The Union Minister of Agriculture & Farmers’ Welfare, Shri Narendra Singh Tomar has said the Government is promoting Beekeeping as part of its aim to double farmers’ income. Addressing a webinar organised by the National Cooperative Development Corporation (NCDC), Shri Tomar said the Government has allocated Rs.500 crore towards Beekeeping under the Atma Nirbhar Abhiyan. He said India is among the world’s top five honey producers. Compared to 2005-06 honey production has risen by 242% and exports shot by 265%.
Shri Tomar said, as evident by the rising honey exports, beekeeping will be an important factor in achieving the goal of doubling farmers’ income by 2024. He said the National Bee Board has created four modules to impart training as part of the National Beekeeping and Honey Mission (NBHM) and 30 lakh farmers have been trained in beekeeping. They are also being financially supported by the Government.
The Minister said the Government is implementing the recommendations of the Committee to promote beekeeping. He said under guidance of the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi the Government has launched ‘Honey Mission’ as part of ‘Sweet Revolution’ which has four components. Even small and marginal farmers can adopt beekeeping since investment is low and returns high, he added.
Speaking in the webinar, Dr. Dhansingh Rawat, Cooperation Minister of Uttarakhand highlighted the resolve of the State Government to mainstream organic honey production. He mentioned the need to bring about modifications in the Honey Mission. Managing Director, NCDC, Shri Sundeep Kumar Nayak highlighted the role of NCDC over the years in promotion of women groups and development of apiculture cooperatives.
Prof. Nazeer Ahmad, Vice Chancellor, Sher-e- Kashmir University of Agriculture Science and Technology, Kashmir talked about the unique characteristics of Kashmir honey which is at par with the best in the world such as Manuka of New Zealand. Mr. Tomio Schichiri, Representative, UNFAO talked about the importance of quality assurance in exports of honey. Dr. M V Rao, Additional Chief Secretary, West Bengal talked about the massive steps of their Government to promote production, branding and marketing of organic honey and wild honey by women groups. Dr. BNS Murthy, Horticulture Commissioner of India highlighted the innovations in new Mission.
Issues before beekeepers such as promotion of scientific beekeeping, quality assurance, minimum support price, transport of bee colonies, processing, packaging, branding, testing, organic certification of honey and different beehive products were discussed. Successful beekeepers and entrepreneurs from Kashmir, West Bengal, Uttarakhand, Bihar, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Uttar Pradesh, Jharkhand and Madhya Pradesh shared their experiences and suggested ways forward to bring about the Sweet Revolution.
The webinar was conducted yesterday by the NCDC on the theme "Sweet Revolution and Atma Nirbhar Bharat" in partnership with the National Bee Board, the Government of West Bengal, the Government of Uttarakhand and the Sher-e- Kashmir University of Agriculture Sciences and Technology, Kashmir. The objective was to popularize scientific beekeeping as source of livelihood for landless rural poor, small and marginal famers to supplement agricultural income, as also as tool to enhance agriculture and horticulture production. It attracted participation of beekeepers, honey processors, marketing and branding professionals, research scholars, academicians, cooperators from major honey producing states, representatives of State and Union Governments, international organizations such as FAO and NEDAC, Bangkok.