“I love everything about bees,” says Huthaifa, smiling through the net of his bee suit, “the life of a bee is full of work. From sunrise to sunset. All day long. They're always in the field, moving from one flower to another.”  

From amateur beekeeper to thriving businessman, Hutiaifa’s business journey over the past five years hasn’t been easy. The COVID-19 pandemic, changing environments and harmful pesticides are all setbacks he’s had to face all whilst providing for his growing family. Despite challenges, he’s motivated to continue expanding his business in Jordan and beyond while encouraging more people to take an interest in beekeeping. 

The journey to success

Huthaifa’s passion for beekeeping began in 2018 when he decided to keep three boxes on the roof of his house. “Over time, it grew from a hobby to a job, and I aspired to turn it into a business.” 

With a business grant from the IRC and Citi Foundation's Resilient Futures program, Huthaifa’s aspirations to turn his passion into a business started to become reality. “As the years passed, in five years, the number of boxes grew to 80, then to 130-140,” he says. “Now every year in the spring, we develop and increase the number of beehives. In the last year and a half, about 70% to 80% of my income came from beekeeping. I spend that money on my wife, children, and the house.” 

Huthaifa, 32, points a pollen on a hive frame.
“You worry about the bees when you don't see them for a while. So when you see and check on them, you feel a sense of relief,” says Huthaifa.
Photo: Dalia Khamissy for the IRC

Since 2019, Huthaifa’s business has been supported by the IRC and Citi Foundation's Resilient Futures program through grants but also access to markets to sell his products. “Every time there is a meeting with the International Rescue Committee, it gives me more motivation to move forward. It doesn't make you want to stop.”

Huthaifa, 32, second right, sits with his three children, Bilal, 8, right, Misk, 3, centre, and Omar, 4, on the couch at his apartment.
Huthaifa named his business after his youngest daughter. “When I decided to become an independent beekeeper and turn it into a profitable project and source of income, Misk was about to be born, so I named it after her: Misk Beehives.”
Photo: Dalia Khamissy for the IRC

Last year, the Resilient Futures program helped Huthaifa create a website to sell his honey products online. “I also created a page on Instagram, TikTok and Facebook,” says Huthaifa. “I promote my products on them and try to reach people outside Jordan.”

Visit Huthaifa's Instagram here.

“We used to produce for our neighbors and friends. Now we are producing and exporting abroad. Some people sell the product in the Saudi market,” Huthaifa tells us. “Our goal is to increase our production and expand more.”

Meeting HRH King Charles III

In 2021, our patron, the then HRH The Prince of Wales (Now King Charles of England), visited the IRC’s programs in Jordan. Huthaifa was invited to bring his products. “When he saw that we had honey, he was surprised because most of the country is desert, there are no green landscapes,” says Huthaifa of his meeting with the King. “I gave him honey as a gift. He said to me,  “I'm also a beekeeper.” I have bees in the royal palaces and I would like to send you some.” I said to him, “Of course."

“Two weeks later, he sent me honey as a gift!” Huthaifa told us. “I sent him a letter, thanking him for the delicious honey. I still have that honey to this day.”

Huthaifa (left) when King Charles III, then HRH The Prince of Wales, visited the IRC in Jordan in 2022.
Huthaifa (left) when King Charles III, then HRH The Prince of Wales, visited the IRC in Jordan in 2022.
Photo: Ahmad Al-Jarery

‘I want everyone to become beekeepers’

As the sun shines down over the farms of the Jordan Valley, Huthaifa and mentee and friend Ahmed attend to the dozens of boxes of bees. The pair work in unison, dressed in white beekeeper suits, gently checking on the hives, box by box.  

Huthaifa, 32, right, and Ahmad, 28, inspect a hive frame of one of the beehives.
Having also taken part in the IRC and Citi Foundations Resilient Futures business course, the IRC team put Ahmad in touch with Huthaifa. “I was introduced to Ahmad, and we started doing business. I give him advice, and whenever he needs anything bee-related, he always contacts me.”
Photo: Dalia Khamissy for the IRC

“I met him [Ahmed] through the IRC,” Huthaifa explains. “The team introduced me to him. They told me that ‘we have a beekeeper who wants to start a beekeeping business. So, please help him out, take care of him to help him improve and start a business.” A year and a half later the pair are working closely together. “I consider Ahmad a friend and a brother. After I got to know him, I loved that he is passionate about beekeeping. I wanted to help him more.” 

Huthaifa, 32, left, and Ahmad, 28, pose with a small hive frame at their store.
“Huthaifa is a very generous person,” says Ahmad. “He considers me his little brother. That's how he treated me ever since we met.” Huthaifa takes care of Ahmad’s bees when he’s not available, “he's a life saver. Had he not done that, I would've lost my project. It means a lot to me.”
Photo: Dalia Khamissy for the IRC

Ahmad isn’t the only person Huthaifa has become a mentor for. He is often helping people, especially other beekeepers. “I have a page on Facebook. It currently has about 14,000 beekeepers from all over the world. We share experiences with each other.”

“I want everyone to become beekeepers,” says Huthaifa, “because if bees cease to exist, life on Earth will be no more.”

Environmental challenges

Since learning about bees, Huthaifa’s deep passion for nature and the environment has grown. “If we do not preserve the environment, we destroy the entire planet. The problems that happen around the world, earthquakes, hurricanes, destruction are all because of mankind's failure to preserve the environment and nature,” Huthaifa says. Changing environments, harmful pesticides and the coronavirus pandemic are all challenges Huthaifa has had to face. 

Support from the IRC and Citi Foundation's Resilient Futures program

But with support, he persevered. Huthaifa explains that the opportunities he received through the Resilient Futures program helped him to market himself and continue to build his business. “In 2019, they [the IRC] came and filmed a video with us,” he says. “I used the video to promote my beehives. After that, everybody knew that Huthaifa has beehives, he has a video, a website and everything.”  

 Huthaifa, 32, pours some of his honey on sweets that his wife had made at his aparment.
“We used to produce just honey,” Huthaifa explains how he’s expanded into other honey products. “We currently produce royal jelly, pollen, propolis, bees, and we sell them in the spring. ”
Photo: Dalia Khamissy for the IRC

“I use the photo from when King Charles came to Jordan, too. It gave me the motivation to continue. And here we are in 2024. I am more motivated than ever. You feel that year after year, one improves and is more motivated than ever.”

Huthaifa has big dreams for his business. “I hope it keeps growing until it becomes a global brand. I want to think outside the box. The sky's the limit. I want the business to grow to the point we have full-time employees and a huge company.” 

Huthaifa’s son Bilal, 8, uses his finger to collect honey from the honeycomb at his father’s store.
Huthaifa’s oldest son Bilal has always been interested in his dad’s business. “When he was three years old, when I would return from the beehive, he would always ask what "bee things" I brought with me.” Huthaifa tells us. “Now, after almost four years, he helps me at work. He likes to go with me to the beehive because he loves nature and bees.”
Photo: Dalia Khamissy for the IRC