Mr. Patrick Addo Newman, founder of Tree Honey Farms has seen his more than 30-year-old company grow astronomically over the last year after applying the lessons he learnt from a comprehensive training on honey value addition supported by BUSAC Fund.
Through the hands-on exercise, he has in the last five months introduced additional honey products such as Facial Cleansers, Pro-Wax Cream (Hair), Pawpaw tea, Honey Cough, Honey, Asthma, Honey Brain, Candles and Honey Soap.
According to him, most of these products have passed the scientific test at the Chemistry Department of Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, which indicates that the products had good medicinal properties and health value.
Results from the test conducted on the products, (especially the Honey Cough, Honey Asthma and Honey Brain) at the Mampong Herbal center were positive and the company is planning to donate Honey Brain to the students of the various Special schools.
“Before the training, I only sold a 222- kilo barrel of honey in six months; but now the same quantity is sold within a month. Additionally, my value production rate is over 90 percent. It was an eye-opener for my group and me. The success is huge,” says Mr. Newman.
The experienced beekeeper is not only diversifying the products but part of the knowledge gained in business management is helping him to simultaneously focus on marketing the products thereby opening up more outlets.
“Within this short period, I have opened retail shops in Ho, Accra, Somanya and I am planning to open one in Koforidua. As part of our plans for the year, we will be selling our products at Church Crusades, exhibitions and conferences. More shops will be accredited to sell my products,” he stated.
Touching on product exportation, Mr. Newman disclosed that his company has successfully struck a deal and sent the first 20 kilos of the cream consignment to a German partner who was impressed and was due to travel to Ghana to hold a discussion on facilitating more exports.
To keep the environment favorable for the bees, he has cultivated a sunflower farm to ensure that the bees get the raw materials to sustainably produce honey.
Bearing in mind the implication felling of trees and its impact on the nation's forests, Mr. Newman cultivates trees called Cinderella, with a maturity period of six years to build his beehives.
Mr. Oscar Nartey Adjabeng, a leading Member of the Ghana Bee Keepers Association noted that Ghana has a conducive environment for honey production but the production level is low and unable to meet both domestic and international demands.
He stated that the members of the Association have improved from raw material producers and sellers of raw honey to value addition through the production of honey soap, honey hair cream and honey cough mixture.
“Members are making a good income after being exposed to the new products and some are producing honey beverages and serving at occasions including weddings, outdooring events and funerals. I know of three members who are briskly involved in producing both liquid and bar soaps and selling them at various markets in the Eastern Region,” he attested.
On the impact of the BUSAC Fund sponsored Business Development Services training on the group, he said the support has rejuvenated members of the Association at all levels in the country and therefore they have realized the need to pay their dues and participate in the association’s activities.
“Prior to the support, the association nearly collapsed. We have a strong association now, with people attending meetings at the districts, regional and national levels. The executives are functioning and we have people taking minutes of their meetings and it is very vibrant”, he remarked.
As a result of the visibility and hard work of the association, he noted that one of the members was awarded at the recent national farmers’ day celebration.