It's buzzing in Case Noyale
One hundred beehives are gradually being installed on the private estate of Case Noyale Ltd, in the west of Mauritius, a region which is best known for its fishing villages. Jérôme Gourrege, Project Manager, Sustainability and Business Development at Agrïa, tells us more about this initiative.
Unmatched pollinators, critical links in the food chain and biodiversity conservation, producers of honey with multiple benefits… Bees are true heroes dressed in striped outfits! However, they do not enjoy a sheltered life. Habitat loss, massive use of chemical products and global warming have proved to be their nemesis. Bearing this in mind, we took an interest in the apiculture project launched by Agrïa on the private estate of Case Noyale, in October 2022.
“Mauritius produces approximately 25 tons of honey yearly, while its annual consumption is 340 tons. It’s difficult to meet the demand since we do not have enough forest land left,” says Jérôme Gourrege, Project Manager, Sustainability and Business Development at Agrïa, at the very outset.
The company owns several hectares of land in Bel Ombre and is also responsible for the development of Case Noyale. By enriching biodiversity, producing honey and promoting local products as well as short food supply chains, this apiculture project will not kill two, but three birds with one stone.
Case Noyale has been chosen for its rich flora comprising eucalyptus, logwood, pink pepper and Tamarind trees, among others. All these trees and plant species benefit from the presence of pollinators, such as bees. When they forage, bees move pollen from one flower to another, thus enabling plants to propagate and produce fruits.
“80% of the fruits and vegetables we eat have been pollinated by bees. Their presence is therefore primordial for preserving ecosystems. As a matter of fact, they are at the bottom of the food chain,” says Jérôme Gourrege.
One hundred beehives will be installed in Case Noyale upon completion of the project. The first harvest will take place in March 2023. Agrïa is getting closer to meeting the sustainability objectives set out by the “Bel Ombre Sustainability Charter – a Thriving Nature”, as it is committed to promoting sustainable production, ensuring the right balance between meeting bees’ needs and society’s demand for honey, while protecting biodiversity.
This project is an asset to the local community. Some locals have gathered around Etienne de Senneville, a beekeeper and honey producer who is a project partner, to take care of the bees, considered to be ecosystem sentinels.
The 100% organic and locally-produced honey will be available at several outlets. It will also tantalise clients’ taste buds in hotels and restaurants of the Rogers Group.
Good to know
Six different types of honey are produced in Mauritius. Campêche honey is harvested at the beginning of October, eucalyptus honey is collected in November or at the beginning of December. Terminalia and Tamarind honey are harvested in January, while pink pepper honey is collected in April. Multi-flora honey – produced from several flowers at once – is harvested at the end of December.