Eager to contribute to society, Sem Srey Touch set up an enterprise focusing on the supply of quality honey from Cambodia’s northeastern provinces to help preserve forests in protected areas and safeguard wild bee populations.

Established in 2019, EPL Pollinate involves the participation of a range of specialists such as environmentalists, experts in bees and food management, and laboratory professionals to create its natural products and preserve natural resources.

Sem Srey Touch, EPL Pollinate co-founder and acting CEO, said her enterprise was created to strengthen forest conservation and contribute to food stability through the production and distribution of quality, standardised and safe wild honey.

She and her team had seen a shortage of high-quality honey being produced, with substandard and even counterfeit honey available on the market, while wild honey bee populations were under threat from the poor harvesting techniques being used.

“Through the activities of our enterprise, we have contributed to a reduction in the death rate of wild bee populations, helped maintain forests and assisted housewives in setting up beekeeping businesses, improving livelihoods and the economies of communities,” Srey Touch said.

Over the past three years, her company has worked with institutions such as World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) Cambodia, Windows Communication Foundation (WCF), Mlup Baitong and Khmer Enterprise, among others, as part of forest and bee conservation activities, and community projects.

“Thanks to these efforts, we have helped some 700 residents in 46 communities, with around 60 housewives having established beekeeping businesses,” she said.

Sem Srey Touch, who runs a ‘quality honey’ shop, says she has the intention of preserving forests in protected areas. Photo supplied

To maintain its high standards, she said her enterprise has four main areas of focus –production and distribution of wild honey; providing technical services; providing pollen processing services; and production of a wide variety of products from honey.

EPL Pollinate has received permissions and support from the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries in continuing to help protect forests and boost the economies of communities in forest conservation areas, especially in the Kingdom’s northeast, she added.

Srey Touch said she was confident of EPL Pollinate – with its skilled, committed team having the capacity to create new techniques to cater to individual needs – continuing to provide assistance to even more communities.

And as well as protecting wild bee populations, the enterprise had a strong and clear vision to benefit larger society, she added.

In collaboration with WWF Cambodia, the team regularly visits communities to teach additional techniques to ensure sustainability in high-quality wild honey collection.

While expressing satisfaction with the results of their efforts so far, Srey Touch said she and her team remain committed to continuing to conserve forests and generate income for communities, while stabilising the Cambodian honey market and exporting its products to markets overseas.