Located just on the edge of the Syria-Turkey border, Hatay’s Reyhanlı district is a small residential area surrounded by green hills with extensive forests filled with various kinds of wildflowers. So, it is a promising landscape for migrant and host communities working in agriculture.
Abdulkadir Almahzul, who holds a degree in Agricultural Engineering, had been living in Raqqa and working as a civil servant. In 2016, when the situation in Syria deteriorated, he fled to Turkey with his family and started working at a factory in Istanbul. When his twin daughters were born, he decided to put his education to work, so he moved his family to Hatay and enrolled in the municipality’s beekeeping classes.
He says that he raised bees back in Syria as a hobby just to share with his family and neighbors, and he never considered it as a business option before. However, during the classes, he met many experienced beekeepers, both Turkish and Syrian who encouraged him to establish his own business. While he was thinking about starting his business, he came across IOM Turkey’s social media post about the cash grant project which supports small and micro-enterprises. He applied for the program, finished the training, and prepared his business plan. IOM Turkey Livelihoods team in Hatay considered his application and awarded him a grant for the beekeeping equipment he needed.
Thanks to his friends’ encouragement and the equipment provided by IOM Turkey, he registered with the Beekeepers’ Chamber and received his tools to start producing honey. As a short-term goal, he is aiming to reach local markets in Hatay, and in the long run, he aims to get into international trade with a diverse set of products such as honey and pollen-based products. In this way, he believes he can contribute to international trade and introduce his brand to customers all around the world.
Abdulkadir adds that “Beekeeping requires a strong network among the producers. All beekeepers migrate seasonally together to enrich the taste of their products with different flower aromas in different locations. The production process is one hundred percent nature-dependent, and the natural world is full of unknowns, however, the unity and collaboration between beekeepers give me confidence that my friends and I can develop a lifelong business.”