Supporting sustainable beekeeping
Beekeeping is a growing and popular subsidiary industry in Albania. The honey production has increased by approximately 145% during the last decade – still, the supply does not meet the domestic demand. The majority of beekeepers operate on a small scale with less than 20 hives and most of the honey is traded informally in the streets or purchased from the trusted farmer. This individualistic approach is largely the result of the fall of communism when people in rural areas needed to supplement their incomes.
Beekeeping: Towards sustainable livelihoods
The great potential of beekeeping as sustainable industry is not yet fully exploited. Especially small-scale beekeepers in rural areas face challenges in making their efforts profitable and sustainable. Low entry barriers for imported honey threaten less competitive Albanian beekeepers who in turn may not be able to meet international export requirements in terms of standardization, certification or quantities. The disbandment of government institutions in the 1990s that supported beekeeping caused severe gaps in the Albanian apiculture infrastructure. Today, key challenges for small-scale beekeepers include the increase of production and profit, greater use of value added products for additional profit, marketing and standardization of processes.
We are passionate about Albanian honey - especially added value honeys like the chestnut honey are unique and competitive. We are also aware of the role that tourism plays in promoting sustainable livelihoods. It is at the heart of the Honey Trail to spread the economic benefits of tourism and promote sustainable beekeeping. We want to support small-scale farmers to make use of the opportunities that derive from sustainable and environmentally beneficial beekeeping. A part of the tour price will be used to build on traditional skills and improve the capacities and resources of small-scale beekeepers in rural Albania.