Apis Millifera beekeeper aspires to expand business into regional markets

by BERNAMA / pic credit: Mersing Bee Farm FB

APIS Mellifera beekeeper Muhammad Arif Saidon in Siapu near Mersing is keen to expand the market of his honey product, including going abroad.

Muhammad Arif, 25, continued his father’s business and started working seriously in January last year after graduating in teaching English as a Second Language (TESL) from Mara Poly-Tech University College, Kuala Lumpur.

The Australian honey bees produce high-quality honey, enabling him to earn up to RM200,000 a month until the country was hit by the Covid-19 pandemic two years ago.

“Despite facing various challenges and risks, especially in light of the current situation, the high demand for honey strengthens my resolve to go the extra mile.

“I also aspire to expand the market not only domestically but also regionally to countries like Singapore, Indonesia and Brunei,” he told Bernama at the Mersing Bee Farm in Jalan Jemaluang, recently.

Hailing from Pasir Gudang, Muhammad Arif received training and guidance from various government agencies, including the Agriculture Department on infrastructure and Rubber Industry Smallholders Development Authority for equipment and on labelling.

The second child in a family of three children, Muhammad Arif now manages 20 hives with the aid of six employees and produces honey under the Mersing Royal Honey brand.

It is sold at the company’s premises, attracting buyers mostly from Mersing, as well as marketed through the wholesale and agent system.

“Our pure honey product, which doesn’t have any form of adulteration, is also available online through Facebook and Instagram on the ‘Mersing Bee Farm’ social sites, as well as on Shopee Ariff Saidon’s e-commerce platform at prices as low as RM20 to RM120 depending on its weight.

“We have already obtained the MyGAP certification (Malaysian Good Agricultural Practices) from the Department of Agriculture and are currently in the process of obtaining MeSTI (Industry Responsibility Safe Food Certification), and halal certification in our quest to expand the market,” he said.

The honey harvested is higher during the fruit and flowering seasons, he said, adding that, “Honey is best harvested in the morning until noon as the bees are rising actively at this time to feed on (nectar and pollen in) flowers,” he said.

Besides managing a bee farm, Muhammad Arif is also welcoming guests and families to the farm, which is arrayed with a mini zoo, a fish pond, a hall, and 10 chalets.

“We have also received requests from all over the country to conduct an in-house and online course on beekeeping and honey production,” he said.