Are you planning to start a bee farming business in Nigeria? If yes, you wouldn’t want to miss out on the precious information by not reading this post to the very end.
Beekeeping is the act and process of raising bees to collect honey and several other products like propolis, beeswax, pollen propolis, and royal jelly. Bee farmers develop bees; they collect and gather honey, sell bees, royal jelly, wax, propolis, pollen, bee venom, and other bee products.
Steps To Start a Bee Farming Business in Nigeria
The following steps below will help you to get started in the bee farming business:
1. Undergo proper bee farming training and make a business Plan
This is the first and most important step when starting bee farming in Nigeria. Undergo master training and create a business plan. Undergoing proper training from people who have been in the business before you.
Creating a business plan will help you learn the business faster, make fewer mistakes, and start making money before others who do not take time to learn the business. Apart from that, it will save you the time which you would have wasted on trial and error.
With the emergence of the internet, learning new things has become very easy. Of course, you can follow online guides and YouTube videos, but several studies have shown that nothing beats the one-on-one training that you will get at a bee farm.
You will learn how to keep bees, where to locate them, how to protect yourself from being harmed by them, where to buy bees, where to sell them, and where to sell your honey too.
After learning all this, then you make a plan. Your business plan will include your marketing strategies, competition strategies, management plans, and so on.
Get Capital, Equipment & Location
After acquiring knowledge and creating a business plan, the next step is getting the required capital, location, and equipment for your beekeeping business. You don’t necessarily need to break the bank to get land if you don’t have one, just take permission and partner with nearby farmers with many fruit trees on their land.
If you have the money, you can buy, rent or lease land too. The most important thing is to make sure the land you plan to use is not located in a noisy or crowded place. Also, avoid water-logged areas or places where insecticides are applied.
After securing a suitable location, the next step is to choose the types of bees you want to keep. There are different species of bees with unique reproductive rates. We have;
- The honey bee.
- Mason bee.
- Solitary bees, etc.
Knowing your choice of bee is important, knowing the equipment you will use is also germane. Some of the important equipment that you will need are;
- Jungle boots.
- Bee suits.
- Honey extractor.
- Packaging machine.
- Weighing scales.
- Rubber plastics of several sizes.
- Packaging nylons.
- Sealing machine
- Stand-by generator
3. Proper management
Bee farming seems to be a bit complicated to manage, especially for the newbies; that is why it is advisable to stick to the method and system of bee farming used in the past by so many bee farmers and has proven to be successful and effective.
These methods have proven to be tested, trusted, and effective. On the other hand, trying a new approach would be very risky; it can endanger the bees and at the same time, cost you your start-up capital.
You need to note that bee farming is more of seasonal farming which means it requires close management. Know the right time to begin a colony so that it won’t affect the yield rate during harvest. In other words, if you start a colony too early, the bees might not get adequate food, and if you start too late, it will make the bees underproduce honey because they will miss out on the necessary pull of nectar.
In managing your bee farm, provide a good water source, sugar, and sufficient feeders. Lastly, get a medication schedule for your bees to keep them healthy and in good condition.
The appropriate time to harvest honey is at the end of the flowering season. First, you pick the extreme combs that contain ripe honey with an envelope of a thin layer of white beeswax. As you harvest mature honey, make sure you leave combs containing pollen or developing bees to have something to gather during the next phase of harvest.
After separating honey from the beeswax combs, melt the beeswax with water into a block and store it since it does not spoil with time; when you gather enough, then you can sell it.
Finally, on this point, Always return empty combs to the hives for bees to produce more honey.
Is There a Market for Bee Products?
Bee farming is a very lucrative business which you can set up with less than 250,000 (two hundred and fifty thousand Naira), without any other costs before and after. This is because the bees do not require daily care and special maintenance practices. And you would not need to do much work until the harvest and processing period.
Additionally, bees provide many products apart from honey, which is generally used among humans, and these products are highly demanded. So, you most likely will get many profits by selling those products.
Also, products such as wax used for furniture polish, candles, and crayons are in high demand by all furniture workers. Pollen is used for food, and as you know, food is the most important part of human life; this makes pollen highly important. Venom is used for preparing medicine. All the bee products mentioned above are heavily sorted after.
Cost of Starting Bee Farming in Nigeria
One of the factors that can motivate you more to start a bee farming business in Nigeria is the low start-up capital.
There are the major beekeeping costs and minor ones. The are as follows:
- A space to process the harvested honey.
- The hives for keeping the honey.
- Tables and chairs.
- Honey extractor and separator for large-scale bee farmers and sieve for small-scale farmers.
- Local protective clothing.
- Trays and tools like hive tools.
Factors to Consider in Locating the BeeHive
The first factor is to ensure that there are plenty of flowering plants and trees that can protect the bees from direct sunlight and make sure there is a good water source close to the hives.
Avoid locations where pesticides have been applied, and it is important to protect the bees from direct sunlight and serious wind. Hence the need for trees and artificial shades around. Hives must be placed far from Human activities to prevent being stung by bees.
Challenges in the beekeeping business
Confusion about beehive placement
Knowing where to put your beehive and the direction it should face is one of the most common challenges faced in the beekeeping business, especially for newbies.
Dearth of Information
Knowing where to get the necessary knowledge about this business is another challenge. Although materials are available online, it is advisable to get one-on-one coaching.
Managing queen bees
First, you should understand that a beehive cannot survive without its Queen, and many beginning beekeepers don’t notice when their colony is without a queen. This is because it is not very easy to spot.
High Honey prices and market demand
If you are going into beekeeping for profit, one of the leading causes of beekeepers abandoning the activity is high market demand and management cost. Beekeeping today faces many challenges, but the main reason a beekeeper quits is that the market forces them out.