1. Agriculture World

Government Announces Rs. 500 Crore Package for Beekeeping

Saumy Deepak Tripathi
Saumy Deepak Tripathi

The impact of COVID-19 has been felt across different sectors and agriculture is one of them, the migration of labourers back to their hometown and the lockdown measures have affected the farmers. The government has tried to come with measures to combat it. The deregulation of food items like cereals, pulses, edible oilseeds by amending the Essential Commodities Act (ECA) is a welcome step as it allows more freedom to framers and every stakeholder involved in the supply chain to benefit But one key announcement was the establishment of a 500 crore ₹ fund to promote apiculture. Union Minister of Agriculture Narendra Singh Tomar said “Under the guidance of Shri Narendra Modi the government has launched ‘Honey Mission’ as part of ‘Sweet Revolution’ which has four components. Even small and marginal farmers can adopt beekeeping since investment is low and returns high”. This is not new as the industry has been picking up the pace for quite some time with the production of honey increasing by 242% in the past 15 years according to government data. India is the sixth-largest producer of honey in the world. The honey market currently valued at $ 500 million which is expected to more than double in five years to over $ 1100 million and India is looking to tap into it.

It was with this vision that Sweet Revolution was launched in 2019 where the government would provide100 crores ₹ every year which would be then used to provide training, tools, and bee hives units to farmers in which 80% subsidy will be given by the government. Jharkhand was given special emphasis under this scheme as it was suitable due to the vast availability of forest lands and the climate being suitable. 

However, there are some major roadblocks for farmers. The government aims to promote it as an additional means of income but that is not always the case. This could lead to a situation in newer areas where it is introduced where substantial profits could encourage a farmer to invest more in beehives and become less dependant on agriculture. But honey is production doesn’t provide several securities that food crops do. 

For instance, in Bharatpur where it was introduced in the 90s, it has helped in getting farmers increased so much so that some of these farmers major income comes from it rather than agriculture but during. 2019 when global overproduction of honey led to a shortfall in demand with the price by almost 40% and with no Minimum Support Price(MSP) the losses were fully bored by the farmers. There is also a lack of a mechanism for the procurement process with farmers dependant on various traders to buy their product. 

These problems are not complex and could be solved through coordination between governments and the private sector and making proper laws, channels to help the producers which will go a long way in making the Sweet Revolution a success.  

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