Busy as bees

Busy as bees

MOHALE’S HOEK – MPHO Qhojane started as a low-scale bee farmer back in 2007 and now he is thinking big, as he eyes the lucrative pharmaceutical sector.
Qhojane is one of Lesotho’s young entrepreneurs pushing the boundaries to carve their own niche in the cut-throat world of business.
In his early forties, Qhojane ventured into the business after attending a workshop in 2007 and he has now teamed up with his wife in the bee-keeping project under the name Lepo Power Apiary Farm.

Qhojane says he extracts products such as honey, wax and propolis to manufacture medical products such as processed honey, lip balms and bee propolis syrup.
A nature enthusiast, Qhojane says he uses the bee stings to cure various diseases such as sores, arthritis and wounds.
“Nature is not negotiable but it is essential,” he says, reciting his company’s motto.

His passion in bees started when he attended a workshop on beekeeping organised by the department of forestry in 2007.
A few weeks after the workshop, he started collecting bees and keeping them in boxes for sale.
In June 2018, Qhojane started extracting bee products.

“From the propolis, I am producing the bee propolis syrup which plays all these important roles in people’s lives,’’ he says.
The propolis, which is a mixture collected by honey bees from sap flows, tree buds and other botanical sources, is vital for healing wounds fast and promote healthy skin.
It is also a remedy for asthma and other kinds of sicknesses, says Qhojane.

He says he uses the wax to produce lip balm, which is holding its own on the market in Lesotho.
Qhojane says eating healthy foods, especially from natural plants, can go a long way in keeping the doctor away.
“Bees take their food from nature and therefore their honey has more minerals.

“My aim is to supply people with bee products which have various natural minerals,” Qhojane says.
Like all other businesses, the venture faces challenges that include but are not limited to the migration of bees.
“Bees normally fly 15 km away from their habitat and come back to their destination but some do not return. This leads to a decrease in the numbers” he says.
He says despite the challenges, he still manages to generate a profit.

“I am able to feed my family with only this project. I am not employed by anyone and I am not intending to be employed,’’ he says.
Qhojane says bee-keeping is a lucrative business which requires little capital to take off.

“Even the cost for bees is low because one queen bee can produce about 1 500 to 3 000 eggs per day, which makes the production of bees higher,” he says.
“From two teaspoons of propolis, I am able to collect, produce and sell the products for more than M4 000,’’ says the man from Mohale’s hoek with big dreams.
“I want to bring total healing to the people”.

He has set his sights on expanding the project to a bigger place that accommodates more bees as well as manufacture and package the products on a larger scale and open a medical clinic.
Qhojane also plans to start producing bee pollen capsules next month.

Qhojane says he is not only eyeing the local market but wants to go international.
“People should create jobs for themselves rather than go hunting for jobs,” he says as a parting shot.

Refiloe Mpobole

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