The Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare, Government of India, celebrated World Bee Day on 20 May 2023 at Raja Bhoj Agriculture College, Waraseoni Balaghat, Madhya Pradesh.
The World Bee Day celebration was graced by the Union Minister of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare, Narendra Singh Tomar, in the august presence of the Agriculture Minister, Govt. of Madhya Pradesh, chairman, OBC Welfare Commission, Govt. of Madhya Pradesh, chairman, NDDB and other dignitaries.
In his deliberation, Tomar mentioned that under the “10,000 FPO Scheme” of the Government of India, to strengthen the beekeepers in the country by developing the institutional framework for collaborative development, 100 beekeepers/honey producers FPOs have been allocated under NBHM for which TRIFED, NAFED, and NDDB have been selected. 80 FPOs of beekeepers/honey producers have been registered in this sequence. According to him, there is huge potential for honey production in this area which must be utilized to increase farmers’ income.
During the World Bee Day celebration, an exhibition with over 100 stalls were set up by beekeepers, processors and different stakeholders of the beekeeping sector to showcase the diverse varieties of honey bee and different products in the beekeeping sector. Over 1000 farmers, beekeepers, processors, entrepreneurs, and all stakeholders associated with honey production attended the program.
A workshop with three technical sessions was organized on different themes:
Need for Research & Development to promote scientific beekeeping for income generation
Driving growth through effective marketing strategies for domestic & export market
Production technology and Research & Development of scientific beekeeping-experience sharing and challenges
Productive partnership in honey-industries insights
Marketing challenges and solutions (Domestic/ Global).
The program aims to promote and popularize beekeeping nationwide National Beekeeping & Honey Mission (NBHM) of the Govt. of India under Atma-Nirbhar Bharat. The NBHM is implemented through the National Bee Board for the overall promotion of scientific beekeeping & entrepreneurship among small & marginal farmers, infrastructure development for postharvest management and support for research & development, and to achieve the goal of “Sweet Revolution”.
Significant achievements in honey production through short video films were played on this occasion. The participants from the different categories were felicitated for their essential contribution to this sector. Different honey products Start-ups/FPO releases of publication on beekeeping were launched.
On this occasion, the Honey Testing Labs were virtually inaugurated by Hon’ble Agriculture Minister viz., Regional Testing lab- IIHR, Bengaluru, Karnataka, Regional Testing lab, IARI, Pusa New Delhi, Mini Honey Testing Lab SKUAST Kashmir at KVK, Kupwara, J&K, Mini Honey Testing Lab, KVK, Damoh, Madhya Pradesh, Mini Honey Testing Lab, Banaskantha District Co-op. Milk Prod. Uni. Ltd. Palanpur, Gujarat, Mini Honey Testing Lab, College of Agriculture, Pashighat, Arunachal Pradesh; Mini Honey Testing Lab, NIFTEM, Sonipat, Haryana; Bee Disease Diagnostic Center, FCRI, Hyderabad, Telangana. He also inaugurated Bee Box Manufacturing Units- Honey & Other Beehive Products Collection centers, Trading, Branding, and Marketing units at Uttarakhand, Chhattisgarh & Uttar Pradesh.
Diversified agro-climatic conditions of India provide great potential for beekeeping/ honey production. India is producing about 1,33,200 Metric Tonnes (MTs) of Honey as per 2021-22- 3rd Advanced Estimate. India has exported 74413 MT of Natural Honey to the world worth Rs. 1221 crore (US $ 164.835 million) during 2020-21. Scientific technology is being adopted to increase honey production and testing by maintaining quality standards for national and international markets and promoting the production of other beehive products, viz., bee pollen, bees wax, royal jelly, propolis & bee venom. This has facilitated the beekeepers to increase their income and demand for honey and beehive products in the domestic and international markets.
Bees are renowned for their role in providing high-quality food and other products used in healthcare and other sectors, but the work of bees entails much more. The greatest contribution of bees and other pollinators is the pollination of nearly three-quarters of the plants that produce 90% of the world’s food. Effective pollination increases the yield of agricultural produce and improves its quality. Beekeeping in India is thus an important agri-business activity that not only promises good returns to the farmers but also helps increase agricultural productivity leading to food and nutritional security in the country.