To boost production of local honey variants within a specific geographical region in the country, the Khadi and Village Industries Commission (KVIC) is planning to set up regional honeybee breeding centres. A decision in this regard was taken during the annual beekeepers meet, hosted in Pune earlier this year.
Currently, the honey collection takes place at select centres, identified by KVIC and National Bee Board (NBB), along with the state-level breeding centres in select states. “The idea of opening regional centres is to help breed honeybees locally and thereby ensure honey production in a region sustains,” Lakshmi Rao, assistant director of Central Bee Research and Training Institute (CBRTI) in Pune, said.
Regional centres are likely to come up in Kashmir, Arunachal Pradesh, Sikkim, Dahanu and Kanyakumari. Names of some more centres have been proposed, but are yet to be finalised, officials said. Currently, along with CBRTI and Directorate of Beekeeping, beekeepers are offered training and extension programmes of KVIC across 15 State Beekeeping Extension Centres.
Here, the main responsibility is to train beginner-level beekeepers and scale up skills of seasoned beekeepers. Besides, farmers are also encouraged to take up honeybee breeding, queen rearing, encouraged in migration of bee colonies, given lessons on bee diseases and ways to tackle them, dissemination of technologies for pollen among others.
China holds the top position in global markets with 15 per cent honey export’s share, while India ranks seventh and holds export share of about 4.56 per cent.