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FAO Author makes a stand for organic beekeeping

("The Marketing of organic Honey" by Martin Hilmi, 244 p., numerous graphics, first edition 2003.)

For carrying out his MSC/PhD Martin Hilmi worked together with many important institutions, last but not least the Food and Agricultural Organisation of the United Nations (FAO), and the International Bee Research Association (IBRA).

According his concept "nature knows best" (p.12) he takes a stand for nature. Marketing of organic honey is better than distributing food products spoiled with GMOs. Or as he puts it: "Clearly a sustainable product is more 'holistic' in nature, than conventional products" (p. 77). It is a product designed for the environment; and he calls it a methodology by which environmental concerns are integrated into the product and product design (80)  - so far the product design refers to reality (see also recently issued article on this topic).

Although you can find already many publications on "green marketing" , Martin Hilmi considers to be the main problem "simply the lack of how to get valued food products to market" (p.7). Thus Mr. Hilmi tries to supply us with tools for solving this problem. In many parts he succeeded; you can find a lot of useful hints regarding marketing, especially marketing of organic honey: last but not least a "modern selling philosophy"  which he calls a "partner-oriented philosophy" in contrast to a seller-oriented philosophy (p.191). A seller-oriented philosophy looks only at the seller's interests (for instance Biotech-firms, who want to sell their genetically modified seeds). A partner-orientated philosophy looks at the consumers satisfaction (ibid.).

For practical value are hints for instance regarding a "post-purchase behaviour" or "word-to mouth communication". You also get informed concerning mainstream organic beekeeping standards, how the complicated system of certification and akkreditation works - a system which is weak because of burocratism as well as ineffective because of low standard. Harmonization on the lowest level is possible, but it is a question of "Honesty in organic production" (p.23) to realize the weakness of the system and point out alternatives or additional services, for instance certificates referring to stricter standards.

However, it is a book on marketing, not standards. One should not concentrate on the fact , that the author itself at times get lost in too theoretical words („Integrated sustainable Marketing communications (ISMC)" and abrevations like MSLC, DFE, IOAS, IAF, but on what he has gathered in his book: useful tools for beekeepers and honeysellers.

For scientist and beekeepers, who are aquainted with the reading of scientific marketing literature, this book is a tresure for useful advices.

2003 December 09
T+T Consult

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