BLOG SURF: Simple business

A couple running a small bee farm next to a rapid stream of snow-melted water does not often trigger the idea of off-grid rural electrification.

Off-grid usually brings up the picture of a small house in a far-flung area where kerosene is used for light. I used to get the same image too. Last month’s experience broke that mindset.

As we were driving back from our field trip to the Toktogul hydropower plant in the Kyrgyz Republic, we stopped to buy some honey.

We came across a small roadside home-based business run by a couple along the ADB-financed Bishkek-Osh road. The couple’s business model is simple: wait for the bees to produce honey in one of their 15 beehives, extract the honey manually, display it on the side of the road, and sell it for cash.

Simple business, simple life. And simply amazing surroundings. The couple’s access to energy, however, is not that straightforward.

They don’t have access to abundant electricity, like we do.