Agri Business

Apiculture: KVIC plans to create 50,000 jobs for farmers, tribals

Virendra Pandit Ahmedabad | Updated on January 08, 2018 Published on October 16, 2017

India is currently placed at the15th spot in the world in honey collection

The Khadi and Village Industries Commission (KVIC) plans to create 50,000 new jobs for farmers, tribals and others and supplement their incomes by promoting honey beekeeping across India in the next one year.

After distributing 500 bee-boxes among 100 tribal families in a village in Arawali district of Gujarat, KVIC Chairman Vinai Kumar Saxena said professional beekeeping by trained beneficiaries is expected to supplement their family’s annual income by up to ₹50,000. The beneficiaries mainly include low-income groups of farmers and those from the Scheduled Tribes and Scheduled Castes.

Five-day-training

These boxes were given mostly to the tribal women on completion of their five-day-training in apiculture in the sleepy hamlet of Kumhera, which has an abundant flora and fauna. It would create a “positive” impact through pollination on the yield of crops like cotton and maize – grown by the tribals there. He also distributed protection gear, including caps, hand-gloves and nets. Besides, beekeeping also helps in social forestry goals, environmental protection and local flora and fauna, he told BusinessLine. This year, KVIC plans to distribute 75,000 new bee-boxes to the beneficiaries—5 to 10 per family, preferably women, across India, mainly in the North-Eastern states where pollen nectar is of superior quality, Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Jammu and Kashmir, the Narmada Valley in Madhya Pradesh, Bharatpur district in Rajasthan, and the southern states. “Each bee-box generates 30 kg of honey per annum, besides other by-products. KVIC provides the beneficiaries access to infrastructure, training, collection, processing and marketing network through its 12,000 outlets across India.”

KVIC realised the potential of honey collection when, in 2016-17, India exported 45,138 tons of honey. India is currently placed at the 15th spot in the world in this sector. “China collects honey from over one crore bee boxes while we have so far only 12 lakh bee boxes. Now, we are targeting distribution of 1.25 lakh boxes next year and aim to reach an overall target of one crore boxes over the next few years.

Special funds

In order to promote beekeeping, the Union Ministry of MSMEs sanctioned a special fund of ₹49 crore this year. In the last one year, KVIC has set up apiaries with around 1,000 bee boxes at different institutions across India, including 155 bee boxes at Rashtrapati Bhavan in New Delhi. The Commission plans to set up over 10,000 bee boxes in the North-Eastern states and another 75,000 across other states.

By-products

While raw honey collected in Jammu and Kashmir, due to its saffron flavour, is the most expensive with a price tag of ₹300-350 per kg, other areas’ raw honey comes at ₹100-150 per kg. After processing and packaging, their prices generally double or treble. But it is not just honey that bee-boxes generate. Its by-product wax is of high quality, and comes at around ₹500 per kg. Pollen, used in anti-ageing treatment, is sold at ₹1,200 per kg and royal jelly at ₹20,000-25,000 per kg. But it is the bee venom, used in medicines, which is exported at a whopping price of ₹1.25 crore per kg, Saxena said.

He said beekeeping is virtually a self-expanding activity. The Queen Bee produces 2,000 eggs per day and the beneficiary can quadruple the number of bee-boxes in a year, thus enhancing his/her income correspondingly.

KVIC’s Central Bee Research Institute, Pune, is the hub of its training, research and related activities, he added.

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Published on October 16, 2017
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