Posted: 4 years ago

European Standards in Beekeeping

“I suggest that Georgian beekeepers combine their efforts under the same umbrella, because a united brand alleviates exports,” Philipp Steinheim, a representative of the German Society for International Cooperation (GIZ) said. 

The GIZ has developed a special guidebook for Georgian beekeepers for the production of safe and high-quality honey. The book’s presentation was held on November 14. The Project Director, Philipp Steinheim, noted that Georgian honey has good prospects on the EU market, if the honey is safe and meets quality standards. The GIZ Project Director has delivered the honey of two Georgian beekeepers to the Berlin Green Weekly, and the products sold out immediately. The products were adjusted to EU standards. 

“In 2016, Georgian honey was added to the list of Georgia’s exports items for EU market, and everybody expected that Georgian honey would appear on the EU market immediately, but it took 2 years after Georgian honey appeared in Europe. I displayed two varieties of Georgian honey at  the Green Weekly International Exhibition in Berlin. These products had passed all the tests. If you want to export honey to the EU, you have to meet  EU standards to prove your product is safe and high-quality”, Philipp Steinheim noted. 

Georgian beekeepers are able to get useful suggestions and recommendations from a guidebook that was introduced on November 14 for the production of high-quality honey. The 40-page guidebook was introduced by the Minister of Environmental Protection and Agriculture together with the EU Ambassador. The book’s electronic version has been already published on the official website of the Ministry, he said. 

“The Agriculture Minister will transfer these guidelines to all honey manufacturers. This book explains every stage of honey production in detail, like how to fight bee diseases without antibiotics. Honey with antibiotics is not admitted to the EU market”, Philipp Steinheim noted. 

The GIZ Project Director thinks that antibiotics are widely used in Georgia, while there are natural mechanisms against bee diseases. Seemingly, Georgian beekeepers have do not know that honey with antibiotics are not admitted to the EU market, Philipp Steinheim noted. Therefore, the project also calls for training beekeepers, he said. 

Philipp Steinheim recommends that Georgian beekeepers test export honey in Europe and launch honey exports under a united umbrella. 

“There are so-called fast tests that examine honey immediately, and give the important results. Naturally, perfect and valuable tests are required for export purposes, and these tests are available abroad. In Europe, as a result, a business tests their product, not the state sector. Business in itself is interested in having clean and pure honey. Many Georgian beekeepers and organizations are united, and I believe it would be better if more beekeepers and organizations are united under the same umbrella. In Europe, the authorities instruct that a single  association run, not 10 or 15, where discussions are held. Our recommendation is that Georgian beekeepers should set up wider associations to work together, because exports under the same umbrella and the same brand are easier”, Philipp Steinheim noted.