Philip’s Natural Honey in Kumily, Idukki, could be described as a venture that collects and sells every drop of honey hidden in the wildflowers of the high ranges of Kerala. Philip Mathew of Vattamthotti house in Kumily collects half a lakh litres of honey every year and sells it to the locals. Philip’s business empire has about 6,000 bee colonies, each housing hundreds of thousands of worker bees that collect honey. The honey is gathered from the flowers of small and large plants on farms, estates, gardens, and bushland by bees in bee boxes located in various parts of the high ranges.
He attributes his success to the hardworking bees and the wildflowers in the high ranges, earning him the local nickname of 'Theneecha Philip' (theneecha is the honey bee in Malayalam). Philip migrated to Kumily 30 years ago from Pampady in Kottayam district. He claims that his honey is relatively more medicinal due to the presence of wildflowers in the area from which the honey is collected.
Now, Philip’s venture is expanding from selling honey to the concept of honey tourism. The bee farm in his homestead is a significant attraction for tourists travelling to Kumily, on the way to Thekkady and other places in the area. Visitors can not only buy honey but also witness and understand the various stages of honey production. Phillip’s Natural Honey offers facilities for foreign travellers to have their purchased honey couriered to their destination. Philip claims that he has already sent honey to almost every country in the world. In his effort to tap into the tourism potential in the honey production sector, Philip is joined by his son Tom, a B.Tech graduate, and daughter-in-law Maria, a postgraduate in social work. Farm visits are free for tourists. Maria explains the different stages of beekeeping in Arabic, Hindi, and English to the visitors.
Philip has placed bee boxes in about 30 farms, with 600 boxes of large bees and more than 100 dammer bee colonies in his homestead. Philippachan, as he is fondly called by locals, says that on average, 20 kg of honey can be obtained from a box of large bees and 500 grams from a dammer bee colony. Philip also provides training in beekeeping. Bee colonies, bee boxes, and honey extraction equipment are supplied at the doorsteps of those who are interested. Those looking to set up bee boxes in their farms may contact Philip. He is also ready to buy honey from beekeepers. For details, call: 9961462885.