By Lucas Mich – EL ABC RURAL -10 August, 2020
Rural women are far from stopping their march. In Pehuajó, a group of entrepreneurs started in beekeeping under the Reinas de Corazones brand and spread their success to other regions of the country that want to imitate their legacy.
Entrepreneurial women took over their dreams and are revolutionizing these times. The various activities that summon them need to resurface with their stamp of femininity, work, effort and love for what they do. One of the most influential cases in the productive sphere is undoubtedly Reinas de Corazones, an enterprise dedicated to the production and packaging of honey.
It is an original initiative that received the support of INTA from the beginning, but today it is a project successfully crystallized in the beekeeping chain. It is driven by rural women to work in the hives and sell honey in an associated way.
“I thought of the women who live in farms and seek economic independence. The wives of the farm managers workers who need to create a job, ”Marina Muscolo, the coordinator of Reinas de Corazones, told El ABC Rural.
The 40-year-old agronomist, who started in the beekeeping activity four years ago with the desire to form her own company, made clear the imprint of this endeavor.
“I always wanted to found a company that has an economic income but also leaves a social and environmental benefit,” she explained, alluding to beekeeping.
“It is an activity with several benefits”
According to the interviewee, the beekeeping activity generates successes in various contexts, beyond the economic. “There are productive benefits for the owner of the land where we locate apiaries, due to the pollination work that the bees do in the crops. But also social-economic for the beekeepers who carry out the activity ”, she mentioned.
This was one of the reasons why women began to study the business and the challenge it would bring to their lives. “Honey is a non-perishable product. This is another reason why we believe that it is a fair activity for female entrepreneurs ”, she highlighted.
The project began in the Buenos Aires town of Pehuajó. Today it brings together more than 30 women who work independently and collaboratively, with individual production units, marketing part of their honey under the brand Reinas de Corazones.
Beekeeping training, achieving quality honey and the search for new tools that allow the product to be negotiated are the daily objective of this group of women.
The honey produced under the Reinas de Corazones brand is sold in different markets in Buenos Aires and the interior of the country, and of course in the towns where the “Queens” live. And now they are preparing to export.
“Today the periodic meetings that we have between the participants became virtual due to the pandemic. The trainings are attended by girls from all over Argentina, and some are from other countries ”, commented the beekeeper.
A chain of favors
The project is encouraging new entrepreneurs in various regions of the country. “We are advising groups of women beekeepers from Trenque Lauquen, Daireaux, Azul, Gral Madariaga, San Miguel del Monte, Cañuelas and Castelli”, mentioned the interviewee, spreading the extra work they do to favor the development of rural women.
The Reinas de Corazones group joins to strengthen training in the beekeeping occupation, build shopping pools and get better prices to acquire tools and equipment and search for more and better markets where to locate honey.
“With the commercialization of the Reinas de Corazones honey, a part of it is destined for the purchase of hives and equipment for a new rural women beekeepers”, explained Muscolo.
Then, the entrepreneur who begins the activity, thanks to the impulse of the group, with her first harvest has the possibility of donating part of her production to buy equipment for another woman who wants to start. “And this is the way the chain of favors works. In addition to the possibility of receiving, there is also the possibility of giving. “She explained.
Love for bees
Marina Muscolo currently has 78 hives, and like the other women in the beekeeping group, she feels the need to grow in production.
“In the group there are girls who started last year and have two hives, and others who are close to 450 hives,” she said. In that sense, she assured that many women are just “being trained in beekeeping and will probably start fully the next year with the activity.”
Regarding the activity, the interviewee agreed that it is an occupation that has been in decline, due to low prices, poor returns and rising costs, but this year she sees a good outlook.
“Today the price of bulk honey is very good. In Europe, due to the pandemic, consumers stocked up and the product disappeared from shelves with its consequent price increase due to demand, ”she explained.
In this regard, she reported that Argentina is known by it’s high quality honey. “We are currently working on a project to export packed honey with our brand. This will encourage investment, but we must not ignore that it is an activity that has ups and downs ”, she acknowledged.
Another challenge for the group is the possibility of diversifying its income. “We are evaluating building a breeding place, since it is another incomes that beekeeping allows. As well as commercializing honey, propolis, pollen, bee wax, providing a pollination service, among other possibilities ”, she concluded.