Ahmedabad, May 22 Banas District Cooperative Milk Producers’ Union (Banas Dairy) has inaugurated Gujarat’s first honey testing laboratory at Banas Dairy complex at Badarpura near Palanpur in North Gujarat.

Besides testing for its own products Banas Honey and Amul Honey, the new state-of-the-art lab would also be open for other cooperatives under Amul umbrella to conduct tests on quality and purity of the honey.

Speaking to businessline, Sangram Chaudhary, Managing Director, Banas Dairy said, “The Central government has funded us for the lab. Earlier, we used to send samples to Germany. And later there was one centralised lab set up at NDDB, Anand. But the cost used to be exorbitantly high. Now with inhouse testing facility, we will be able to do tests in much-reasonable cost. Also, the time taken for the tests will come down from 15-20 days earlier to about 6 days.”

“Currently we are not opening for private honey players,” he said.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi lauded the development. In a tweet on Sunday, the Prime Minister wrote, “When it comes to innovation, @banasdairy1969 has always been at the forefront. Good to see this important step towards strengthening India’s strides in the sweet revolution. The Honey Lab will be greatly beneficial for the sector.”

A presentation about the lab shared by Shankar Chaudhary, Chairman of Banas Dairy, stated that the dairy has been encouraging farmers and dairy producers to engage in honey-bee cultivation since 2016. The small efforts that began with just two demo beehives kept at Banas premises in October 2016, the dairy has achieved honey production of 1,60,533 kg between 2020 and 2023 with more than 5,000 farmers covered under it.

Banas dairy’s Banas Honey was launched in December 2016, while Amul Honey was launched in September 2021.

Banas’ honey model operates through a team of 4-5 persons at the villages, that is called honey bee cooperative societies (honeybee mandalis). These mandalis set up the bee box at preferred locations and extract the honey in presence of the executives from the dairy union. The honey is then brought to the dairy’s processing centre, where it is filtered at the normal temperature and packaged after the testing is done. The Centre lays special thrust on beekeeping to encourage honey production at village-level and increase farmers’ incomes. A National Bee Board (NBB) was set up under which a special scheme of National Beekeeping & Honey Mission (NBHM) was launched. Under the scheme 16 mini honey testing labs were sanctioned to be set up in the states of Bihar (1 no.), Karnataka (3), Madhya Pradesh (1), Maharashtra (1), Rajasthan (1), Jammu &Kashmir (4), Uttar Pradesh (2) West Bengal (2) and Himachal Pradesh (1), whereas three regional/big honey testing labs have were sanctioned for Delhi, Gujarat and Karnataka.