SUNBIZ

Bee Hobby Turns into Successful Honey Business

Meet Anil and Jean Tikram. They own and operate a bee farm at Waitika Farm in Wairuku, Rakiraki. The motivation for starting a bee farm was initially to keep the
05 Jan 2019 11:00
Bee Hobby Turns into Successful Honey Business
Maraia Vula

Meet Anil and Jean Tikram.

They own and operate a bee farm at Waitika Farm in Wairuku, Rakiraki.

The motivation for starting a bee farm was initially to keep the cou­ple meaningfully occupied with something that could make a posi­tive contribution to the environ­ment as well as something that could perhaps have turned into a small business.

“We love what we do,” Mrs Tikram said.

“We are a home grown family business and everything is hand­made and worked by us.

“All our products are filled with love, warmth, passion and positiv­ity.

To keep up with what Waitika Farm is doing follow them on the facebook page (Waitika Farm) and on the instagram account (waiti­kafarmfiji).”

  1. Can you tell us a bit about your­selves?

Anil is a semi retired lawyer and Jean a retired high school teacher from South African who has been in Fiji for 22 years.

The reason why we located from Suva to Rakiraki is that Anil has maternal links to the area.

His mother came from Waimari and he has always had a liking for this area. We got into bee farming as a hobby in our retirement but this has now turned into a small niche business.

Initially it was purely honey farming but with time we realised there were other opportunities that honey farming presented. We also grow a variety of herbs such as rosemary, thyme, oregano, mint, tarragon, a few types of bas­il and even heaps of strawberries!

  1. Can you tell us a bit about your business? (Features of your busi­ness)

 

One of the special things about our business is that we work every aspect of it ourselves, from look­ing after the bee hives, to harvest­ing and bottling the honey as well as making all the bees wraps, hon­ey butter, lip balms, candles etc. We design the labels, create the products, work the farm and mar­ket the produce!

  1. What was the motivation for starting it?

The motivation for starting a bee farm was initially to keep our­selves meaningfully occupied with something that could make a posi­tive contribution to the environ­ment as well as something that could perhaps have turned into a small business.

The positive impact we continue to have on the market inspires us to keep growing and coming up with new products.

It was trial and error all the way at the beginning but the deeper we got involved the more interest­ing and rewarding it became! Bees are incredibly smart creatures and we are very privileged to be able to work with them.

  1. What’s different about your busi­ness?

One of the main differences be­tween Waitika Farm and other bee farms is that we have created by products from both our honey and our wax.

All of our products are very popu­lar particularly our home made Honey Butter and our original Bees Wraps.

Our Honey Butter is about to launch in the Marina Deli in Dena­rau to give a wider exposure to this much sought after product.

Waitika Farm is the pioneer of bees wraps in Fiji and it took us close to a year to where we could get a good product.

We are importing quality ingre­dients which we combine with our beeswax to produce this wonderful alternative to cling wrap.

It is important that we all work to­wards getting rid of plastic in our lives, and this product is definitely a step in the right direction.

A Bees Wrap is a piece of cotton cloth soaked in a mix of beeswax, oils and food grade resin which ends up as a pliable, reusable, air­tight covering for food.

  1. What are your long term plans?

Since Winston wiped us out com­pletely in 2016, we are still focus­sing on increasing our hive num­bers.

With more hives we obviously get more honey and wax which will give us the opportunity to focus on and increase our farm productivity.

We also have a couple of new prod­ucts emerging in 2019 which at this stage is still a secret, so keep an eye on our Instagram and Facebook ac­counts to not miss out!

We are also about to reopen our small shop on our farm so people driving by can pop in to buy pure Waitika Honey as well as all the other farm products.

We have a display hive built into the wall of our little shop so people can come and have a look at the ac­tive bees in the wall.

  1. How do you split time between the business?

Since we live and work on the farm the time we spend on our business is our own.

It is an ongoing project and defi­nitely not an 8 – 5 job.

There are times it gets very busy and there are also times we relax. We like our products to have a good stress-free vibe about them so we make sure we take the time to put lots of love into them.

  1. What’s the hardest part about be­ing in business?

One of the hardest things about this business is that we are suscep­tible to the elements.

After Winston we had to start all over again which set us back a lot but with perseverance and hard work we are slowly getting back on our feet.

Another issue is lack of reliable and consistent farm help.

  1. What advice do you give to others thinking about starting a business?

For anyone starting a business, the most important thing is to have a vision and a plan.

You need to know what you want to do, how you’re going to do it and what your end goal must be.

Then there is simply no substitu­tion for hard work and commitment and one just has to go out there and make it happen.

Never give up.

Feedback: maraia.vula@fijisun.com.fj



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