Launched 18 months ago nationwide, the Honey Mission has significantly boosted the country’s honey production that stands at 123.9 metric tonne (MT) of honey worth Rs 1.91 crore. The programme was implemented to strengthen the financial status of small and medium farmers and rural unemployed youth.
Presently in its second phase of implementation, the programme, spearheaded by Khadi Village Commission of India (KVIC), has provided direct employment to 8,208 individuals. This, according to the latest KVIC data as of February 2019, was work equivalent to 9 lakh man days at a national level.
While China dominates the global markets and holds about 15 per cent of the export share, India ranks seventh and holds an export share of 4.56 per cent. Other leading countries include Argentina, Germany, Mexico, Spain, New
Zealand, Brazil, Hungary and Canada.
The highest rate of employability, through this programme, was achieved in the northeast and central India zones, spanning Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Chattisgarh, Assam, Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, Tripura and Sikkim. In these two zones, a target of distributing 1.45 lakh bee boxes was set, of
which 81,575 have been set up so far.
“Neither did we have end-to-end infrastructure for beekeeping in India nor did we have a common platform for beekeepers, cultivators, agribusiness companies, conservation groups and manufacturers. But, with this mission, there has been a slow but a much-needed start for industry-like operations to commence in this field,” said a KVIC official.
While there were only 230 beekeepers who maintained 800 bee colonies six decades ago, these numbers have now multiplied. As of now, there are 2.5 lakh beekeepers and 25 lakh bee colonies with a harvest of 70,000 MT of honey worth Rs 770 crore, annually.
Besides honey, other byproducts that are growing economically include wax (Rs 46 lakh), pollen (Rs 54 lakh), royal jelly (Rs 3.6 crore) and bee venom (Rs 8 lakh) from about 1.45 lakh bee colonies.