Papua New Guinea (PNG) is a major producer of raw materials such as cocoa, coffee, copra and agricultural products including honey. Despite such high production levels, PNG’s processing industry is small, reducing potential market and income earning opportunities for farmers and primary producers. One of the major causes for this issue is the weak links between processors and local suppliers of raw materials. This disconnect often means that the suppliers are not aware of market needs and the processors can’t find the right quality and quantity of products on a consistent basis.
One product with a high potential to grow in PNG is local honey. Only around 15% of the honey in the market is locally produced, while the rest is imported. Over the years, the number of trained beekeepers in PNG has reduced due to lack of support in the industry and the ones remaining struggle to meet the high demand for honey. Beekeeping is a technical skill and requires training from experts and some initial set up costs so people are often dissuaded from starting. There are a number of factors affecting reduced productivity, including lack of knowledge on beekeeping techniques, high input costs, as well as challenges with the better management of hives. The local industry that supplies inputs and tools for beekeeping is underdeveloped, increasing the costs of starting and maintaining a beekeeping operation.
MDF has partnered with New Guinea Fruit Co. (NGF), a major supplier of honey in the local market. NGF is a locally owned, honey processing business located in Eastern Highlands province, where 95% of the country’s beekeepers are located. The business buys honey from local beekeepers, processes it and then packages it under its brand name Highlands Honey. Since 2015, the business has only been able to supply a limited amount of the market demand, predominantly because of supply constraints.
The partnership with MDF builds the capacity of farmers with beekeeping techniques for new and existing beekeepers, creates access to affordable, locally produced input supplies and tools and promotes the potential benefits for farmers by investing in beekeeping and honey production as a livelihood. The aim is to increase the supply of quality honey to NGF, create additional income for farmers and make local honey more competitive in the local market.
Activities under the intervention include, hiring a beekeeping expert to train and build the capacity of the beekeepers on hive management techniques, expert carpenters will train local manufacturers in making essential tools such as hive boxes from local wood and quality marketing materials will be developed to promote beekeeping as a reliable income source. This partnership falls under the Rural Input Services engagement area.
Facebook: Highlands Honey PNG