TULUM, Mexico – The Impact of Industrialization and Climate Change on Tulum’s Beekeeping Industry. Patricio Tamay Dzib, hailing from the charming village of Chanchen Palmar, reflects on the gradual emergence of these challenges. He highlights how the market saturation of mass-produced sweeteners has taken a toll on the apicultural activity of the area. Moreover, the preference for cheap honey syrups made from sugar or artificial ingredients has contributed to this decline.
This shift in consumer preferences has driven down the price of the meticulously crafted honey produced through time-honored organic methods. Despite facing numerous adversities, these beekeepers remain steadfast in their commitment to their ancestral practices, ensuring the well-being of the bees and the process of chemical-free honey extraction.
Tamay Dzib emphasizes that the significance of bees transcends honey production. These industrious pollinators play a vital role in fertilizing pumpkin and maize crops, which, in turn, provide sustenance for the bees.
“During challenging times, we persist in caring for the bees and their surrounding ecosystem. We face various hurdles in the honey sector as synthetic sweeteners flood the market, devaluing our labor. The consequences are reflected in plummeting prices,” Tamay Dzib elaborates.
Furthermore, he laments the heartbreaking toll of bee fatalities resulting from pesticide use and other chemical substances. “Bees perish due to chemical poisoning; some are trapped in their cells, unable to emerge and meet an untimely demise,” he adds.
Marcos Ku Canché, owner of the esteemed meliponary, Las Tres Palmas, echoes these sentiments. He vividly recalls his childhood lessons from his grandfather on the art of beekeeping, recognizing the seismic shifts that have transpired since then.
In the face of adverse factors such as drought, high temperatures, lack of flowering, and excessive rainfall, Ku Canché has been compelled to resort to supplemental feeding to avert bee mortality. Adaptation has become the watchword, as they navigate through these challenges while preserving the essence of the wisdom passed down by their Maya forebears.
Tulum’s Beekeepers Undergo Census and Certification Process
A monumental initiative is underway in the Tulum Maya region – a comprehensive census of beekeepers. Concurrently, the rigorous process of federal certification has been initiated, spearheaded by Bady Gómez Soberano, the Director-General of Municipal Economics.
In recent months, a registry of rural honey producers in Tulum has been initiated, with approximately 100 beekeepers already accounted for. However, this effort is far from complete, as it seeks to encompass numerous local communities.
The objective of this undertaking is to obtain certification for Tulum’s honey. A rigorous evaluation and analysis are requisite, entailing meticulous examinations conducted by laboratories and chemists to assess the purity of this natural sweetener.
Engineers specializing in agronomy will scrutinize beekeeping practices, hive management, and honey-processing techniques. The culmination of this endeavor would mark a significant achievement, as no beekeeper in the region has yet attained this coveted certification. The process is poised to elevate the quality of Tulum’s honey and establish an organic framework for its production.
Empowering Families and Fostering Economic Growth
In a heartening endeavor, 48 families from the Tulum Maya region have been provided with essential resources and equipment, poised to catalyze economic advancement.
The distribution encompasses queen bees, beehives, boxes, embossed wax sheets, specialized attire, and over a ton of sugar. These invaluable resources represent an investment exceeding 279,000 pesos, sourced from municipal funds.