Coping with the impact of the Covid crisis through beekeepingPublished: Dec 12, 2022 Reading time: 3 minutes
Mariana and Iurie Turtuteanu are beekeepers from Moldova. Inspired by fellow farmers from Ukraine, they decided to bring the innovative practice of apitherapy to their own country. With big aspirations but little knowledge in business, the entrepreneurs needed help with capacity building.
As part of a programme to help aspiring Moldovan enterprises, People in Need (PIN) has worked with business owners like the Turtuteanu’s in partnership with a local Socio-Economic Policy Centre, called “CONSENS.” The project has brought much needed training and coaching, and is part of the “COVID-19 Solidarity Programme for the Eastern Partnership'' project, financed by the European Union.
To get started, Mariana and Iurie Turtuteanu have built an apiary in Chiscareni village, in Moldova. Entering the space, guests are hypnotised by the buzzing of thousands of bees kept beneath the wooden house. The sound is so soothing it’s hard to stay awake. “It helps the nervous system, the immunity system, the respiratory organs, everything,” explains Iurie. “The air is imbued with pollen, honey, propolis, and is very beneficial for [human health].”
Bees, even in the bedroom
In addition to the bee-induced tranquillity, Iurie also makes a special honey brandy to help loosen the nerves. And for visitors who appreciate a more active type of leisure, the hosts will gladly organise tours around the village and the surrounding forests. At the end of a long hike, visitors can even taste some local dishes; Mariana is always happy to put her outstanding cooking skills to work.
Local pioneers in the field, the beekeepers, enjoy popularity especially among foreign tourists. But in recent months, the number of visitors has decreased due to the pandemic,but also the restrictions have limited the number of people they can host. “Besides the apitherapy house, we have four places for accommodation. We had to refuse many tourists because of the pandemic,” says Mariana. This had significantly hurt their income, and the entrepreneurs had to focus on diversifying their range of products and offerings. That is why they welcomed help from CONSENS.
Through “promotions and various seminars we learned many things on marketing, for instance. They are very useful [skills],” Iurie says.
New skills have helped them improve business
Among others, as a result of the programme, the Turtuteanus have adapted their business plan and have developed digital skills to become more competitive on the market. Mihai Cotorobai, a PIN project manager, says that is one of the initiative’s main goals: “We tried to build a sustainable, competitive, and crisis-resilient business environment in the Northern region of Moldova. In total, CONSENS was able to support more than 75 entrepreneurs and administrators of micro- and small-enterprises. Our first objective is to adapt the business solutions to the new realities. The second objective would be to strengthen the business efficiency of rural entrepreneurs through digital communication tools. The third objective is to create a favourable local ecosystem for business development through sustainable local partnerships.”
CONSENS is one of the civil society organisations (CSOs) supported by PIN within the EU-funded COVID-19 Solidarity Programme for the Eastern Partnership. CSOs are trained and financially supported to be more prepared for coping with pandemic situations.The project is implemented by PIN in partnership with the Netherlands Helsinki Committee and AFEW International, and it includes interventions in Armenia, Georgia, Moldova, and Ukraine.
This article was produced with the financial support of the European Union. Its contents represent the sole responsibility of the “COVID-19 Solidarity Programme for the Eastern Partnership” project, financed by the European Union. The content of the video belongs to the authors and does not necessarily reflect the vision of the European Union.