10.1. Agricultural field
Beekeeping has been in decline in the past years and in particular there are less small producers. This is because there has been a varroa destructor infestation that hit all specie of bee and has made the care and breeding very hard. This parasite basically brought to extinction wild bees and now bees are almost only domestic animals. The strong decrease of these insects is damaging the natural balance and in particular the agricultural field where the bee has a fundamental role in pollination. This made beekeeping a positive and essential activity for the agribusiness. The consequence is that a lot of fruit producers are financing beekeeping in order to bring bees to their plantations.
Italy is now importing 50% of honey even if we have a species of bee that is among the best in the world for the quality of its honey. The Lunigiana has particular natural conditions that make it perfect for the production of the best Italian honeys. Often national premium are given to the producers of this area that in 2004 obtained the nomination of P.D.O. (protected designation of origin), the only Italian honey that can boast this high quality title.
These are the reasons why we have chosen this field for the creation of a working project that could have good chances of integration in the market and so with a few guarantees of success and lasting in time.
As we already said before this is an operating activity with a twenty years experience. We can count on a breeding that counted 650 hives in 2000 with corresponding families in good health ready for reproduction and in 2004 has reached more than 900 families. The project is to increase the number of families since “Il Pungiglione” obtained a certification of BIO honey (in 2004 we were the only ones producing P.D.O. BIO honey).
According to a study there are no issues in integrating in the market whole virgin honey sells even more so if it is obtained with Bio methods and P.D.O. certification.
In cooperation with the Association “Toscana Miele” which “Il Pungiglione” is a part of we realized a consortium honey production open to all beekeepers that work in Lunigiana to respond to the requests of the area. The honey factory became a place of aggregation, training, consulting, cultural dissemination for young people and old beekeepers and a reference point to those who want to start this kind of business. We also want to develop complementary activities to the production of honey like pollen-gathering, royal jelly, propolis, queens, new swarms that we obtain with some tricks and working methods of a part of the breeding.
In these facilities there are a lot of people besides the disadvantaged people and we think that this kind of relations are very important for both kinds.
10.2. Craft Field
The carpentry project counts on two full time persons that are members of the Association Papa Giovanni XXIII, are committed to this field and have a lot of experience.
According to recent studies the market of wooden equipment for beekeeping is expanding and we have the concrete chance to find a good place in the market.
Note: We presented the project to the authorities, the socio-educational services of the area and local institution and they accepted it with a lot of interest for the answers that can provide for our territory. So we are cooperating for the realization of a part of the project that is responding to the need of the land and in the meantime we are trying to use at best all the experience of the Community Papa Giovanni XXIII.