To have a land of honey you need two key things: flowers and bees. To make profit out of it, you don’t need to be a prophet; you just need to do the math. Numbers and formulas win: every time. Sales – Expenses = Profit. Honey is the most popular natural sweetener in the world and the global trade in bee product is worth over $600 million every year. Due to its diverse use, the worldwide consumption of honey is so huge that supply can barely cope with demand. Costs to start a beekeeping business are not particularly high compared to many small businesses, and a well-planned and managed operation can be profitable.
Albanian farmers must know something about it, as breeding of bees and the production of honey have become a common activity among them, since the terrain and climate conditions favor this type of business. But, despite the huge potentials this activity has in country, most of the production comes from the familiar businesses that cultivate a modest number of hives.
Albanian farmers produce about three tons of honey, mainly farmers in the southeast area of the country.
Statistics data show that during a year, Albanian farmers produce about three thousand tones of honey, mainly farmers in the southeast area of the country. Farmers say this is a promising business and many are interested in investing and developing this culture but they must establish and cultivate bees in the northern regions of Albania, too.
Nature does not play favorites, and bees like flowers must compete in the “all’s fair” evolutionary game. Same it goes with business. It is not enough to have a good or cute idea for a shop, you need to sketch down a business plan and expand to the market. Like Eugen Skerma of Morava Honey in Korca, did. Skerma entrepreneur's love for bees look like is paying off, and his popular brand of honey might soon be available at grocery stores across the United States.
Skerma is well on his way, and his company has already made a name for itself, by selling unique honey blends. "When I was a kid, I was raised with bees and honey. Then I just considered it fun, now is business” says Eugen who is the third generation on the Skerma family who breeds bees and produces honey. In Korça, the production of honey makes about 1/5 of the total production in country.
Honey gets sold in the domestic market and exported as well, since the demand for it is high. This product is well known by international experts as very rich in nutritious and they suggest Albanians should look more toward the business of honey, as it is absolutely unique and of high quality and the demand for it remains high.
Albania Yearly Exports in US Dollars - Natural honey Source:Index Mudi
Poppies may grow elsewhere in Europe but they seemed to flower more intensely and exuberantly in Albania, clinging to every nook and crevice they could find, their little heads bobbing bright red in the sun. And not just poppies but every imaginable type of wild flower too, scattered across the road edges and hilltops.
Great flowers make strong bees, which give us that great honey we have and many foreigners crave. In centuries many writers and philosophers, starting from Aristotle have emphasized the wealth of bee forage in Albania. The philosopher himself praised the honey that the Illyrians at the time turned into wine. Until 1923 all hives were traditional: woven skeps, upright logs and wooden boxes of various shapes. In 1953, 77% were still traditional and gave an average of 5kg of honey a year and movable-frame hives 20 kg.
Today is about 3 thousand tons of honey per year, which supplies part the local demand and also gets exported, like in the case of Morava Honey. “It not a kids play. We have worked hard to build our brand and enter the American market. You can find our product in many grocery stores in New York, Philadelphia and New Jersey and it’s a big deal for us”, says proudly Skerma about his honey, which has been requested as well in China. The only glitch? “We just can’t keep up with the quantity they require. As in China as well in America we have been contacted by some big companies that want bigger quantity, for which we are unable to provide”, says Skerma, affirming the main problem Albanian farmers face today of high demand and low supply which has grown larger in size, but interestingly enough makes our honey more competitive even though we sell at a high price.
The huge gap between Albania’s consumption of bee products and available supply presents a lucrative opportunity for entrepreneurs to exploit. Beekeeping is easy to start, requires very little capital, compared to other business opportunities and can be run from home. So the formula of success speaks for itself: Sales (high demand)- Expenses (requires low capital)= High Profit. Honey really does make money and when it is for the mountains of Albania, the prices go higher as everyone seems to want a spoonful of the sweet golden delicacy the Albanian bees have created for millennia.