The Centre is planning a decade-long programme introducing newer policies and frameworks aimed to boost overall beekeeping in the country.
A dedicated Beekeeping Development committee, under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, has been constituted in this regard. Last year, a dedicated Honey Mission programme was launched at the hands of the PM.
Recently, this committee visited city-based Central Bee Research and Training Institute (CBRTI), which is one of the main training institutes in the country, imparting training to bee keepers. This committee, comprising top economic advisors and experts from the field, are presently visiting core states identified to be possessing high potential for carrying out beekeeping activities. These include Punjab, West Bengal, Bihar, Kerala, Karnataka, Uttar Pradesh and Tamil Nadu.
“The committee was keen to know about the economic potentials of beekeeping and sought long-term ideas, which could be incorporated into the decade-long programme,” Deep Varma, director, CBRTI, told The Indian Express.
Some of the existing problems were tabled during the meeting of consulting experts from CBRTI, National Bee Board (NBB) and Khadi and Village Commission of India (KVIC). The meeting was chaired by the committee.
“While KVIC, CBRTI, NBB and state-level bee centre all collect honey from various sources, there is no centralised agency maintaining the records of the total amount of honey manufactured in the country annually. There is a dire need for a centralised data bank,” the director said.
Another problem that was tabled was the trouble faced during transportation of honeybee boxes within the country. Despite the transporters, identified to ferry honeybee boxes, possessing identity cards, they are stopped at inter-state check posts.
“The trucks ferrying bee boxes are often stopped for checking, which at times runs into multiple days. Due to this, there is severe loss of bees,” said another official from the department.
The committee has also entrusted tasks to each of these institutes, which will work accordingly towards this programme. While scientists at Indian Council for Agricultural Research (ICAR) will work on studying honeybee species and also devise strategies on disease control, NBB will work on developing marketing plans to increase the sale of honey. CBIRT will focus on research and training of bee-keepers.