Mozambican honey heading for world stage

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A Mozambican beekeeping operation founded by a South African beekeeper is aiming to capture not only global attention, but a significant share of the international market with its worldclass product.

Situated in the south of Mozambique’s Inhambane province, north-east of the capital Maputo, the AbelhaMoz Project has become the byword for certified organic, medical-grade honey that is on par with the best honey in the world.  

CEO Steve Joubert points out that the analysis of AbelhaMoz honey was done by three highly rated institutions, German quality assurance giant Intertek, the Pietermaritzburg-based food pathogen laboratory, SciCorp Laboratories and the University of Johannesburg.

Their verdict was unanimous: AbelhaMoz is one of the world’s purest organic honeys. “When our product  is measured to the three highest global organic standards in the world, we meet or exceed every parameter,” Joubert explains. “Over and above this, there are very few areas in the world left that offer the possibility of producing high volumes of untainted, superior quality organic honey.”

The secret of their success, he adds, is that their product hives are situated in a pristine environment more than 200km away from any pollution-creating industry or chemical farming operations. “The result speaks for itself: the honey is certified free from any heavy metals, GMOs, pesticides, toxic chemicals, salmonella or bee diseases such as Verroa Mites or American Foul Brood,” he says.

Read more about South African honeybees.

A match for Manuka Honey

Comparing AbelhaMoz honey to the world-famous Manuka honey from New Zealand, Joubert says the only ingredient making the latter superior to their offering is methylglyoxal (MGO). “While other types of honey also contain this organic compound, it is found in particulary high levels in Manuka,” he explains. “MGO is one of the more than 200 components, of which roughly half are sugars, found in honey.”

“However, globally accredited scientists have identified 14 elements in our honey, that are powerful, natural anti-carcinogenic chemicals. Once this has been verified by clinical trials, we believe that we will be able to call AbelhaMoz honey ‘anti-carcinogenic’ instead of merely saying it contains powerful anti-carcinogenic elements.”

Another factor adding to the unique nature of AbelhaMoz honey is the fact that their bees feed not only on nectar and pollen.  Most of the honey is produced by bees feeding on the secretions of other insects and plants, including the rare honey mushroom.

“Honey mushrooms grow in abundance in our forests, and the bees feed on its secretions,” Joubert explains. “The honey produced from the honey mushroom and insect secretions is called honeydew honey. It is a very special type of honey that contains many sought-after medicinal ingredients.”

Improving on local traditions

AbelhaMoz has forged strong partnerships with traditional honey gatherers and communities in the area.  Their objective, says Joubert, is to counteract the destructive effects of traditional methods by implementing more productive, environmentally friendly and financially rewarding modern beekeeping practices.

“Previously, traditional honey gatherers would use age-old methods, including incinerating the entire swarm at harvest, typically harvesting an average of only 2kg of honey for every bee colony lured into their tree-bark hives. For this they received less than $2,50 per kilogram”.

Expansion and World Heritage plans ahead

Covering an area of 200 000ha of unspoiled Mozambican forest, AbelhaMoz currently attends 1 000 hives, each producing approximately 30kg of honey per year.

However, Joubert predicts that the project could have up to 20 000 hives in five years. “This will make us a significant player and hopefully help us achieve our objective of having the AbelhaMoz honey-producing area declared a UN World Heritage Site,” he explains. “In fact, this is a key objective in the long-term viability of the AbelhaMoz Project and essential for halting any encroaching industries or chemical farming operations with potentially harmful intentions”.

Read more about how honey bees help pollinate blueberries.

Going global

AbelhaMoz is targeting high-end organic retailers and international pharmaceutical companies that value the medicinal qualities of honey. To this end, the project is focusing on potential buyers in the UK, Germany, France, the United States, Middle East and India where it will be used in Ayurvedic medicine. The group expects its premium product to fetch a price exceeding $50/kg. – Press release, AbelhaMoz


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