Taking bee farming a notch up

Every business operation has a market culture that it seeks to service. Farming, just like any other business, must survive because it is solving a certain people's problems.

Of late there have been many people who have started bee farming as an enterprise. Unfortunately, many are producing honey - which is just honey. Farmers need to learn something new every day in whatever they seek to produce.   Value addition on their products will keep them in business for a long time because there is always going to be cut-throat competition out there.

So those that are producing honey through bees must take it a notch up and produce flavoured honey, for different cultures.

Eucalyptus honey

Farmers who have been able to plant gumtrees on their farms must consider producing eucalyptus honey.

Many western countries favour this type of honey. It is one of the most distinct honey varieties due to its unique colour, aroma and taste. Particularly beneficial for the respiratory system, its other many advantages have positioned it as the favourite honey type for many.

It has an unusual, unmistakable damp wood aroma, very intense and very persistent, probably the most persistent of all the honeys. Characterized by a sweet taste with slightly acidic undertones and quite often, salty undertones. Among its characteristics, there’s also the tendency of eucalyptus honey to crystallize in fine crystals. The taste, appearance and aroma  varies depending on some production factors, including the specific climatic conditions that were present during its production, as well as the actual source for the nectar and the trees’ location.

However, the taste of organic eucalyptus honey presents common traits such as a mix between medium-sweet, salty and slightly acidic undertones. Menthol, caramel and earthy hints can also be present, as well as smooth wooden nuances in the aftertaste.

This honey variety presents a unique damp wood aroma that’s fairly intense and persistent. This characteristic has turned it into a preferred type for aromatherapy experiences that seek to boost relaxation.

It is known for fighting colds, the flu and respiratory illnesses: This monofloral honey is particularly beneficial in this area, as it helps improve expectoration, minimize excess mucus, alleviate nasal congestion and acts as a natural cough suppressant. In fact, research has shown specific efficiency as a cough suppressant for children.

Because of its powerful antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties, it presents advantages in preventing issues related to the urinary tracts, including cystitis, nephritis and kidney stones. It also reportedly increases immunity.

Raw organic eucalyptus honey is particularly rich in Vitamin C and vitamin B9, known to boost the immune system. Other vitamins present in this honey variety include Vitamins A, D and B (B1, B2, B3, B5, B6). Eucalyptus honey is a known source of minerals and antioxidants. Among the main important minerals present in this honey are iron, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, copper, potassium, sulfur and sodium. It also helps absorb calcium and magnesium.

Moringa honey

The Chinese, especially those in Zimbabwe are fond of the moringa flavoured honey. They pay as much as $15/kg just to get their hands on this type of honey.

The new superfood ‘moringa’ has been gaining popularity for its high nutritious values, antioxidants, powerful anti-inflammatory properties that protect tissues, and many other health benefits. Known as horseradish tree, drumstick tree or Ben tree is available in the common households around the world. The leaves, roots, stem, fruits, pods, seeds, and flowers are also edible and prevent diseases such as anemia, liver disease, arthritis, diabetes, and much more. Honey is the only food that never spoils. When honey is combined with moringa, it becomes one of the best remedies that prevent many health ailments.

Moringa enhances and enriches the qualities of honey and thus helps us improve our health and immunity.

These are just the two types up for discussion but there are obviously more types that farmer can research on and serve on to the market.

Many farmers locally are making money exporting products that are wanted in various countries and cultures. After all we are in global village farmers must know what their neighbours need.

  • Gwabanayi is a practising journalist and a farmer in his own right. — 0772 865 703 or [email protected]

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