|HONEYFULL: A close-up look of one of Trực's bee hives. — VNA/VNS Photo|
NINH THUẬN — Nguyễn Hữu Trực’s business raising stingless bees has not only made him rich, but won him the Ninh Thuận Best Start-up Idea Award 2021.
“I was obsessed with bees when I was young,” said the 29-year-old from Phan Rang – Tháp Chàm in Ninh Thuận. “I tried raising honeybees but was not successful. And then I came upon a peculiar bee hive at my backyard, which was full of delicious honey. That was my ‘Eureka’ moment.”
The bee hive that Trực encountered was of the stingless bee. Although smaller than honeybees, stingless bees have reduced stingers, never leave their hives and do not take up space.
It was because of these differentiators that Trực believed in the stingless bees’ business potential, so much so that he quit his job at a bank to go all-in on his honey venture.
After researching similar businesses around the world, as well as stingless bees’ habitats, Trực filled 30sq.m of his backyard with fruit plants to raise the bees.
He divided the hives into three floors to preserve the honey, pollen and bee glue generated by the bees.
It takes around 50 days for eggs laid by the queen bee to grow fully. Hives will eventually multiply monthly, and generate honey after 3-6 months.
From an initial three hives, after three years Trực had 400 hives and opened his own business called “Jichi Stingless Bee Farm”.
The bees give honey twice a year, totalling 2 litres of honey. As stingless bees don’t consume sugar, the honey they generate is purely natural, sweet but with a touch of sourness.
The revenue from Trực’s business this year was VNĐ960 million (US$ 41,380), and he made a profit of VNĐ770 million.
“Trực’s model is sustainable and eco-friendly” said Lưu Xuân Vũ, deputy secretary of Ninh Thuận’s Youth Union. “Young people can learn and apply this business model to increase income, since the model is economic and practical.”
The Ninh Thuận Youth Union is highly focused on encouraging start-ups, helping young entrepreneurs to find investors, as well as building brands and advertising products.
Trực hopes to expand his farm in the future, develop a brand and collaborate with other farms to sell and rent bees, so that any interested person will be able to make their own bee farm at home.
He looks forward to creating a network of bee farmers in Ninh Thuận to share knowledge and experience. Trực has also pivoted to e-commerce sites and trade fairs in order to made his stingless bees product more widely known.
The expansion. however, does not stop at just honey and bee products.
“Improving tourism is also what I aim for in the future,” said Trực, “I want to get in touch with tourist destinations to advertise my products, as well as organise field trips for students in my bee farms so that they can learn about and connect with nature.” — VNS