I read this honey bee story with amusement – as told by an unanimous story teller.
When I was much younger, my father, during one of his adventures in an old, dusty store in our apartment, got stung by a honey bee. And his eye was swollen.
My junior brother, almost exploding with the news screamed to our neighbor downstairs, “my daddy is blind”. He was about four years old at the time.
Thankfully, my father did not go blind.
The business of rearing honey bees, honey bee farming, involves the keeping of bees, breeding them, collecting the honey produced and marketing them.
Honey bee farming business is known as apiculture. Asides from honey, honey bees are also kept for other products which include beeswax, venom, royal jelly, pollen and propolis.
First of all, the know-how of the business is very important. Do you have an idea of what a honey bee farm is about? How do you start one?
Why Start Honey Bee Farming?
Beekeeping, among many other agricultural businesses, is a gold well and requires more involvement.
3 reasons why you should start a honey bee farm:
✅ Highly Profitable
In 2018, it was recorded that Nigeria spends about two billion dollars to import honey into the country. It has also been discovered that Nigeria produces about 10% of honey that its citizens consume!
This should answer your question of whether or not bee farming is profitable. There’s around 90% local market supply gap. Your honey bee farm has a large room for growth.
A majority of the honey consumed in Nigeria is imported. And many of them are not actual honey but sugar syrups. Think about that.
✅ Agents of Pollination
If you already have a farm, it’s an added advantage because bees are pollination agents. They would cause a significant increase in your produce and income at the end of the day.
The business flows with the seasons. You need to know the times and seasons if you’ll engage in beekeeping.
Honey bees are more active during flowering seasons before fruits start to form. They are at their peak and this way, they can get enough pollen and nectar and hence produce a maximum amount of honey.
They can however be fed in seasons where food is not abundant.
A beehive can produce up to twelve liters of honey in the first year of acquiring it. Consequently, you can get about ten liters of honey after 6-8 months.
A liter of honey can sell for about N1500 or more. Calculate N1500×10× the number of beehives you have and that is your profit from bee farming every 6-8 months.
Imagine you have 100 beehives that’s N1,500 multiplied by 10, which is N15,000. Then multiply N15,000 by 100, and that’s N1,500,000 every 6 to 8 months.
How Much Required to Start Honey Bee Farm
If you are wanting to ask this question: How much does it cost to start a bee farm in Nigeria? I have the answer covered for you in this post as well.
Bee farming can be started with as low as N50,000 and as much as can be. How high the starting cost goes solely depends on how big you want to start.
New tools are better for new bee farmers or beekeepers because they are new. Unlike most second-hand equipment, they have everything intact. You might not notice something missing if you’re not familiar with the equipment so it’s much better.
The starting cost can also be reduced by using locally made equipment, as long as they are of good quality.
A farm site for you bees does not have to be your land, acquired and paid for, especially you don’t have so much. It can be leased or rented from a friend, family member or anyone willing to lease their land.
Or you can partner with someone who has a farm. For safety sake, let this agreement be bound with a legal document or with trusted witnesses at least.
The landowner benefits from the bees’ pollination and you benefit from the space or land and the availability of flowers and food.
Pick Your Bee Niche
You can keep honey bees for several reasons. Many apiculturists keep honey bees just for their honey but there are more products honey bees are capable of producing.
Your bee niche may be to produce beeswax along with honey. Or to harvest royal jelly and honey. You can also decide to rear honey bees for the function of pollinating crops.
Choose the products you want to base your beekeeping business on and build up from there.
✅ How do honey bees produce honey?
✅ Did you know that honey is food for honey bees?
Also, did you know that honey bees have a separate stomach called the honey stomach where they temporarily store nectar?
Honey bees suck out nectar from flowers and store it in their honey stomach. When their stomachs are filled, they return to the beehive where they convert the nectar to honey.
Did you suck out the juice from small red flowers like I did when I was younger? That sweet juice that you tasted is nectar.
The Best Location for Bee Farming
The beehive should allow for sunlight. There should also be a shade to reduce the severity of the sun and to keep the beehive cool.
The beehive should be located amidst trees or some kind of shade to protect the bees from intense winds and sunlight, the forces of nature.
For the bees to find food, the compound with their hive needs to have plants. It doesn’t have to be a flower bed or flowers of fruits alone. Weeds, trees, and other plants are also sources of food since they produce pollen.
Bees must be able to find abundant water and food (pollen and nectar) in the area where the hive is so that they do not have to travel long distances in search of food.
The area should be dry, not moist. It should not be noisy or crowded. Avoid using chemicals like weedicide or insecticide around the area where the beehive is situated.
The opening or door of the beehive should not be in the direction where people would pass. This would prevent a collision between bees and humans and therefore prevent bee stings.
Marketing Plan For Honey Bee Farming Business
A business plan is important to communicate what your business is about and how you want to run it. Contact us to get one at affordable price. Or get the Honey Bee Farming Guide 101 to hive you all the necessary information.
If you want to apply for a loan, you need to have a business plan to show your lender how you plan on using their money, how long it would take and how the profits would stream in.
Your Business plan should include the source of income for your business.
• Will you be getting a loan?
• For consequent costs, how would you find them?
• What would happen if you run at a loss?
Your plan should have this information.
Also, in your plan, you need to input your target market. Who would you supply with your products? How do you reach them and how do you convince them to buy from you? You should identify both local and international markets for your honey.
You should also assess your business for its strengths, weaknesses, available opportunities, and possible threats.
It’s referred to as a SWOT Analysis.
Honey bee farming business is one with great demand and profits. The question of whether or not people would buy is irrelevant because there is a good amount of demand already available on ground and a much less supply in Nigeria.
Do you now have an idea of what starting a honey bee farm business looks like? Do you have unanswered questions? Let me know in the comments.