And it all stemmed from a fairly humble idea. Back in 2016, a group of young people wanted to learn more about bee colonies. With the support of We Effect’s partner organisation in Albania, AgroPuka, they created a study circle and quickly become known as the young beekeeper’s group from Puka.
Working cooperatively to learn how to produce, package and market some of their honey production, it wasn’t long before they reached some enviable degree of success.
“Out of 6 beehives I had at the beginning, today I have over 100,” proudly says Klodian, the leader of the group, adding that all of the team members have increased the number of their bee families.
“We are in constant contact with each other to share our positive experiences and to learn from each other,” he says.
Regarding his personal approach to beekeeping, he says: “My biggest concern is to care in the best possible way for a bee family using always only the best practices in order to have a healthy bee family and a quality product.”
One of the biggest risks involving beekeeping, apart from the market fluctuations, as he points out, is the bee health.
As a professional veterinarian this represents a special interest for him. He tries to keep up to date with all the latest information and trends in beekeeping, especially in terms of protection of the bees from diseases and pests.
That is why in his veterinary pharmacy the products for maintaining healthy bee colonies are at the forefront of his offer.
“We sell medicines for animals as well as for bees,” he says, but since beekeeping is his passion it has a special place. In this context he is particularly proud that the bulk of the investment for opening the veterinary pharmacy has come from the income generated through his beekeeping activities.
Yet maintaining a large number of bee colonies requires a lot of effort and Klodian admits that he receives generous help.
“My family gives me such a big hand with them, especially my mother. She works more than me with the bees since I’ve opened my own pharmacy. My family is small but we’re really happy. We’re 4 people me, mom and grandparents,” he says.
Klodian sells the honey both on local markets and to clients from all over Albania. With this, he and the rest of his fellow young beekeepers have received a lot of support from We Effect’s partner organisation AgroPuka.
“We had trainings in beekeeping but also trainings related to economics, such as drafting business plans, promotion and marketing of products,” he says.
This has been of great importance to him because what started as a hobby turned out to be one of the most important professional preoccupations for him.
“I see beekeeping as a good way to create a successful business, as the needs for beekeeping products and by-products are higher than the current production and the climate in north Albania is very favourable for beekeeping,” says Klodian.
He is content with the present and what he has achieved so far and hopeful for what’s to come.
“The future in my eyes promises a lot. I would like to expand my activity beyond the production of bee products. Apitourism and apitherapy are the two branches where I am starting to focus now.”