Economist and bees

Leipzig. It’s spring. André Soudah is wearing a white beekeeping suit and is approaching one of his hives in the southern Leipzig flood forest. It inspects the hives and checks that the colonies are no longer in a swarming mood. The spaces of honey slowly fill with early flow. Every week he checks how his bee colonies are developing. And he’s looking forward to tossing the first harvest this year soon. It is a tedious activity because the honey frames weigh a lot. Honey should be hygienically squeezed out of the combs and poured into jars.

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“It’s a physically demanding job,” says Soudah. Fortunately, the 46-year-old has been keeping fit for years, mainly cycling and strength training, so he copes with the demands with ease. Even at a time when the native Hanoverian had nothing to do with beekeeping, he preferred the bicycle as a means of transport.

When he was appointed the founding managing director of an IT cluster in central Germany, when asked what company car he would like to have, he replied: “I would like a good company bike.” He got it and has since traveled by train and bicycle between his home in Leipzig and Halle. The office is now located in a market town.

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Later, the graduate in management and economics founded his own management consultancy, and then took over responsibility for finance at the Leipzig technology company Communisystems Care, founded by former Siemens manager Ralf Heipmann. A few years later, “we went our separate ways as friends,” says “Bienen-André”, who then studied computer science and education at the University of Leipzig, then worked part-time as a teacher and was looking for a hobby. Seven years ago, his wife gave him a beekeeping course for his birthday.

A hobby becomes a calling

Her husband caught fire. “If I’m doing something, I’m doing it right, I can’t do it any other way.” So this initial leisure activity turned into a calling. “There is not enough local honey,” she reports. 150,000 German beekeepers account for 20 percent of the annual consumption. The number of hives it has to take care of is constantly increasing. The colony consists of around 60,000 bees, drones and a queen. Annually, about 30 kilograms of honey are produced per colony, which is sold in 500-gram jars.

“The demand for my honey from riparian forests is increasing every year. The seizure is by word of mouth. ‘ Soudah says the taste of beekeeping honey cannot be compared to the discounted honey you can buy for four euros. “The quality and taste of local beekeeping honey is much better. Honey is not only tasty but also precious. ‘ High-quality regional products come at a price.

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As a rule, a beekeeper cannot live solely on sales. But Soudah wouldn’t be a busy expert with an entrepreneurial gene if he hadn’t discovered and closed the gaps in the market. On request, he visits nurseries and schools, and carries age-appropriate illustrations and teaching materials. On top of it. His childhood beekeeping also includes school activities, and hiking days, social days and graduation ceremonies, family excursions and children’s birthday parties can be organized under the trees. Soudah gives visitors an insight into the way honeybees live and provides information about the work of a beekeeper. A teacher with a passion for eco-pedagogy is breaking through in it.

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High economic benefit

The economist also likes to appeal to economic benefits. According to calculations, the pollination efficiency of bees in Germany is two billion euros a year and $ 70 billion worldwide. Abundant harvests, lush growth and natural biodiversity depend largely on insects such as wild bees and honey bees. They account for 85 percent of the agricultural yield in the cultivation of plants and fruits. They are the staple food for many animal species.

This is also of interest to businesses, according to Soudah. Under the EU taxonomy regulation, they will soon have to prove on a regular basis that they incorporate ethical, social and environmental criteria in their business activities. “Many companies are desperately looking for opportunities and projects for their balance sheets to be able to prove that they are contributing to biodiversity as required by the EU.” One of the possibilities: they colonize bee colonies on the company’s premises, for example, which are looked after by employees. Here Soudah offers her support. You can lease bee colonies from him. The honey can then be used in the company’s canteen.

In the meantime, the beekeeper, who has turned his hobby into a profession, is on his way to development. “I would like to hire two employees.” In the medium term, it plans to set up a beekeeping wholesaler in the region with its own production.

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