Improving honey production for farmers in the Eastern Highlands
MDF’s support to New Guinea Fruit has improved honey farmers’ capacity to produce and supply more honey.
New Guinea Fruits (NGF) is a leading producer of PNG honey based in Goroka, Eastern Highlands Province, where over 90% of the country’s honey is produced. It buys honey from local farmers, processes it and packages it under its “Highlands Honey” brand.
Initially focused on fruit-based products such as jams and wines, after 10 years of producing honey on a small scale, NGF saw the potential increase domestic honey production to compete with the rising supply of imported honey.
When MDF partnered with NGF in 2016 the company was producing about 10 MT of honey annually. In 2017, this increased to 20 MT and in 2018 it sourced over 48 MT from local farmers.
Beekeeping is not a traditional farming practice in PNG. In addition to the need for technical training in bee husbandry, including pest and disease management, almost all inputs are still imported. Access to basic items such as hives and veils is therefore not only difficult but beyond the budget of an average village farmer.
As a result, domestic honey production in PNG has remained dormant for the last three decades, while low priced imported honey has dominated the market.
To compete with imported honey, NGF had to supply more honey at a lower cost. Based on their model of working with local beekeepers, this required providing farmers with training on best practices, including pest and disease management, facilitating access to affordable inputs and increasing the number of farmers supplying honey.
In 2016, MDF partnered with NGF to help address some of these challenges. A bee expert was hired to boost the knowledge and skills of beekeepers, and a Beekeeping Guide and videos were produced. These are used to enhance training and promote beekeeping as a viable second income source to new farmers, and market NGF’s Highlands Honey brand to consumers.
NGF then initiated a credit facility through its input supply shop for low value items. With MDF’s support, the business also purchased wax molding equipment to produce wax locally.
In 2018, NGF started to buy more honey than it could process and distribute to its largest market, Port Moresby. Through its own initiative the company established a storage facility and hired additional sales staff there.
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