Beekeeping In Nigeria; 7 steps to start & make good money (+ Practical training)

Beekeeping is the process of raising bees in order to collect honey or any other products like propolis, beeswax, pollen propolis and royal jelly
Are you seeking another source of income? Are you thinking agribusiness in Nigeria?
If yes, Beekeeping or Bee farming may be the right agribusiness to venture into.
In this post, I will be sharing with you about Beekeeping/farming in Nigeria
Now, I guess you must be wondering:
Why Beekeeping?
Beekeeping or apiculture could be a lucrative venture in Nigeria if done and marketed rightly. Those who started bee farming have attested to its high profitability.
Moreover, besides profit, there are additional benefits you enjoy from engaging in bee keeping.
If you are already a farmer, and you are interested in keeping bees, it’s advisable that you site your apiary (location where bees will be kept) in the midst of fruit trees such as mango, citrus, etc.
Placing bee hives in a fruit farm will boost pollination; thereby, multiplying the harvest, as bees are popularly referred to as agents of pollination.
Asides getting honey from bees, numerous products can be extracted from bees which serves as raw materials used by giant companies to produce major products. Products include bees wax, propolis, etc.
Before starting bee keeping in Nigeria, you have to seek knowledge from experts and attend its training.
You might work as an apprentice in a reputable bee farm or go for a practical training
After gaining knowledge, the next step is to draw up an apiary business plan which would serve as your guide on how to start and make profit from your venture.
How Much Is Needed To Start Bee Farming In Nigeria?
Interestingly, with as low as N100,000 or even as high as N5million Naira, you are good to go.
Bee farming is one of those agricultural ventures that can be started with less or more capital. To help reduce cost, it is recommended that you purchase locally made bee equipment like bee hives for beekeeping.
What Kind Of Land Is Required For Bee Keeping In Nigeria?
Unlike other forms of agriculture, owning a land isn’t a necessary requirement for bee keeping. You can lease a land; or alternatively, partner with fruit farmers who have citrus and mango trees in their farmlands.  In turn, your bees will help pollinate the fruit trees, and of course, increase the products of the farmers, thereby increasing their revenue stream.
What Quantity Of Honey Can Be Gotten From A Bee Hive?
As a farmer, you should expect to get up to 10-15 litres of honey per hive.
Steps To Ensuring A Successful Bee Farming In Nigeria

1). Get Bee farming Training
2) Get Bee Farming Business Plan:
The first and most important step when starting bee farming in Nigeria is getting trained and creating a business plan.
Just like no general goes to war without knowing the art of war himself; unless of course, he wants to fail, the same applies to beekeeping.
You can call us if you need a beekeeping training or consultancy services
Creating a business plan will help you achieve success where others without a business plan fail.
Moreover, you need to get the required training from beekeeping experts before you venture into the business.
While online guides and YouTube videos might give you a head start, nothing beats a hands-on training you will get at a reputable bee farm.
You will need to learn how to keep bees, where to site them, and how to protect yourself from them.  Therefore, after acquiring the training should you write a business plan.
While writing the plan, you need to know how much capital would be required for the business and then calculate how much profit would be earned from the business, plus, how to generate the required capital.
Additionally, your beekeeping marketing strategies should also be spelt out win your business plan. Without advertising, there’s little or no chance of making profit.
3). Get Capital,
4) Get 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.
As mentioned earlier, you can either lease a land, or partner with farmers who have fruit trees in their farm lands.
Your apiary must be in best conditions so can you can have a good return on investment. One major tip for locating your apiary is: never site your apiary in a noisy or crowded place.
And steer clear of swampy 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 and buy the necessary equipment (preferably new ones).
During your training, you will learn about the types of bee species and their yield rates. Bee species include the honey bee, bumble bee, mason bee, solitary bee, etc.
Equipment you need to start your bee farm in Nigeria include:
Bee hives, bee suits, smokers, buckets, jungle boots, wheelbarrows, basins, honey extractor, packaging machine, weighing scales, rubber plastics of various sizes, nylons for packaging, sealing machine ,and a stand-by generator (optional).
After securing the equipment, set the apiary in a place where the bees can easily find food and water, as this determines the success of your business
5). Know Your Business:
Bee farming is more of a seasonal farming; therefore, it’s very important that it is properly managed.
While farming bees, it’s important that you know the right time to begin a colony so that you don’t get a wrong produce from your bee farm. For example, if you start your colony too early, your bees might not get enough food, while starting too late will make your bees produce less honey because they will certainly miss out on major push of nectar.
Also, good source of water, sugar and sufficient space for feeders are all essential to the growth of a bee farm.  Taking care of bees is a bit complicated; therefore, it is important that you stick strictly to the training you were given.
Do not try out much new things at a time and don’t use your investment as a trial and error. It’s better to become a pro at it by doing thing gradually, before taking much risks. Also ensure that your bees get medication.
6).Beekeeping Marketing in Nigeria
There’s no business in Nigeria, and over the world that makes money without advertising its products or services. Bee keeping is no different. How do you make profit from your capital?  Let people know who you are and what you can offer them.
Moreover, if you produce quality honey, you will have customers and bigwigs like pharmacies and industrial companies lining to purchase honey from you. A pro tip is to be a reliability rock star- let your clients know you can supply honey to them within a short period of time.
Other forms of marketing include:
Word of mouth from satisfied customers
Making souvenirs with your brand printed on items like notebooks, face caps, shirts, pens, hand bands, etc.
Magazine publications
Online marketing via website or blog; social media marketing via Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, Google Ads, etc
Providing free seminars
Making handbills, etc.
7) Be business minded.
Don’t call it “bee farming”. Call it “bee business”
Answers To Likely Questions For Potential Bee Farmers:
Is There A Market For Bee Keeping In Nigeria?
Yes, beekeeping has a market in Nigeria as long as people eat honey and use other bee by products
Other products derived from bees are wax (used in furniture polish, candles and crayons), pollen (used for food, preparation of medicine, hand pollination and cosmetics), propolis (used for repairing honeycombs), venom (used for preparing medicine), royal jelly (used as food for queen bees), etc.
What Other Fruit Trees Can Surround A Bee Hive?
Apart from mangoes, bees pollinate farm crops such as cashews, pawpaw, coconut, oil palm, sunflowers, sisal, clover and citrus (orange, grape, lemon, lime, and tangerine).
Why Should You Start Bee Farming?
There re many important reasons why beekeeping in Nigeria is the best agribusiness for you. Some of such reasons are:
Honey is a good source of nutrition to human diet. It is a rich source of carbohydrate, minerals, and vitamins.
Honey keeps the human body mentally alert and physically strong.
It is a complement of many traditional and orthodox medicines.
It helps preserve the ecosystem, and increases production of a particular farm crops via pollination.
It increases your revenue generation as you process it on the farm. This in turn, adds more value to the raw products.
How Much Does It Cost To Start Bee Keeping In Nigeria?
If you are just starting, you might want to start with little capital. This might be as a result of your purse or you just want to start little, see how far you can cope with the beekeeping business, before splurging more money into it.
Key costs to consider in the bee business are:
A place to process the honey harvested.
The hives for keeping the honey.
Tables and chairs.
Honey extractor and separator. This equipment is used by large-scale farmers. Small scale farmers can use a sieve.
Minor costs are:
Getting locally made protective clothing.
Smoker- this can also be made locally.
Trays and tools such as hive tools.
How Do I Start My Beekeeping Colony?
There are three ways to start your colony. You can acquire a colony from a hive, obtain a swarm, and get a nucleus.
Of the three methods mentioned above, the easiest to do is by acquiring a colony from a hive. While it might cost you a little, it is easier and quicker. So, how do you get a colony from a hive? Visit beekeepers, reach an agreement with them, then pay for the bees and collect them.
The second method is by starting a nucleus, which means beginning a new colony from scratch. You can do this by obtaining a queen, drone, and workers. You feed the bees with water and sugar cane temporarily. Next, you provide adequate hives covered in beeswax and put them in an environment conducive for bee swarms as bait to make them enter the hives.
However, the cheapest method is by capturing a swarm of bees. Honeybees are untamed and live in colonies; and you can bait them by rubbing beeswax on several hives or boxes scattered in a suitable place the bee swarm would love to form a colony. Look for places with water, flowering or fruit plants, excellent weather, protection from intruders/predators, and absence of noise.
What Is A Hive?
A hive is a box for keeping the bees. The hives can be made from various materials, and their functions are to ensure that the bees build their nests so that they can be managed easily; and also to aid easy movement for the bees. The three categories of hives are:
Fixed comb hives made from clay, wall, log, tree bark, etc.
Movable comb hives which comes in various styles. A popular one is Top-Bar hives.
Movable frames hives such as Langstroth and Dadant, etc.
Hive Tips:
Put the hives beside the source of water and in shades of green leafy trees to avoid hot temperature.
Paint the hives in white colour to reflect sunlight rather than absorb it. This will help keep the hives cool.
In case there are no green leafy trees, erect artificial shades to control the temperature inside the hives.
 Where Do I Site My Bee Hives?
Ensure there are no crops being sprayed with insecticides nearby.
Make sure hives are adequately protected from strong winds.
Protect hives from strong sunlight by placing them under trees or by erecting artificial shades.
Place hives in places far from humans to avoid them being stung by bees.
Make sure there is no water dripping from the tree branches onto the hives beneath
Start with ten colonies and gradually increases the number if the area can sustain more colonies.
How Many Months Before Harvesting Bee?
If you have just started a fresh colony of bees, allow ten to twelve months for the honey to mature before you begin harvest. Subsequently, if the colony is fully established, you can harvest between seven to eight months.
How Do I Harvest Honeycombs And Process It?
Honey is harvested at the end of the flowering season. To harvest, pick the extreme combs that contain ripe honey with an envelope of thin layer of bees wax. While harvesting, ensure that you leave combs containing pollen or developing bees.
However, if you are using the Top Bar Extractor, instead of using an extractor, simply crush and strain the honeycombs to extract the honey by using muslin or other forms of filter, which would help separate the honey from beeswax. If you are using the frame hives, you can obtain honey by spinning the frames in a motorized circular extractor or a hand crank extractor.
After separating the honey from the beeswax, melt the beeswax over water into a block and store until you gather enough to sell. Pro tip: it doesn’t spoil over time.
Always ensure that you return empty combs to the hives so that the bees can produce more honey.
Should Quality Certification Be A Priority?
It would be beneficial if you intend to produce quality honey when starting beekeeping in Nigeria. You should ensure you make quality a top priority if you intend to have a profitable venture. Also make sure that you follow the standards set by Codex Alimantarius. Adhering strictly to quality includes:
Not adulterating honey by feeding them on sugarcane.
Ensuring the bees feed n pure nectar and pollen.
Not adding food additives to honey after harvesting.
Honey shouldn’t have flavours.
Honey shouldn’t ferment or be fermented.
Honey harvested shouldn’t foam.
It should have taint caused by foreign matter during processing and storage.
What Are Bees’ Seasonal Cycles?
Just as other agricultural businesses have their seasonal cycles, so also do bees. In temperate regions, the colony cycle is one for each year, but in tropical and sub-tropical regions, it differs as more than one colony cycle can occur within a yearly cycle. The colony cycle has three parts, which are: the buildup, honey flow, and dearth. Make sure you mange each seasonal cycle properly, as each parts has specific things you need to do to maintain the hives.
Should I Join An Association Of Beekeepers?
Joining Beekeepers Association of Nigeria in your locality will help you gain access to training resources and government loan facilities. Moreover, joining them will improve the chances of the marketability of your product, and enable you to get a good price but there’s no law that compel you to join any association.
Hope this article helps.
Thanks for reading
Culled from Africa Business Classroom