Ten years ago, Ganesh Bista made a bold decision to sell off 10 dhur (0.05 acre) of land in order to pursue a career in beekeeping. Since then, there has been no looking back. In the past ten years, Bista has gone onto become one of the most successful beekeeping entrepreneurs in Terai. He currently has over 200 beehives and produces over 80 quintals of honey which is sold in neighbouring towns and across the border in India. Bista’s business of bees alone fetches him Nrs 2.5 million annually and he makes additional Nrs 1 million by processing and selling honey and providing training to others. Looking back, Bista shares, “The life that I have right now would not have been possible if it wasn’t for the training by MEDEP”. Micro-Enterprise Development Programme (MEDEP) is a flagship poverty alleviation initiative of the Government of Nepal-Ministry of Industry and UNDP. The beekeeper further adds, “MEDEP has not only provided us with the skill but they have instilled belief in us that we can also become successful entrepreneur, taught us labelling, packaging and linked us to the market”.
Bista remains worried that the large potential of beekeeping enterprises in the Far West is still untapped. According to him, honey produced by Nepali farmers is unable to meet the domestic demand. Kailali is home to 112 beekeepers with more than half being women micro-entrepreneurs, Bista states “minimal start up investment and quick return makes beekeeping very suitable for poor and low-income groups”.