Engineer’s long road to sweet success

Sticky business: Bees producing kelulut honey at the Niranur Agro Farm in Sematan. — Bernama

KUCHING: It has been a long road for Mohamad Aluis Hamri to become a successful kelulut honey entrepreneur.

Six years after venturing into the business with his family, the 37-year-old is now reaping the fruits of his sweat and tears.

“I have to admit that the journey was a difficult one.

“However, the support of my family and the will to complete what I had begun has produced the desired results, ” he told Bernama at his Niranur Agro Farm in Sematan, 105km from here.

Mohamad Aluis, a qualified engineer, and his family ventured into the kelulut (stingless honey bee) farming business in 2014.

“I run a construction company, but I was inspired to venture into the kelulut honey industry after observing these unique insects and their active lifestyle and structured colonies, ” he said.

Mohamad Aluis started out with two hives, which he obtained from the mangrove swamp forest in Sematan.

His decision to join the business had the support of his parents, who allowed him to make use of a plot of land owned by the family in the southernmost district of Sarawak

to start an agro farm for these stingless bees.

“By 2015, I was able to expand the number of hives to 40. In 2016, I increased the number of hives to 160 and in 2017, it became 180.

“Now I have 220 hives, ” he said.

Mohamad Aluis says the farm is able to produce about 100kg of honey every month. Mohamad Aluis says the farm is able to produce about 100kg of honey every month.

In tandem with the growth of the hives, he was able to raise his production of kelulut honey as well, from about 50kg a month initially to about 100kg now.

“Alhamdulillah (praise be to Allah), my initial income of RM8,000 per month has also risen to RM12,000 now, ” he beamed.

Mohamad Aluis acknowledged that the business was not without its challenges and difficulties, but that never dampened his spirit.

He said utmost care must be taken because the kelulut, due to its tiny size and stingless nature, is often a victim of the bigger bees and hornets.

“The trick is to place some belacan (shrimp paste) near the hives to keep away the predator bees and hornets, ” he said.

Mohamad Aluis also welcomed the government’s launch of the National Kelulut Honey Industry Development Plan 2020-2030, saying it could help stimulate and propel the industry to new heights.

He added that social media was also helpful in making his business a success.

Mohamad Aluis said he had appointed several shops and stockists, particularly in Kuching and Kuala Lumpur, to market his products, but most of the sales were via online orders.

He also opened up the Niranur Agro Farm to the public in 2015 and it receives about 40,000 visitors annually.

He expects the number of visitors to rise during Visit Malaysia 2020.

“Entry to the farm is free but with a fee of RM3, a visitor can have a taste of the kelulut honey, sucking it with a straw straight from the hive, ” he said.

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