Europe is the main destination for Salvadoran honey. It is desired by the markets of Germany, France, Austria, and Portugal, while in Central America, the main buyers are Honduras and Costa Rica.
As a result of this, and despite the inconveniences of the COVID-19 pandemic, El Salvador exported around 1,000 tons of beehive honey in the 2020-2021 period, according to data from the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock (MAG).
The quality and flavor of this sweetener have allowed it to break through among foreign buyers, and this is the result of a joint effort between the producers and the Bee Product Safety Unit (UIPA) of the General Directorate of Livestock of the MAG.
This dependency supports producers with inspections and monitoring of diseases and pests in the field; in the same way, it verifies good practices in the apiaries. The person in charge of the UIPA, Álex Magaña, pointed out that these actions favor the beekeeper, since they allow him to keep his hives healthy, with early diagnosis to avoid pests such as varroa (a mite), the small hive beetle (PEC), or European foulbrood, a bacterial disease that affects young.
He indicated that this also allows the national product to be processed free of contaminants such as lead and pesticides.
«El Salvador is the second country in Central America with high exports because it meets the requirements; one of them is that the honey is free of veterinary drug residues and environmental contaminants. That’s why we support beekeepers on health issues» — added Magaña.
Rogelio Zavaleta is one of the beneficiaries of the UIPA actions, and currently he produces honey in the Melara canton, in La Libertad, where he owns two apiaries: one with 55 hives and the other with 58.
The beekeeper pointed out that the work of the MAG technicians is beneficial because the technical assistance provided allows them to have work parameters in the apiary.
«In the area I have two apiaries and each one is producing about seven barrels in the season. Before it was much better, due to climate change, the flora has decreased; however, they have always supported us with training, assistance, and pest control to maintain honey production» — commented Zavaleta.
Likewise, the producer has eight more apiaries that are distributed in Suchitoto, La Libertad, Tamanique, Quezaltepeque, and Aguilares, where he also receives the support of UIPA technicians to improve his production.