Promotion of Bee-Keeping Sector in Southern Region of India

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06 September 2021, New Delhi: A one-day workshop on “Promotion of Bee-Keeping Sector in Southern Region” was organized jointly by MANAGE and National Bee Board (NBB), New Delhi on 3rd September 2021 at MANAGE, Hyderabad. More than 350 stakeholders which included senior officers from the Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare, Govt. of India, National Beekeeping and Honey Mission (NBHM), National Bee Board (NBB), NCDC, Cooperatives, Banks, Directors / Commissioners of State Agriculture / Horticulture Departments, MANAGE Faculty, Agri Starups and National Training Institutes under ACABC Scheme participated in the workshop both through physical and online mode.

Director General, MANAGE Dr. P. Chandra Shekara in his welcome address highlighted the importance of honeybees and beekeeping in doubling the farmers’ income and ensuring sustainable agricultural practices. He felt there is a great need to provide Extension Services and build capacities of Farmers, Agripreneurs and Agri Startups on beekeeping, processing technologies and marketing to promote the sector.

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The Chief Guest Dr. Abhilaksh Likhi, IAS, Additional Secretary, Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare, Government of India stressed need to treat Beekeeping / Honeybee as an input in Agriculture to boost crop productivity through pollination and ensure sustainable agriculture in the country. Considering the importance of Beekeeping/ Honeybees, ICAR institutions, State Agricultural Universities and Departments of Agriculture, Horticulture in States and UTs need to work together in a Mission Mode. He desired that MANAGE may create a database of Agri Startup and Agripreneurs in Beekeeping / Honeybees sectorand undertake a study on potentials of Beeswax to know the forward and backward linkagesfor funding under Beekeeping and Honey Mission.

He highlighted MadhuKranti portal established by MoAFW to support small and marginal farmers and other stakeholder across the value chain. He stated that there is a need to promote FPO, Societies and Cooperatives to accelerate Beekeeping and Honey Mission in the country. Dr. Abhilaksh Likhi informed that 9000 MT honey is being produced from the Southern Region and to promote the activities further, 14 districts in the Southern Region have been identified to develop infrastructure to improve value chain activities in honeybee and beekeeping sector. He stressed the need for training and capacity building on scientific beekeeping, intensive technical training, improving skills and use of block chain technologies and QR code through State Agricultural Universities, MANAGE and Regional Cooperative Institutions in next year.

He released honey and beeswax-based products manufactured by Honey-based Agri Startups promoted by MANAGE under the RKVY- RAFTAAR Project of Govt. of India. The CEOs of these Agri Startups shared their experiences in organic comb honey, honey production during non-flowering period, natural preservation techniques, processing, packing, marketing, smart beehive monitoring system, use of block chain and QR based technology, IoT controlled bee box system for app-based management etc. They desired that awareness, training and opportunities need to be provided to promote Beekeeping / Honeybee in the country.

Dr. S.K. Malhotra, Agriculture & Horticulture Commissioner, GoI gave an overview of National Beekeeping and Honey Mission (NBHM) and urged agricultural research, agricultural universities, state governments, agripreneurs and farmers to make concerted efforts to implement the Beekeeping and Honey Mission in the country. He highlighted the pollination services in agriculture. He felt the role of partners and value-addition, processing technologies and training are very important in taking forward the mission in the country.

During his speech, it was informed that considering the importance of Beekeeping/ Honeybees in enhancing crop productivity through pollination support and also in compliance to the recommendation of high level Beekeeping Development Committee (BDC), it has been decided to treat Beekeeping/ Honeybees as an Input in Agriculture. This will boost agricultural production through pollination enhancement in crops in a sustainable manner in the country. The necessary directions have been issued to ICAR Research Institutes/ Central & State Agricultural Universities (CAUs/ SAUs)/ Departments of Agriculture/ Horticulture of State Governments & UTs and other concerned departments/ organizations dealing with crop production. 

Dr. N.K. Patle, Addl.Commissioner (Hort.) & Executive Director, National Bee Board (NBB) stated that Beekeeping and Honeybees will not only provide income to farmers but also enhance crop productivity through pollination in aneco-friendly manner. He informed that the National Bee Board is striving to implement the recommendations of the high-level Beekeeping Development Committee (BDC) and asked ICAR, State Agricultural Universities, Departments of Agriculture/ Horticulture of State Governments & UTs and other organizations to accelerate the Beekeeping and Honey Mission in the country.

During the technical sessions, Dr. Unnikrishnan, GM of NAFED shared the NAFED strategy for Apiculture. Dr. Saravanan Raj, Director (Agri. Extension), MANAGE explained the Agri-Startups in Honey Sector and discussed the opportunities and challenges in the sector. Mr. Jai Prakash of Indian Bank, New Delhi made a presentation on the traceability of source of honey and other beehive products.  L. Venkatram Reddy, Director of Horticulture & Sericulture, Govt. of Telangana presented horticulture, beekeeping and honey bee programs being implemented by the state government.

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