Experts Stress on Importance of Creating Sustainable Employment in Quality Honey Production at the Grassroot Level

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New Delhi: Highlighting the importance of beekeeping as part of the Integrated Farming System in the country, India Honey Alliance (IHA), in collaboration with the National Bee Board recently hosted an informative and interactive webinar – ‘Hive to Home 4.0 – The Busy Bee’. Distinguished experts from across the honey value chain emphasised various aspects of holistic development of the beekeeping sector and creating a more enabling environment for the bees and beekeepers.

In his keynote address, Dr Naveen Patle, ED – National Bee Board said that the country has achieved a 21 per cent growth in export this year compared to the last year and has seen tremendous growth in the production capacity. He mentioned that while the country is slowly treading its way to the sustainable development of the beekeeping sector, there is a long way to go in creating awareness about bees’ role. It is essential to co-exist with bees to create a sustainable income potential for the beekeepers and farmers. He further highlighted the need for an adequate mentorship programme for small entrepreneurs and startups. Developing quality bees and making them available to beekeepers is the need of the hour. Dr Patle also stressed the fact that while the country has more than 48 lakh bee colonies, only 19 lakh colonies are registered in the Madhu Kranti Portal. He urged that beekeepers should register themselves for better traceability and holistic growth of the beekeeping ecosystem. He also informed that NBB has recently set up eight mini labs in Gujarat and the organisation is in the process of creating many more such regional testing labs and mini testing labs across the country.

The webinar was organised to get insights on employment generation through beekeeping, the potential of products of bee-keeping, (other than honey) in the Indian market and further highlight the need for good bee-keeping practices. Experts agreed that it is a very fragmented and unorganised sector and that the Government and the entire Honey ecosystem should collaborate to take strong measures to flourish the beekeeping sector, increase the export and production of honey, and create sustainable income and employment for the beekeepers.

The speaker panel included Dr Naveen Patle, ED – National Bee Board, Dr Laxmi Rao – CBRTI, Pune, Dr Balraj Singh, Project Coordinator, PC Cell, Division of Entomology, ICAR-IARI, Apoorva BV, Director, Honey Day Farms, and Sujana Krishnamoorthy, ED – Under The Mango Tree Society. The session was moderated by Somit Mukherjee, Sr. VP, Supply Chain-Daburand the opening remarks were given by Namrata Khanna, Director, India Honey Alliance.

While Dr Balraj Singh, Project Coordinator, PC Cell, Division of Entomology. ICAR-IARI highlighted the significance of bees for maintaining the biodiversity of the environment, Sujana Krishnamoorthy, ED – Under The Mango Tree Society, asserted the importance of beekeeping in increasing agricultural productivity, and enhancing incomes and improving the livelihoods of marginal farmers in India. She also indicated how beekeeping could go on to become a viable profession for not just men but women as well across India. Apoorva BV, Director, Honey Day Farms, shed light on the various benefits of urban and humane beekeeping, ways and means for bee conservation and methods to get more honey and other products.

Reaffirming Dr Patle’s sentiment, Dr Laxmi Rao – CBRTI, Pune, asserted the advantages of scientific beekeeping and the apiary management methods. She also spoke about Honey flow and the importance of effective bee colonies management. She further pointed out how various bee products such as Bee Pollen, Royal Jelly, Bee Propolis and Bee Venom are beneficial for overall health improvement, nutrition, improvement of life quality, prevention and treatment of diseases and other cosmetic uses.