Living in a pandemic has many of us thinking about all the different ways we can protect ourselves from the coronavirus including the food we eat and drink. The health benefits of honey is countless. Moreover, the stunning images that we often see on National Geographic of the honey hunters of Nepal have mesmerized people across the world. It was a quest to visit the honey hunting tribe in Lamjung that gave birth to Best Mad Honey.
I asked Sanjay from Best Mad Honey what exactly makes their honey the best. “Mad honey is from the mountains. People can easily confuse this product with normal honey and get poisoned by eating too much. The flavour is unique and very sweet. It should not be given to children” says Sanjay.
The team have a huge ambition to make Best Mad Honey available to people in Nepal and take the product global just like the stories of the honey hunters that have been published on numerous sites from VICE, Wired and The Guardian. Backed with his bachelors in agriculture, Sanjay is hopeful. He wants his product in the global food system.
LEX: Sanjay, the Best Mad Honey story sounds pretty daring and challenging! How does it all work out, the process of getting the honey?
SANJAY: The challenges faced is actually an adventure. There are a lot of challenges but I see them as a part of my journey. First of all, the idea of making Mad Honey accessible to the public is itself life-threatening. The honey hunters devote their life climbing the hills with ropes just to extract honey. It’s a lot of risk. I have also survived this adventure. Sometimes we need to deal with losses from the damage of the honey jars because of the rupture as our porters need to carry honey from huge heights. Likewise, we need to go through a number of legal permissions before honey hunting as honey is the product of the forest. In addition to this, poor access to the international market is also a challenge which we are facing especially when exporting honey and bringing the honey jars.
LEX: You mentioned that you also went on the adventure and survived it, does that mean you also went on the journey to find these honey?
SANJAY: Two years ago, I went on the expedition with my friends just for an adventure to see and document the journey and write stories for my blog. Along with photos and stories, I also brought honey, posted it online and came to know a lot of people wanted to buy mad honey. That’s how I came to know about the product. The first travel to the hunting community was also a battle between life and death. In reality, if we fall from the cliff — it’s pretty much over.
Last year was our first official expedition for the business. I along with my teammate went there. We stayed with locals and we documented all the journey which is on YouTube. We supplied the hunters with necessary food items, inspected the purity of honey and brought it to Kathmandu maintaining its utmost purity.
Normally to assure the purity of the product and gain 100% confidence on what we are selling. We go and bring honey by ourselves. This year amid the COVID crisis, our field staff from hunters’ community are with hunters helping them in harvesting honey. Also amid the COVID crisis too, I hired a four-wheeler to accompany the hunters’ community in the mountains for helping them in harvesting honey, documenting stories, and inspecting the purity of honey so that I can guarantee it’s quality.
LEX: As you mentioned locals/local population, what sort of ‘partnership/collaboration’ do you have with them to be able to use their expertise and skills to create your goods that you are selling and plan to take global?
SANJAY: For now, we are supplying the honey harvested by honey hunters to the market by buying their honey and selling it. They traditionally used to barter with locals in the nearby communities. We go with them, they carry out the honey harvesting with their ancient technique and collect honey.
Lately we are also collaborating WWF/USAID to set-up an adventure tourism homestay along with promoting local livelihood/local biodiversity. In the long run, we aim to create local opportunities by investing a certain part of our profit to the community in agriculture and promoting the value chain of the product.
LEX: With Covid19 affecting everyone at the moment, how does it fare for a small start-up like yours?
SANJAY: Our focus product for the business is just Mad Honey. Honey is known for boosting the immune system and with COVID19 cases increasing people are willing to use this product on an everyday basis for better health.
Of late, we are getting high demand for honey and we are aligning with a delivery company to supply honey to the doorsteps of our clients.
LEX: For those interested to buy the products in Nepal, how can they get their hands on Best Mad Honey?
SANJAY: For those who want to buy honey, you can find details on our site www.bestmadhoney.com or reach out to us via email (email@example.com) or Instagram us. We are very active on social media.
The Best Mad Honey prices ranges from $50 to $130 USD.
Want to learn more about HONEY in Nepal? Check these posts below!
- Watch – The Last Honey Hunter Documentary
- Sweet Road To Success
- Success Story: Ganesh Bista – The Beekeeper