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Our history / Presentation of Maya

It is in 1975, in the area of Liege, at Esneux (Belgium), that everything has begun with a telegram sent from Guatemala proposing nothing less than 10 tons of honey to sell ! Very quickly, an association was made up and, in a few months, thank to numerous voluntaries, the 10 tons had been sold out… It was the beginning of a great adventure, which still continues : in 2007, no less than 300 tons of honey have been imported from Latin America to Belgium by Maya.

Today, as we care about transparency and clarity, the Maya organization in Belgium is composed of three entities :

  • MIEL MAYA HONING, a non-profit-making association, is its « education and development » body. This non-governemental association (NGO) recognized by the Belgian government supports many development projects carefully selected in the South and takes part in sensitizing and in the education about fair trade in the North.
  • MAYA FAIR TRADING, a non-profit-making association, has been recognized since 2006 by public authorities as an actor for tourism. Within this organisation, new tourist projects soon will be developed intended to inform about the stakes of fair trade and make the public aware of the beekeeping activity and its importance for ecology.
  • MAYA FAIR TRADE, cooperative society of social purpose, is its commercial line. It imports honey from Latin America according to fair trade standards and sells it in Europe. Besides, the fair price payed for the purchased honey, Maya Fair Trade Scrlfs pays an additional prime of 150 US dollars per purchased ton to the beekeeping organizations. Moreover, a large part of its commercial profits is payed back to Miel Maya Honing Asbl to support projects and actions.

Most of the imported honey, which represents around 65%, is sold after packaging as tasting honey or for the industry. The other part is used as ingredient in the subcontracted production of biscuits and sweets. All our products are sold under our registered trademark “MAYA”. Even if all the MAYA products match completely with Max Havelaar labelling criteria, they do not all present the label due to economical reasons.

Nowadays, Maya Fair Trade Scrlfs employs four people in Belgium and one person in Latin America; all of them are full-time employed. Fifty percents of its sales turnover is made in Belgium, the rest is made elsewhere in Europe, mainly in the Netherlands, France, and in Switzerland, but also in Germany, Luxemburg, Great Britain and even in Norway. In order to keep being competitive in a still more demanding commercial sector and as a proof of its growing dynamism and its will to continue its action in the fair trade network, Maya Fair Trade Scrlfs has an ambitious development plan for 2009; all profit for the beekeepers of the South who could see, in term, our imported quantities increasing.