During the 1970s, the local government of Oaxaca State in southeastern Mexico trained farmers, mostly indigenous people, in beekeeping to help them to generate some income and so to make their way out of poverty. But the only buyers they had for their honey were “coyotes” – unscrupulous middlemen who paid very little, or nothing at all.
At the end of the 1980s, some of the producers formed an unofficial union, which eventually became the Miel Flor de Campanilla Cooperative. In the nineties, they became Fairtrade Certified and were able to find markets for their products by selling without intermediaries.
Since then, Flor de Campanilla has built an enterprise which sells 60 tonnes of honey a year to international buyers. Flor de Campanilla is one of the 25 honey cooperatives that are currently Fairtrade Certified. For them, Fairtrade has opened up opportunities in a difficult market environment.
Honey is not traded on the stock exchange. The price depends on various production costs, different climate and vegetation zones, and the yield per bee colony. There have been fierce price battles on the market for honey that resulted in beekeepers being hardly able to live from their income on the conventional market. In this economic environment, Fairtrade guarantees stability for honey producers through a Minimum Price. It allows producers to cover their costs of production and contributes to more security for the bee keepers and their families.