Small and medium Brazilian rural entrepreneurs are increasingly empowered to export their products. This semester, due to the Agro.BR project, farmers from northern Minas Gerais (in Southeast Brazil) got more training to improve their products and reach new quality standards.
A committee representing the Brazilian Confederation of Agriculture and Livestock (CNA) visited cooperatives oMinasf honey producers, fruit growers, and cheese makers. The team of specialists keeps following their businesses focusing on new opportunities for international buyers.
The trip included, for example, a visit to the Cooperative of Beekeepers of the North of Minas (COOPEMAPI), based in the city Bocaiuva. Their honey has already reached the United States, Belgium, Spain, Portugal, Germany, Italy, and China.
“These visits are important to understand the regional aspects and the beekeepers’ needs. Here, we are also following up on other training programs such as SENAR’s to improve the synergy between other initiatives,” said Rodrigo da Matta, Coordinator of International Trade Promotion at CNA’s International Relations Department.
Da Matta adds that bringing knowledge to producers is relevant to keep improving international standards. “The quality and certification part is very important, and beekeeping products need to share a story with international consumers. This will allow beekeepers to present the best of their production, gain new markets, and with that a fairer payment.”
Created in 2016 to add value to regional products, mostly from family farming, and to bring together associations from various cities, COOPEMAPI has been an example of work that proves the value of partnerships for the effectiveness of new projects. According to the cooperative’s President, Luciano Fernandes de Souza, the visit was an opportunity for them to see what is being done in their production, processing, and marketing. “We have several registered beekeepers and a certified process in the warehouse. This strengthens our partnership to make the beekeepers’ products reach the consumers,” he says.
COOPEMAPI’s associate, Pedro Victor Thiago Meira, already has his products arriving in German markets. On each jar, the beekeeper’s signature marks the origin of the honey, which is produced in the Guaraciama region. Working in the production chain for seven years, he saw its growth in the last two years and gained more quality with Technical Assistance. In 2021, were produced about 600 kilos of honey.
“We see that our work is doing well when people from out of town come to watch and participate, taking our name to other cities and countries. This visit by the CNA is a great honor. The role of the cooperative is to seek new markets, to guarantee a higher quality product—and, for this, we work together. I have just finished the Technical Assistance Program, which gave me more management knowledge.”
Regional products to the world
The CNA consultant, Ricardo Abreu, is closely following the growth of regional production and works to open world markets to Brazilian products. He explains that the North of Minas region has great potential for the development of beekeeping, not only because of the workforce but also due to the special blooms. Recently, the aroeira honey received the register of Geographical Indication.
“We have typical flowers from the Cerrado, such as pequi, cipó-uva, and aroeira, which will be great attractions to the world honey market, considering the great advantage it presents, with twice as many phenolic compounds compared to manuka honey. The world still doesn’t know about it, but this will happen soon. The CNA wants to show this to the world, this great variety of special kinds of honey, which not only nourishes but also heals. We will do everything possible with producers and partners to design regional products for the whole world.”