Careers & Education

Stephen Williams The bee farmer

The bee farmer

By AINSWORTH MORRIS Career & Education writer

Sunday, August 31, 2014    

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FIVE boxes of bees, one smoker, one extractor, a veil and hive tools were what it took to get Stephen Williams formally started in the bee farming business in 2010. These donations from Food for the Poor have been credited with making Williams the successful businessman he is today.

The 54-year-old owner of Queen Bee Honey Production said he used the charity organisation's gifts to build his business, which is based in Irish Pen, St Catherine.

"I have sold bees in the past but I started to bottle honey and pollen in 2012. Today, I have a total of 75 boxes and that is a great achievement for me," Williams told Career & Education.

Williams, who also serves as a traffic warden, said he is happy he decided to venture into the sector because business is booming and he is comfortable.

"I am satisfied because I see where apiculture is growing in Jamaica. There is a strong demand for honey. This business has already made a big difference in my life and in the life of my family because, as a traffic warden, the salary is small, sometimes $6,000 per fortnight, and this was not sufficient to take care of our basic needs. Now I can finance my children's education and better provide for my family," Williams said.

"Right now, I don't have a specific market. I pretty much sell to anyone who needs it such as neighbours and friends and nearby shops. I would love to one day construct an extracting house, so that I can have one specific location to extract, process and bottle the honey. That way I can expand my market to bigger companies such as supermarkets and even overseas," he added.

Williams said he has employed his son to work with him to build Queen Bee Honey Production.

He said with every journey in life challenges are always present. However, with his small business he doesn't allow the challenges to overwhelm him. He only focuses on the joy and independence that come with being an entrepreneur.

"It mek mi feel good and important. I didn't know that bee production was such a productive industry and so I decided to take it up seriously. The bees dem inspire and motivate me every day, because when I look at them, how they work and how productive they are, that inspires me to keep doing this job. I say to myself, 'Is dis likkle bees produce all dis honey?'"

He said customers tell him that if they see his honey on the supermarket shelf they would purchase it because he produces quality honey.

"These things motivate me," Williams said.

Below are 5 benefits Williams said he has derives from being an entrepreneur:

1. Self-reliance. I rely on myself to provide my needs through what I earn from my bees.

2. I don't have to depend on anyone to provide for my four children, Imano, Kayann, Stephen and Odine.

3. I can now employ other persons and give them a chance to provide for their families.

4. I get to work at my own pace each day.

5. I am now in a position to train other persons who are interested in the bee business. I have already partnered with the Government to help provide training for persons with bee farms.

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