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Abandoned by his family as a child, this Kerala man now earns Rs 25 lakh farming honey

R Vishwan. Photo: Special Arrangement

R Vishwan of Nilambur in Kerala faced abject poverty and never had the opportunity to go to school after he was abandoned by his parents at a tender age because some astrologer said his birth would bring bad luck to the family.

But Vishwan defied all the odds, and now at the age of 59, he is a successful entrepreneur earning an annual income of over Rs 25 lakh from his honey farm, which produces nearly 90 to 110 tonnes of honey every year and sells it to buyers that include pharmaceutical and food processing companies.

His life is a tale of resilience and determination that will capture the imagination of anyone. Vishwan left his home at Neyyantinkkara in Thiruvananthapuram after he was abandoned by his parents at a tender age. Roaming several parts of Kerala for days, he finally reached Nilambur in Malappuram at the age of seven, where he worked as a cattle rearer for a person. His childhood days were marked by hardship and abject poverty as he had to spend days inside the forest looking after cattle and had to eat whatever edible he could grab inside the forest.

Vishwan at his honey farm in Nilambur

It was during this time that he stumbled upon the world of honey bees. He embarked on a journey of self-education, devouring every piece of information he could find about beekeeping. Through trial and error, he honed his skills, learning the art of beekeeping from the ground up.

At the tender age of 13, he saw an opportunity to turn his newfound passion into a means of sustenance. He started to farm honey by setting up 11 beehive boxes. “I could make 32 kg of honey from the 11 boxes and could sell it in the market for Rs seven per kg. I realised the potential of fresh honey’s demand in the market, and I decided to expand my honey-making venture,” Vishwan told “Open Digest“.

By 2020, Vishwan could establish 6200 beehive boxes that produced tonnes of honey round the year. Despite facing numerous challenges along the way, including the loss of entire hives to disease and natural disasters, Vishwan refused to be deterred. “I have undergone and faced the toughest of situations in my life, struggling to find a plate of food to overcome my hunger. Nobody offered me anything on a platter, and I have fought hard to become what I am now,” said Vishwan, who lives with his wife, who is a school teacher, and two daughters.

In addition to running his farm, Vishwan also shares his knowledge and expertise with others who are keen to take up beehive farming. As he reflects on his journey, Vishwan says, “I may not have had the privilege of a formal education, but I’ve learned more from nature than any textbook could ever teach me,” he says with a smile.

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