Affected by the national coronavirus epidemic since the Spring Festival, the honey of bee farmers in the Tongbaishan area (Henan Province) and Xuankou Town (Wenchuan, Sichuan Province) is seriously unsalable. According to bee farmers, in the spring of previous years, all honey produced in one year should have been sold out. When spring and flowering come, the bees begin to gather honey in the new year. However, this year has come to the springtime and they still have a large number of unsalable honeys, bee farmers are very anxious.
Recently, in the process of continuously helping bee farmers transferring in Xinjiang, Hubei, Guizhou, Yunnan, and other places, the staff of CBCGDF’s Combating Epidemic and Rehabilitation Working Team learned that: at present, the unsalable honey of bee farmers in Henan, Sichuan and other places has not been solved until the Spring Festival. So after contacting many parties, CBCGDF found the online platform called Pinduoduo. After several rounds of negotiation, Pinduoduo has reached a preliminary agreement with bee farmers and is helping bee farmers to find a way to sell those unsalable honey. For bee farmers, honey is their sole source of income throughout the year.
In September 2018, CBCGDF established the first Community Conservation Area for Chinese bee in the Tongbaishan area of Henan Province for the protection of Chinese bee, a unique species in China, which is specially protected by local bee farmers. In the autumn and winter of 2019, the staff of CBCGDF learned that the sales volume of honey produced by Chinese honeybee was greatly impacted by the sales volume of honey mixed with syrup, and the honey produced by beekeepers with hard-working is hard to sell. At the same time, due to the national coronavirus epidemic situation from the Spring Festival to now, many bee farmers have not come out of the unsalable predicament.
“Our bee farmers usually live in the mountains and forests for a long time. We collect honey once a year in autumn. After collecting, we can only sell honey through some acquaintances or friends. I love post Weibo and blogs to sell my honey, and plus I have lots of old customers, so I do not have too many unsalable honeys. However, there are very few channels for other bee farmers, and they hold much unsalable honey”, said Liu Hongcheng, a bee farmer in Tongbaishan. His family has beekeeping for several generations. He started beekeeping when he was 16, and now he is almost 60.
Liu Hongcheng’s beekeeping technique is very good. Many beekeepers around him have studied the technique here. He said that when the year harvests, a box of bees can produce 70 catties of honey; when the year is poor, a box of bees can produce only 7 catties to 8 catties of honey. Bee farmers work very hard and spend almost all their time in the wild. In order to improve the quality of honey, he also led Chinese bees to caves and tree holes in remote places on the mountain to build nests, so as to finally collect real wild honey.
Liu Hongcheng said that in recent years, since the emergence of artificial fruit syrup honey, most ordinary consumers cannot distinguish between true honey and fake honey, resulting in difficult sales of bee farm products.
“The honey produced with rice syrup can be adjusted in color and taste; the fake honey can also pass the inspection by the quality inspection department. What flavor consumers want; manufacturers can adjust the honey to what flavor. However, these are not real honey produced by bees. In addition, due to the small output of ordinary bee farmers, and the cost of sending for inspection to certify, many bee farmers are reluctant to do those works.” According to Liu Hongcheng, there are about 60 to 70 bee farmers like him in the Tongbaishan area. At present, the coronavirus epidemic situation makes the life of those bee farmers more difficult. Now the total amount of unsalable honey is about 30,000 catties.
Xiao Zongwen from Wenchuan, Sichuan Province was also affected by the coronavirus epidemic. Where Xiao Zongwen lived was the epicenter of the “2008 Sichuan Earthquake”. During the earthquake, the whole village was almost destroyed, and the school collapsed. After the earthquake, the government built a new village, which was renamed “Epicenter New Village”. Xiao Zongwen’s family is also a beekeeper of three generations. He is the first beekeeper in this area to raise Chinese bees. He had only 7 to 8 cases at the beginning, and now he has about 200 cases. “I used to rely on Wang Yongchen's Chinese social media to sell some honey, but this year, affected by the coronavirus epidemic, I still have more than 300 catty of honey to sell.” According to Xiao Zongwen, there are 8 to 9 beekeepers who keep Chinese bees around his village. There should be thousands of catties of honey stored at home. Those beekeepers are also very anxious and worried.
Wang Yongchen is a former reporter of China National Radio (CNR). After the “2008 Sichuan Earthquake”, he organized the “Ten-year Trip Along the Yangtze River” activity and led reporters to the “Epicenter New Village” for many times, so he got to know Xiao Zongwen. In recent years, he has also been helping local bee farmers get rid of poverty and become rich. When he heard that the honey of bee farmers in Xiao Zongwen’s village was unsalable this year, he also contracted with CBCGDF’s Combating Epidemic and Rehabilitation Working Team, hoping to help find a solution to the current difficulties.
At present, after the active communication between CBCGDF and Pinduoduo e-commerce platform, now the unsalable honey from Tongbaishan and Wenchuan area are gradually selling through the e-commerce platform, hoping this can bring some help to bee farmers.
Original Chinese article:
By / Xue Tongtong