Ms. Sarita Shrestha (Mountain Bee Concern)

Thulo .Com
Aug 26, 2020
0

Beekeeping or honey harvesting is an extremely old practice in Nepal. It requires minimal
investment and allows farmers to produce a wide variety of products that they sell to generate
regular income. Mountain Bee Concern is one such apiary located in Dhapakhel and has been
around for 10 years. They work with the Nepal government to promote and maintain the
beekeeping industry in Nepal. Sarita Shrestha has been helping out her in-laws at Mountain Bee
Concern ever since she was married. “Nepal government provides all kinds of training from hive
construction to best beekeeping practices to people who are interested in this industry. One does
not need to be highly educated and is an important source of employment in Nepal. Nepal is rich
in agro-diversity, therefore it is beneficial for both our people and the country if we focus more
on agriculture. The government also provides aids and subsidies, making this occupation more
accessible.”  

Sarita realized that most consumers have misconceptions about the purity of honey. Most of us
consider honey to be clear and smooth. These types of honey are usually available in
supermarkets. A lot of people, however, are unaware that these types of honey are heavily
processed and pasteurized to improve its appearance and shelf life, which reduces the quality and
nutritional value. Raw honey, on the other hand, is in its most natural form. It looks cloudier
because of the unfilterable honeycombs and crystalizes because of moisture loss. Many
consumers assume that these solidified honey is full of chemicals and of low quality. Studies
have found that raw honey contains five times more antioxidants than the processed ones. It is
also not contaminated with sugar and artificial sweeteners. Sarita finds that this
misunderstanding about raw honey is something that they always experience with consumers,
and therefore they have to keep educating them.

Business during COVID-19 and Adapting to E-commerce

The global COVID-19 pandemic has wreaked havoc all over the world, leaving the economy in
shambles. Many businesses are facing intense pressures to survive, and some have already gone
out of business in the world. One such industry that has managed to remain unscathed in this
devastation is the health food industry. The pandemic has led to escalated demand for organic
healthy foods. Whenever there has been or is a health scare like SARS or COVID-19, people rely
on health foods for disease prevention and to improve their nutrition. The COVID-19 outbreak is
obligating consumers to boost their immunity. Sarita says that the demand for their honey has
increased even more during this virus outbreak. Luckily, she is one of the women entrepreneurs
selected for the online promotion of her products under the “MA-UDHYAMI” campaign as a
part of the project “Revitalizing Women’s Businesses Amidst COVID-19 Pandemic”. The
project is being implemented by Federation of Woman Entrepreneurs’ Associations of Nepal
(FWEAN), together with EMERGE and Thulo.com, and is funded by the United States Agency
for International Development (USAID).

The COVID-19 pandemic has made an exploding trend even more important. The popularity of
e-commerce is not something new, but this virus outbreak has accelerated its growth. When
traditional shopping became challenging and scary, people resorted to online shopping. The trend
of relying on online shopping is here to stay. It is not going away even after retail shops resume

business. The lockdown lasted so long that this new way of shopping has been ingrained. Sarita
too noticed this change in consumers' shopping habits. She believes that it is now more crucial
than ever for businesses to go online because even if the lockdown fully ends, people are still
going to be cautious, and would prefer shopping from the safety of their homes.

Something to learn from Sarita

Sarita hopes that the future generation of women entrepreneurs understands that before they start
their businesses, they should surround themselves with mentors and advisors. No one person is
equipped with all the knowledge, skills, and experience to handle a business. They should try to
learn as much as possible before they start. Her father in law too started their beekeeping
business under the guidance of the government. These women can also attend seminars and
workshops hosted by organizations like Federation of Woman Entrepreneurs’ Associations of
Nepal (FWEAN) to expand their knowledge. Some people might even have people within their
circle who can offer valuable advice based on their experience. She believes that one should try
to learn as much as they can and not be afraid to ask for help if needed.

View all products of Mountain Bee Concern: https://thulo.com/mountain-bee/
Story Covered by: Ms. Jaani Kandangwa

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