We have been spearheading the development of the honey sector since we started in 1980. We have initiated many worthwhile projects to improve the working conditions of our beekeeper partners, to contribute to the development of their profession, and to convey to the public the difficulties and hardships they experience. We know that bees are not just for honey... They are vital and indispensible in terms of environmental conservation and agricultural sustainability. We therefore go to great lengths ensure the protection of the bees and the sustainability of the beekeeping profession. The sustainability and social responsibility projects we have implemented include the “Project to Determine Impurity, Manipulation and Origin in Honey by Region,” “My Balparmak Beekeeper,” “Beekeeper Training,” “Nutritious Mornings, Healthy Tommorows,” “Balparmak Hand-in-Hand with Beekeepers for Quality Honey Production!” and the “Balparmak Apiculture Academy.” In the years ahead, we as Balparmak plan to carry out similar projects, and to do so with great enthusiasm and determination.
Ongoing Sustainability and Social Responsibility Projects
a)Nutritious Mornings, Healthy Tomorrows
We have been implementing a social responsibility project called “Nutritious Mornings, Healthy Tomorrows” in a joint effort between our innovative, kid-focused product series, HoneyBana Balparmak, and TOÇEV (The Tüvana Children’s Education in Literacy Foundation). The aim of the project is to get children into the habit of eating a regular, healthy breakfast. We visited elementary schools in Istanbul, Balıkesir, Denizli, Kahramanmaraş, Mardin, Nevşehir, Kars, and Bartın, where we explained the importance of eating a regular balanced breakfast to 16,000 elementary school students in a fun way using the power of cartoons. As part of the project, we also gave workshops to parents, who play a key role in ensuring their children eat properly. In the research we conducted after the workshops, we observed that parents and their children had grasped the importance of a regular, healthy breakfast habit as it relates to healthy child development.
“Proje kapsamında çocukların doğru beslenmesinde kilit rol oynayan ebeveynlere de eğitimler verildi.”
b)My Balparmak Beekeeper Project
In 2015 we initiated the “My Beekeeper” project, which takes the ability to inspect and control the honey supply process to a whole new level. Our goal for the project was to effectively manage the resources in the supply chain and to track and protect Turkey’s endemic plant species. As part of the project, we formalized the supply procedures of approximately 13,000 suppliers and beekeepers, and minimized the risks in those supply procedures. The “My Beekeeper” project allowed us to digitalize the whole supply process by assigning identification data to the samples and to the canisters that represent the samples taken from all across Turkey. While our work in quality honey production focuses on people and the environment, it also benefits our business partners and suppliers. Our achievement in the sustainable honey supply field with this project was crowned with a “Supply Chain Management” award at the Sustainable Business Awards.
c)Balparmak Apiculture Academy
Our goal with the Balparmak Apiculture Academy is to get women and young people in rural development areas into beekeeping, and to support the sustainability of the beekeeping profession by maximizing Turkey’s apiculture potential. The project offers workshops on theory and practice, after which we will present a hive to the top 100 women and youth under 35 for the purpose of encouraging production. Balparmak will then purchase upon request the honey they produce in the first year. We will also provide the top graduates with technical apiculture support for two years.
d) TEMA Vakfı işbirliğiyle “Arılar Varsa Yarınlar Var”
Arıların, doğa ve insan için önemi, ekosisteme katkıları ve arıları korumak için neler yapılabileceği konusunda farkındalık yaratmak amacıyla, TEMA Vakfı ile birlikte Arılar Varsa Yarınlar Var projesini hayata geçiriyoruz.
Milli Eğitim Bakanlığı desteği ile TEMA Vakfı gönüllüleri aracılığıyla, ilköğretim okullarında arıyla ilgili eğitimler verilecek. 30 ilde yapılacak saha etkinlikleri ve 20 Mayıs Dünya Arı Günü kutlamalarıyla kamuoyunda farkındalık oluşturulmaya çalışılacak.
Past Sustainability and Social Responsibility Projects
a) Balparmak Hand-in-Hand with Beekeepers for Quality Honey Production!
We ran beekeeper workshops, which we have been doing since 2004, as part of the “Balparmak Hand-in-Hand with Beekeeper for Quality Honey Production” project.
We initiated this project with the goal of increasing the quality of honey produced in Turkey. To this end, our Research & Development team partnered with academics specializing in the field of honey to offer occupational trainings to beekeepers. We also planned the creation of a system that beekeepers could reach out to and consult when they needed to. We benefited in this endeavor from consulting the teaching faculty at Muğla Sıtkı Koçman University and the Ula Apiculture Vocational School.
The first step of the project focused on improving the production process of pine honey, one of Turkey’s important and indigenous treasures. We visited 14 towns during the pilot workshops, which began in the Muğla region, and we directly reached over 500 beekeepers during these visits. We also randomly inspected 15,000 hives, and advised the beekeepers on how to achieve a healthier and more productive harvest.
As part of our work, we planned the introduction of pine honey onto the world stage by carrying out various Research & Development studies on honey, and presenting this work at national international scientific events.
b) Balda Yörelere Göre Kalıntı, Hile ve Orijin Tespiti Projesi
TUBİTAK’la işbirliği içinde geliştirdiğimiz “Balda Yörelere Göre Kalıntı, Hile ve Orijin Tespiti” projesini 2004 yılında başlattık. Türkiye’de bal ve arıcılık sektörünün en büyük sorunlarından olan balda kalıntı, hile ve orijin değiştirme problemlerinin çözümüne yönelik çalışmaları hedefleyen proje kapsamında Türkiye’nin 7 farklı bölgesinde yaygın olarak arıcılık yapılan 48 il ve bunlara bağlı ilçelerde çalışmalar yürüttük. Projede; gıda mühendisi, ziraat mühendisi, kimyager, biyolog ve teknikerlerden oluşan uzman bir kadro görev yaptı ve proje kapsamında arıcılara eğitimler verildi. 2004-2007 yılları arasında, doğrudan arıcılardan alınan 12 bin 359 bal numunesinin fiziksel, mikroskobik, kimyasal ve duyusal özellikleri inceledik ve kalıntı analizleri gerçekleştirdik. Bu süreçte Türkiye’de başka hiçbir yerde gerçekleştirilemeyen bazı analizler yapılabilir hale geldi, balda hile ve orijin tespiti konularında büyük ilerleme sağlandı. Proje sayesinde üniversite-sanayi işbirliği kuruldu, 57 il ve ilçede üretici birlikleri, tarım il ve ilçe müdürlükleri ile işbirliği yapılarak saha çalışmaları ve konferanslar düzenlendi. Konferanslarda yaklaşık 4000 arıcıya eğitim verildi. Proje çerçevesinde arıcılara verilen teknik eğitimler sayesinde Türkiye’de bazı kalıntı sorunları ortadan kalktı. Bu eğitimler sonucu bal veriminde artış gerçekleştiği de görüldü.
c) Beekeeper Training
We maintained our leadership position in the honey industry by offering beekeeper training sessions at various apiculture centers across Turkey. Most recently we offered these free workshops in Adana, Mersin, Balıkesir, Sakarya, and Izmir. Over 1,200 beekeepers attended these trainings, where we informed them on a variety of topics, including modern beekeeping techniques, the use of bee products in the field of health, food safety inspections, and the honey notification in the Turkish Food Codex. At the end of the training, participants received “Sustainable Quality in Honey” awards. Balparmak also awarded pollen dryers to 16 beekeepers in Adana and 4 in Mersin, who delivered sustainably quality in honey production, for their professional success.