UiTM students help the poor by raising stingless bees

PONTIAN: The enforcement of the recovery movement control order in June opened an opportunity for a group of 15 university students to lend their hands to struggling B40 families in Kampung Melayu Raya, Pekan Nenas here to generate additional income through a social enterprise effort called Bee Friendz.

The initiative was launched by students of Universiti Teknologi Mara (UiTM) from the Pasir Gudang campus.

Bee Friendz project leader Muhammad Rasydan Abd Rashid, 19, said five families were selected to participate in the programme, which started in July, with each family given two units of bee houses to rear kelulut bees (stingless bees) from the Itama species to produce honey.

He said the kelulut honey would be harvested at least once a month depending on the weather conditions, for use in producing products such as laundry soap, hand soap, face soap and honey-based beverages.

“Bee Friendz produces six types of products, namely the original kelulut honey which we sell at RM40 for 100ml, laundry propolis soap, hand propolis soap, face soap, body soap and kelulut e-book to provide guidance to those interested in kelulut farming, ” he said.

“Currently the products are produced in small quantities and will sell fast because of their quality and high demand.”

Rasydan said the silver award they received at an international innovation and invention competition last month was proof that the products under the Bee Friendz project were of quality.

He hoped the project would benefit more people in the target group and encourage them to participate in stingless beekeeping as the project seeks to help participants raise their income by producing innovative products.

Project supervisor and senior lecturer at the Chemical Unit, Faculty of Applied Sciences of Pasir Gudang campus Munirah Onn said the project was part of its students initiative to reach out to the community or Duta Jauhar as it was known.

It is aimed at developing the socio-economy of the communities in Johor. — Bernama

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