Making money with honey in Türkiye

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Making money with honey in Türkiye

Estimated reading time: 2 minutes

Fatma transfers larvae laid by a queen bee into milk frames to produce royal jelly. © Fatih Turan

In the highlands of southern Türkiye, the hum of bees provides the springtime soundtrack and the town of Bozkır is honey heaven. Thanks to the clean air, plentiful thyme and pine, and cold-water springs, 85,000 kilograms of honey are produced here every year.

Bees are perhaps the most important creatures of the ecosystem and our food systems. Three-quarters of the crops we grow for food depend, in some part, on pollinators, so by protecting bees, beekeepers are also protecting biodiversity.

Around 250 people in Bozkır earn a living from beekeeping—we met two of these.

Building a bee business

Born and raised in Bozkır, Fatma (34) and Fatih (40) Turan have been beekeeping since 2015. Business was buzzing so they decided to expand.

With support from the IFAD Göksu Taşeli Watershed Development Project (GTWDP), they received 50 empty beehives, which gave them the opportunity to scale up their business.

High quality honey

Fatma carefully removes the frames from the hives. © Fatih Turan

The better you take care of bees, the more honey they will produce. “It is necessary to be sensitive, their frames must be taken one by one,” explains Fatma.

While the couple use sugar to feed their colonies during the winter, they carefully monitor this in order to ensure their honey retains high levels of proline and diastase—vital for good quality honey.

This approach seems to be working. Their honey harvest grew from 700 kilograms last year to 1000 kilograms this year, which they sell primarily in Istanbul. The family have also branched out from honey, producing and selling queen bees, pollen, royal jelly and propolis.

A buzzing future

Some of Fatma and Fatih's products. © Fatih Turan

Using social media to market their products, they also benefit from brand awareness and trust thanks to the Bozkır Honey Packaging Facility. This cooperative was set up with the support of the GTWDP to support local beekeepers.

Having grown to 140 beehives, the family plan to sell 40 bee colonies, 300 queen bees, 100 kilograms of pollen and 10 kilograms of royal jelly every year.

These ambitious targets require hard work and planning. “We make our business plan on Saturday and leave one day free a week,” explains Fatma. “Bee management is difficult, but this job is very easy, just like any job when you really love it.”


Fatih harvests royal jelly from the frames. © Fatma Turan

The family plan to hire more people as their business grows and have already trained four young people on beekeeping. In this way, they will support local livelihoods and ensure beekeeping remains an important part of life in the region.

Fatma and Fatih’s nine-year-old daughter, Yagmur, could be the next generation of beekeepers in Bozkır. “Our daughter also loves bees,” says Fatma. “She wants to learn about our work.”

Because where there is a bee, there is life.

Explore all our work in Türkiye.