Agriculture World

Honey Bee Farms in Kerala Doing Great during Covid-19 Pandemic

Aiswarya R Nair
Aiswarya R Nair

Kerala's honey bee farms are doing great during this time of pandemic. The first was that honey's sales got increased due to it's the health benefit of being an immunity booster. 

Second is the honey-dried mangoes. Horticrop, a nodal agency in beekeeping and development in Kerala tested out a honey speciality out of the excess mangoes from the Palakkad mango market. 

Honey-dried mangoes are like a starter. Honey is hygroscopic, it absorbs water. So the group immersed mango slices in honey and, in a matter of days, the fruit tightened. It was extracted as preserved and dried. This has no sugar, no preservative and needs no heating 

Agricultural engineer B Sunil, regional manager, Bee Keeping Centre, Horticorp, says that he had produced honey-dried jackfruit last December. 

People like Anoop Baby Sam who has taken over his father's 15year old beekeeping business is trying to modernise and make it lucrative. He used the nationwide lockdown to make beeswax cream, lotions, lip balm and candles. Using honey as a base, he created a range of drinks like honey ginger, honey garlic, bird’s-eye chilli honey and basil pepper honey. Out of all his lockdown recipes, the most famous one's are his honey peanut butter cookies and honey payasam. 

In Kerala, the cottage industry of bee-keeping unofficially produces nearly five to 10 lakh kilograms of honey annually and engages farmers, semi-farmers and students. Rubber and forest honey are the two main types found here. 

Among the different states in the country, Kerala and Tamil Nadu were traditionally the leading states in beekeeping with Kerala contributing 70 per cent of the annual production of honey in India. 

The lockdown has also had a negative effect: it prevented migratory beekeepers from harvesting honey from colonies in different parts of the State. Aleyamma Siby from Panathady Panchayat, Kasaragod district, was unable to travel across the border into Coorg, Karnataka, where a few colonies would have produced one of the country’s finest honey. 

Philip, who supplies boxes and hives all over Kerala and also in Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Andhra, said; “The lockdown has prevented me from going, so I'm not sure whether I will get the yield this year." 

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