1. Agriculture World

Apiculture Farming: Farmers Can Take Up ‘Stingless Beekeeping’ for Sustainable Income

Farmers in Maharashtra are being urged to take up stingless beekeeping as a source of sustainable income due to the excellent nutritional and medicinal benefits of honey produced by stingless bees.

Chintu Das

Farmers in Maharashtra are being urged to take up stingless beekeeping as a source of sustainable income due to the excellent nutritional and medicinal benefits of honey produced by stingless bees.

The Central Bee Research and Training Institute (CBRTI) recently organised a workshop on 'stingless bees' for a group of 32 farmers and students, who were trained in hiving natural colonies, colony multiplication, and plants beneficial to stingless bees as part of this endeavour.

"India's leading states for meliponiculture (stingless beekeeping) include Kerala, Nagaland, Tripura, and Arunachal Pradesh. Maharashtra's beekeepers aren't well-informed about the issue. "Our goal is to promote stingless beekeeping and provide beekeepers with a long-term income source," Daisy Thomas, CBRTI's project investigator, told TOI.

Individuals from Kolhapur, Satara, Ahmednagar, Jalgaon, Parbhani, Beed, and other districts were among those who participated. During the training, they learned about different beekeeping techniques, approaches, and tactics. Some of the attendees have prior experience with beekeeping.

"Beekeeping is a very delicate business," said Avinash Kadam, who has been in the field for 15 years and owns a business in Kolhapur. To acquire the desired results from it, one must be informed of its numerous practices and approaches. In the market, stingless honey is in high demand. It is frequently marketed at twice the price of regular honey. Several components of it were discussed during the training session."

In contrast to regular domesticated bees like cerana and mellifera bees, stingless bees do not sting. As a result, extracting honey, pollen, and propolis is easier, according to Thomas.

"The demand for stingless honey in domestic and foreign markets is considerable," said Cherian Joseph, who has been running the Kasaragod beekeeping unit in Kerala for the past 30 years. Honey costs between Rs2,000 and Rs3,500 per kilogram. We have a loyal following of customers who purchase this honey on a regular basis for medicinal purposes."

According to Joseph, one of the key reasons for the low response to stingless beekeeping is the lower honey yield.

"In a year, one colony of stingless bees can produce between 250 grams and 1 kilogram of honey." "It largely depends on climatic circumstances and the availability of flora and fauna in the area," said Thomas, who has studied and analysed stingless beekeeping techniques in four districts in Kerala.

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