Pure Honey from Motul, Yucatán
Home to just 556 inhabitants, the village of Kopte has a sub-deciduous forest and a stony soil. But despite this, the vegetation that grows in the area has adapted very successfully and provides bees with a large number of nectaropoliniferous flowers for outstanding honey production.
It’s also well known for the henequen plant whose fibers were processed into textiles during the 19th century and used for domestic and industrial products.
Shop pure honey from Motul
Meet our Motul beekeepers
Our only female member of the team, Andrea has a degree in maths and is passionate about horses and charrería, a competitive event similar to a rodeo. She shares an appreciation for agricultural work with her brother Raúl and her foray into beekeeping came naturally. She learned beekeeping by accompanying him and working with Don Raúl, their mentor, and currently owns two apiaries and a total of 48 hives.
She enthusiastically supports the development of field projects and is confident that they can lead to more rural ecological tourism, where sustainable productive agricultural activities can be converted into attractions that can pay for environmental education.
She aims to empower other female beekeepers based on her experience and educational courses.
Carlos lives with his wife and young son in Kopté. His main occupation is managing two apiaries and 25 hives at an agricultural ranch, where he learned the craft of beekeeping from the master beekeeper Don Raúl. He now owns his own apiary and is looking forward to getting a second.
"If I dedicate myself time to it full-time as my only profession, I could attend up to six apiaries. That’s my dream!"
He’s also teaching new beekeepers the art of apiculture.
"I was approached by someone and they asked me to help them with their apiary. That has never happened to me. They told me that they saw that I got more honey than they did and that they wanted me to teach them how to do it. The truth is, I really liked the recognition of my work."
Still a teenager, Jeremy is our youngest apiculturist and lives at home with mother and two brothers. He manages 22 hives.
Jeremy has worked as a bricklayer and electrician and uses his free time to take care of his hives. As part of his ongoing training, he also helps his friend Carlos take care of the hives at the ranch where he works.
“I already had some experience with bees but only helping in the harvest. Then I started working with Carlos and with Don Raúl, and I also learnt how important bees are to the dry forest.
“Carlos is one of my best friends and has taught me so much about the work of bees. He and our mentor Raúl have been key to developing my knowledge and practice."
Nelson lives with his wife Margarita and their three children. Although his main job is on an agricultural ranch, he spends his spare time in his cornfield or at his apiary, which has 20 hives.
Nelson's family helps him with certain beekeeping activities, and he encourages them to increase their number of hives and install another apiary.
“There are several things that must be done so that the bee is strong enough to produce honey. Bring it water to drink, protect it from the xulá (ants), give it food in the dry season, bring it wax sheets to make its combs and repair the boxes when they get damaged.
“The work and care of the bees and the sale of honey complements the income of the house. Recently several colleagues lost some hives to the floods and they will no longer have that extra income for their home. Fortunately, our bees were on a bit of high ground and our apiary was not flooded.
“The bee is very noble. It’s very important to promote beekeeping to new generations because in addition to being a source of income, it helps us conserve the forest for our children.”
José Gabriel, 42, lives with his wife Sandra and their little boy and works on an agricultural ranch. But during his spare time, he takes care of his plot of land and the apiary he inherited from his father.
He would like to dedicate more time to beekeeping and increase the size of his apiary which currently has 23 hives.
“It’s an activity that’s not that hard, but it requires dedication, time and knowledge. It’s nice to see how strong the hives are when you take good care of them.”
The Nikté Project is so important to José because the model is based on the Fairtrade model, which gives visibility to the whole process and ensures the best price in the market.
“The quality of the honey that the forest of this region provides is excellent which is why it’s so valued in the international market.“I lived in the United States for a few years where I learned English. I would love to be in touch with UK and international customers, showing them what I do on a day to day basis with my bees.”
Raúl, 22, lives with his parents and younger brother and works as a shepherd at a sheep farm. When he’s not playing football, he spends his spare time in his apiary looking after his 20 hives that were gifted to him by an uncle.
“I like the work with bees because the more you take care of them, the more honey they give you. And thanks to the ejido mountain our bees make very rich honey.”
Like other young people in the community, Raúl attends open high school, where students are sent materials for each subject to study at home and only attend school to take their exams. But he would like to do beekeeping full-time and is working towards having two apiaries and a hundred hives.
“I would love to go full-time and dedicate myself to taking care of more hives all the time.”
His started in beekeeping at the end of college, when he bought his first 12 hives. That number of hives remained steady over several years until he started a more serious project with his mentor Don Raúl. Today Raúl has 48 hives.