The scope of agriculture is very vast. Our farmers not only grow food grains in the field but they are contributing very much in the development of the country by doing other work associated with farming and getting employment. Beekeeping is one of them. It is a very attractive rural agriculture/horticulture based activities. It neither requires technology nor capital investment or comprehensive infrastructure. Our farmers, agricultural workers can increase their income alone and by forming groups also. Union Agriculture and Farmers Welfare Minister, Shri Radha Mohan Singh said this on the occasion of inauguration of two days seminar of ‘Integrated Beekeeping Development’ in Piprakothi, Motihari in Bihar today on awareness, promotion and technology transfer in beekeeping.
The seminar was organised by National Bee Keeping Board (NBB), Department of Agriculture Cooperation and Farmers Welfare, Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare, Government of India. Union Minister has said that we have learnt bee keeping from our tradition. It is a traditional industry of forest areas and many tribal and other persons know the original art of honey collection. We have to help them by scientific management. We have to link it with employment. He said that bee keeping has so many benefits: (a) To provide self employment to rural and forest based population (b) Production of honey, pollen, wax, venom and royal jelly; (c) To provide employment to rural educated youths in collection, processing and marketing of bee products; (d) To increase the yield by cross pollination of several agriculture and horticulture crops and to improve their quality. The Government is trying its best for this.
Shri Radha Mohan Singh said that we not only get honey from honey bees but there are so many species of honey bees in India which are very helpful in giving pollination support for increasing yield of agriculture and horticulture corps. In many developed countries honey bees are used for pollination in agriculture and horticulture crops in a very large number for increasing per acre productivity for the last three four decades. The agriculture scientists of America and Europe have estimated that the yield of crops has increased manifold due to bee pollination. In many of the crops, yield has increased manifold by cross pollination of honey bees e.g. 159.8% in Mustard, 20 to 3400% in Sunflower, 24-33150% in Burseme, 180 to 6950% in Apple, 10,000% in Lichi, 471 to more than 900% in Orange, 70 to more than 140% in Guava, upto 30% in Pulses like Arhar etc. According to National Bee Board, 12 main crops are unfertile themselves and they require bee pollination and for this atleast 2000 lakh bee colonies are required. Recently about 25 lakh bee colonies are reared by more than 2.00 lakh beekeepers and the estimated annual production of honey is about 90,000 metric tonne.
Thus we see that bee keeping has double benefits. On the one hand our agriculture yield is increasing and we are getting bee products on the other hand. Besides honey, we get wax, venom, royal jelly, propolis etc. from bee keeping which are used in medicine and cosmetics. These products are in great demand in national and international markets.
National Bee Board (NBB) is putting on constant efforts for the development of bee keeping in the country. It makes the people aware and has done many work for the increase of the capacity of the bee keepers. The main aim of the NBB are nucleus stock production, capacity building and training of bee producers and bee keepers, to make holistic development of scientific bee keeping in India by popularising state of art technologies relating to processing and quality control of bee products.
The Minister said that if we talk of Bihar, it has huge capacity of bee keeping in Bihar. Keeping this capacity in view National Bee Board, Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare, Government of India while taking decision have given a project of about Rs. 2 crores for establishment of Integrated Bee Keeping Development Centre (IBDC) in Krishi Vigyan Kendra, Piprakothi, Motihari with the cooperation of Rajendra Agriculture University, Samastipur for promotion of scientific bee keeping in the state. Everything will be provided for scientific bee keeping in the centre situated in Piprakothi i.e. production, storage, processing, marketing unit of manufacturing equipments, increase in the number of mother bees, identification of the diseases of honey bees and clinical laboratories. For collection of honey and other products and for maintaining the quality, centres will be opened. This centre will promote bee keeping from scientific methods in Bihar and this centre will prove itself helpful in giving much incentives and benefits to bee keepers and farmers.