Beekeeping has become a source of financial security for farmers in the form of additional income.
Bengaluru, Nov 4, 2022: Paridhi Jain
Farmers are adopting beekeeping as a means of an alternative source of income. According to the National Bee Board (NBH), honey production in India has increased from 72.30 metric tonnes in 2012-13 to 120 metric tonnes in 2019-20. In Karnataka, farmers are earning from Rs 57,000 in a year to Rs 1.5 crore from selling honey, beeswax, bee- boxes and other products. As per NBH, there are around 658 registered beekeepers in the state with 10813 bee colonies.
According to N.C Subbaya, a beekeeping farmer from Coorg, “Last year I cultivated around 300 colonies and generated 1.5 tons of honey and with that we have Rs three to four lakh profit.”
According to Apoorva BV a beekeeping entrepreneur based in Kadabagere village (Bangalore north taluka) there is around 30 percent increase in beekeepers in Bangalore in five years. Good quality honey like the Coorg honey could fetch even Rs 1000 per kg.
He adds further, “I have been manufacturing 10,000 boxes in a year and at least 3000 to 4,000 are with colonies. There are 150 beekeepers in urban and more than 300 in rural area of Bangalore.”
According to Dr KS Jagadish, Head of the department, Apiculture, GKVK, “In pandemic times as well, beekeeping provided means of income for unemployed rural youth.” He also explains the concept of integrated farming which is benefitting the farmers.
He says, “In integrated farming, a farmer keeps bees as a subsidiary enterprise along with food crops. In case of natural calamity, if one crop fails, he will get alternative income from beekeeping or poultry etc. Beekeeping suits integrated farming like no other profession.” He explains the challenges with beekeeping and the shortage of training centers for farmers as per the demand. He concludes by saying that to improve the market value chain, more district level cooperative societies need to be increased.