again starting in September,” he adds.

Monteiro points out that this work requires certain standards. “You have to have impeccable hygiene. We always stand on a sawhorse, off the ground. Extraction is done in an appropriate room.” He also explains that experience working is very valuable in this profession, but it is fundamental that beekeepers never stop studying the topic and taking part in courses whenever possible.

Supportive Beekeeping

The income José Monteiro and the other 24 beekeepers make is the result of a very important partnership, signed in 2011, between International Paper Institute and two coops. The project, entitled Supportive Beekeeping, fosters honey production in International Paper eucalyptus forests in the cities of Luiz Antônio, Mogi Guaçu, Altinópolis and Brotas, all in the state of São Paulo.

Without the program, the beekeepers at COOPERAPIS would have a very different reality. “This partnership added value to our production, which even has its own brand today. Without the IP partnership, we wouldn’t have the eucalyptus forest to place the bees in and we would have to migrate to distant regions. Today, our work is positive and we have great support from IP. They always give us a lot of attention with everything we need; there is always a lot of conversation, which is fundamental to our work.”

In addition to creating income for the region’s beekeepers, the project also offers a chance for coops to sell honey to distributors as well as at the company itself. Supportive Beekeeping has already shown significant results since it was implemented, with over 40 tons of honey produced.

2016: a year of expectations for Supportive Beekeeping

Rainfall volumes at the start of the year favor honey production among the Project’s member beekeepers


“Expectations are great!” It is with this enthusiasm that José Antônio Monteiro, president of COOPERAPIS (Beekeepers Coop of the Ribeirão Preto Region) and another 20 cooperative members started 2016. The reason came from above. “The volume of rainfall in the last few months will drive our honey production this year,” he says in celebration.

In addition to the many impacts on the water supply, the drought of 2015 also affected honey production among the country’s beekeepers. “Without rain, the eucalyptus doesn’t flower, and without flowers to pollinate, the bees don’t produce honey,” explains Arnaldo Maurício Correa Neto, a beekeeping consultant who provides support to AAPILEME (Beekeepers Association of Leme and the Leme Region), a new International Paper Institute partner in the Supportive Beekeeping program.

However, the consultant shares a warning. “Excessive rain can also hinder production. The ideal climate is a mix of moderate rainfall and sun, favoring flowering of plants, production of nectar by flowers and pollination by the bees.”

IIP project beekeepers are quite familiar with the damages from a lack of rain. While honey production in 2014 was 40,523 tons, 2015 ended with just 8.4 tons, even with twice as many beehive boxes. “It was a worrisome year for us. But we think that we will achieve great results in 2016,” says Monteiro. And there is good reason why. This year, around 1000 hives were set up in the eucalyptus forest that serves the Luiz Antônio unit. “Because the eucalyptus flowers from December to May, we are able to get between two to three ‘harvests,'” he estimates.

Outside of this period when the eucalyptus flowers, beekeepers make their living by harvesting wild honey, where beehive boxes are set up in native forest or in other types of crop, such as in orange orchards, for instance. International Paper is also able to make contributions here, since it maintains around 20% of its eucalyptus plantations as native forest. “Without the IP partnership, we wouldn’t survive in the region,” says José Antônio Monteiro.

According to Arnaldo Maurício Correa Neto, these partnerships with major companies are fundamental for these beekeeping groups. “Few companies have established beekeeping programs like IP. These partnerships with large companies foster formation of associations and coops among local beekeepers, who gain strength and government incentives. In the state of São Paulo, beekeepers that are not part of these groups will not survive,” says Arnaldo.

The Supportive Beekeeping Project currently has partnerships with two beekeeping groups that work in the forests in the regions of Mogi Guaçu and Luiz Antônio, benefitting around 25 people, including coops and employees.

Supportive Beekeeping: project optimizes use of forests and raises income in several regions

Generate income for regional beekeepers. This was the idea behind Supportive Beekeeping. The project, which since 2011 has fostered honey production in International Paper eucalyptus forests in the cities of Luiz Antônio, Mogi Guaçu, Altinópolis and Brotas, all in the state of São Paulo, is now showing very positive results. Over 40 tons of honey have already been produced in these regions, benefitting 24 beekeepers and 2 coops that have partnered with the project.

That is the case of the Beekeepers Coop of the Ribeirão Preto Region (COOPERAPIS). Its president, José Antônio Fernandes Monteiro, explains that the partnership with IPI was established in 2012 and confirms that the initiative has been a success. “Working with the Institute has significantly helped my coop. Nearly all of the areas where we usually work became sugarcane fields. Eucalyptus saved our business,” he says. And it was not just the coop that benefitted. According to Monteiro, the entire region benefitted financially from Supportive Beekeeping.

Monteiro also underscores that although the financial aspect is the most important aspect, the goal is set by nature. “How much we extract doesn’t depend on the will of producers. Nature indicates the volume we take and, therefore, what our earnings will be,” he says. In 2013, for example, honey production in International Paper forests was nearly 6 tons. While because of abundant rains in 2014, beekeepers reached production of over 40 tons. Because of a lack of rain in 2015, production fell again.

Produção de mel

In December, COOPERAPIS is returning to its activities in the eucalyptus fields and will put out a forecast for the new honey crop soon.

BENEFITS – The partnership between International Paper Institute and honey producers brings lots of benefits to all of the communities involved. The project also offers a chance for coops to sell honey to distributors as well as within IP units. That was the case in 2014, when the surplus production resulted in stands being set up at company factories for producers to sell their honey.  IP employees also get a jar of honey in their holiday baskets at the end of the year.