Anand, 10 February 2017: The National Dairy Development Board (NDDB) and National Bee Board (NBB) organised a national seminar on the scientific benefits of bee-keeping on 10 February 2017 at Dr Kurien auditorium, NDDB, Anand. While delivering the welcome address, Shri Dilip Rath, Chairman, NDDB said that engaging milk producers in multiple streams of income through different non-farm activities aimed at their livelihood diversification is important for building their economic resilience and well-being.
Bee-keeping acts as a catalyst in increasing yield of major agricultural and horticultural crops through proper pollination. Government of India intends to promote beekeeping in the country as a part of their initiative of doubling the farmer’s income. He stressed on the need for convergence of dairying with bee-keeping.
Shri Rath said that the dairy cooperative network is equipped with infrastructure for training, field monitoring and management systems. The strength of this network can be leveraged for planning suitable interventions in bee-keeping for boosting honey production in the country and providing additional income to small scale dairy farmers.
Chairman NDDB observed that an enterprise to be successful and provide sustainable livelihoods for small-scale farmers requires strategies for marketing and appropriate business management. Dairy Federations with their experience of marketing milk products can provide market linkage for bee-keepers to sell their products.
Shri Sangram Chaudhary, Executive Director, NDDB said that about 15 countries together contribute 90% of global honey production. The global demand for honey increased sharply at an average of about 19 thousand tonnes per year since 2010, primarily led by USA. Speaking on the Indian scenario, he said that as per 2016-17 estimates, about 30 lakh bee colonies will produce 94.5 thousand MT of honey.
Dr BL Saraswat, Executive Director, National Bee Board (NBB) highlighted the importance of development of beekeeping in India by popularizing state-of-the-art technologies. Given the extensive coverage that the dairy cooperatives enjoy in rural India, he suggested to converge the activities of beekeeping and dairying.
Shri RS Sodhi, Managing Director, GCMMF appreciated NDDB’s initiative in organising the seminar. Dr Mahesh Bhatol of Banaskantha Milk Union shared his experiences on scientific bee-keeping activities. Shri Jaidev Singh MD, Ambrosia Pvt. Ltd informed about production and processing of honey. Officials of Mother Dairy Fruit & Vegetable Pvt Ltd briefed about processing & test marketing of honey. Director (CALF), NDDB spoke on quality testing of honey. Shri Sangram Chaudhary facilitated a brainstorming session on possible organisation structure for bee-keeping within the cooperative framework.
Bee-keeping requires little start–up investments, does not require complex technologies and bees usually look after themselves, with little need for tendering. A plethora of bee products (honey, wax, pollen, royal jelly, propolis, venom, etc.), with minimal processing can be transformed into value added products. Moreover bee products improve farm family nutrition and provide traditional remedies. Honey bees are vital in sustaining plant bio-diversity.