With EU support, a family from ATU Gagauzia produces honey-and-nuts

A couple from southern of Moldova has spent a life working abroad but decided to return home. To earn their living, the Civirjic family started a bee farm, and the European Union’s support enabled them to produce honey-and-nuts.

Three years ago, Gheorghe and Tatiana Civirjic decided to return home in Cazaclia village from Ciadir-Lunga district to stay close to their children and friends. They could not find a decent job, so they decided to start a business for living, so they bought a small bee farm from a friend. Now they own a hundred beehives.

Moldova produces about 4,000 tons of honey. Companies buy this “liquid gold” and sell it abroad. According to statistics, over 85% of Moldovan honey is exported to the European Union countries. Thanks to the Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Agreement EU – Republic of Moldova, the number of bee farmers and the production of honey have been growing lately. Only in Cazaclia, there are over 30 bee farms.

Unlike other bee-keepers in the region, who wholesale their honey production to companies, the Civirjic family chose a different approach. They registered their own company and developed a retail channel for honey in Moldova. They positioned their brand thanks to an unusual package. They sell “liquid gold” in amphora-shaped glass bottles, canvas decorated. Oher producers across the country followed suit.

The company is selling their products under the brand “Sweet Honey”, to emphasize that the southern honey is sweeter indeed, compared to honey collected in other regions of the country. Meteorologists register 230 sunny days on average in the south, whilst other regions of Moldova register only about 200.

To increase their sales, the Civirjic family launched production of honey-based sweets: honey with dried fruit and nuts – walnuts, almonds, hazelnuts, dry apricots and figs.

“Nuts, dry fruits and honey are very healthy on their own, but if you combine these ingredients, you get a delicious and nutrient product and a fantastic product to strengthen your immune system,” notes Tatiana Civirjic, the founder of the family business.

In 2017, this business applied for a Call for Proposals announced by the Support to Agriculture and Rural Development Programme (SARD) financed by the European Union and implemented by the UNDP.

With the help of the EU grant of over 5 thousand and 500 euros and its own contribution, Civirjic family purchased a mini production line to bottle honey, which allows producing over 1,000 bottles of honey per day, as well as a honey-creamer.

“This will allow us to make honey paste, creamed honey and other sweets in the future,” explains Tatiana Civirjic.

With the European grant they also bought a trailer with a platform, customized and assembled on their special order, which will be used to transport the beehives.

So, EU support enabled this local business to multiply its production and create three jobs. “We do hope that our honey with walnuts will become emblematic for Republic of Moldova and will sooner or later reach EU customers as well,” mentions Tatiana Civirjic.

Tatiana Civirjic is one of the 30 entrepreneurs from ATU Gagauzia and Taraclia district who were awarded with EU grants worth of up to 18,500 Euro each and benefited from consultancy services enabling them to set up or develop their businesses within SARD Programme.