Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Creating a buzz for wild honey



Creating a buzz for wild honey

Wild honey on display at Park Hyatt’s Masters of Food and Wine lunch.
Wild honey on display at Park Hyatt’s Masters of Food and Wine lunch. PHOTO SUPPLIED

Creating a buzz for wild honey

NatureWild, a Phnom Penh offshoot of the Philippines-based Non-Timber Forest Products - Exchange Program for South and Southeast Asia, hopes to start marketing Siem Reap province wild honey as part of its Khmum Prey project or ‘wild bees from the forest’ range.

At the moment the project markets a range of wild honey from six Cambodian provinces, and this range was introduced on June 6 at a Park Hyatt Hotel’s Masters of Food and Wine lunch which featured a six-course honey-laced gourmet feast.

Femy Pinto, a representative of NatureWild, said the range of honey was available at a limited number of outlets in Siem Reap including the Park Hyatt, and added that as well as boosting the number of retail outlets in Siem Reap, the organisation hoped soon to include wild honey from Siem Reap province in its Khmum Prey range.

“It will be great to see Khmum Prey Siem Reap some time soon,” she told Insider. “We’re quite pleased that Park Hyatt supports Khmum Prey and this can help us get on that platform of quality for a discerning market – quality for a community friendly, nature and environment-friendly market.

Content image - Phnom Penh Post

“We are still exploring the appropriate entry point in Siem Reap. Our usual entry point is with traditional honey-hunting groups – forest-dependents – and to match up with existing efforts to protect Cambodia’s last remaining forest areas.

“This is a long-term effort and so it is important that we identify the group that will be in it as a vital part of their livelihood, rather than simply out of business interest or quick cash.”

She added, “There are some potential areas under community forestry and protected areas in Siem Reap which we are exploring, and wild honey collection is one of the main sources of income of the communities living in or around them.”

NatureWild has already conducted a preliminary investigation of the wild honey activity in Siem Reap province which, according to Femy Pinto, is, “Largely still informal with limited value addition being done. As far as we know most of honey sold in the market comes from individual suppliers – private efforts rather than out of a collective business.

“Bee keeping via the rafter technique has attracted village entrepreneurs, who are partly supplying the local market of Siem Reap. There are buyers in Siem Reap catering specifically to the tourist market but some get their honey supply from outside Siem Reap. Price and quality are key factors for these buyers.

“But Khmum Prey marketed by NatureWild follows sustainable collection standards with strict monitoring and quality control. If and when we find our best entry point here in Siem Reap, adherence to these protocols will factor into the partnership.

“For sure we can easily tap into the existing, more discerning market in Siem Reap with an assurance of quality, purity and authenticity, and sustainable production and forest protection that Khmum Prey represents.”

During their research into the Siem Reap honey scene, NatureWild staffers drew on the expertise of high-profile local bee man Danny Jump and Femy Pinto said that meeting Jump was instructional. “Yes definitely. He is THE bee man. Very knowledgeable about bees and beekeeping and I understand that he’s also supported a number of villagers here in Siem Reap and even outside, about beekeeping, and the rafter technique. He would be a good person to collaborate with.”

Femy Pinto said she was also surprised to find a chic boutique in the town’s South Korean enclave selling high-end honey to mainly Asian tourists, especially South Koreans.

The boutique, Natural Honey, was opened just on a year ago by Korean expat Hong Seung Hee, and sells wild honey from Ratanakiri, as well as hand-made beeswax candles and bee by-products – but at a cost. The cheapest pot of honey on sale at the store, 500ml, costs $60, and three-litre jars are $350.

Femy Pinto described the honey store as, “fascinating.” She added, “We just happened to see it across from a hotel where we were having a workshop a few months ago. They get their honey from Ratanakiri, not from Siem Reap, and the price is quite staggering.

“We have had a few Koreans buy from NatureWild and they are very particular about the naturalness-authenticity and the purity of the honey. A Korean friend of mine says it is important that they trust you to give them ‘real’ honey since they are mainly consuming it for health reasons.”

MOST VIEWED

  • Angkor lifetime pass, special Siem Reap travel offers planned

    The Ministry of Tourism plans to introduce a convenient, single lifetime pass for foreign travellers to visit Angkor Archaeological Park and potentially other areas. The move is designed to stimulate tourism to the culturally rich province of Siem Reap as the start of the “Visit

  • Ice cream, noodles flagged over carcinogen

    The General Department of Customs and Excise of Cambodia (GDCE) has identified three types of instant noodles and ice cream trademarks originating from Thailand, Vietnam and France that are suspected to contain ethylene oxide, which poses a cancer risk to consumers. The general department has

  • Exclusive interview with Josep Borrell Fontelles, High Representative of the EU

    CAMBODIA is hosting the 55th ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ Meeting (AMM) and Related Meetings this week with top officials from the US, China, and Russia and other countries in the region slated to attend and to meet with face-to-face with their counterparts on the sidelines. In

  • Rise in Thai air routes to Siem Reap fuels travel hopes

    Local tourism industry players are eager for regional airline Bangkok Airways Pcl’s resumption of direct flight services between the Thai capital and Siem Reap town on August 1 – home of Cambodia’s awe-inspiring Angkor Archaeological Park – which is expected to boost the growth rate of

  • ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ meet commences, Taiwan issue possibly on table

    The 55th ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ Meeting (AMM) and related meetings hosted by Cambodia kicks off in Phnom Penh on August 3, with progress, challenges, and the way forward for the ASEAN Community-building on the table. Issues on Taiwan, sparked by the visit of US House Speaker

  • Recap of this year’s ASEAN FM meet and look ahead

    This year’s edition of the ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ Meeting (AMM) hosted by Cambodia comes against the backdrop of heightened global tensions and increasing rivalry between major powers that have been compared to the animosity of the Cold War era. The following is The Post’