1. Agriculture World

Why Rubber Board Conducts Beekeeping Training: Know the Sweet Truth

Shipra Singh
Shipra Singh
Beekeeping farm

The Rubber Board will hold a one-day training beekeeping training program at the Rubber Training Institute located in Kottayam on April 20. The course is for rubber growers, farmers, and Self Help Group members. The course fee is Rs. 500. Members of Rubber Producers' Societies are entitled for 25% concession in the course fee by showing their membership certificate.  

How rubber growing and bee keeping is connected 

It may seem odd to know that Rubber Board conducts beekeeping training because both the fields are separate. However, the motive behind Rubber Board's initiative to provide beekeeping training to rubber planters is paving a way for additional income by helping them learn a new skill. According to the Board, this will help rubber growers to sustain themselves when the rubber sector is at a low.  

With this objective in mind, Rubber Board launched the certificate course on beekeeping in 2016-17. Today, the course is popular because honey production helps rubber growers fetch a good price in the local market, around Rs.300 per kg. 

Bee rearing
Bees in honeycomb

The first beekeeping course by Rubber Board  

The first course at Meenachil-Palakkad Rubber Producers' Society  was taken successfully by housewives, NRI returnees, and retired people who wanted to learn beekeeping as a part-time income source or hobby.  

According to the Deputy Rubber Production Commissioner of the Rubber Training Institute, P.P. Shaji, some of the people who have undertaken training are engaged in value addition and processing in a limited way.  

The course got applauds from rubber producers, farmers, and Self Help Group members. This encouraged the Board to introduce the course to seven other Rubber Producers' Society, from Kannur in North Kerala to Kollan in South Kerala.  

Beekeeping equipment is provided by the Rubber Producers' Society. The course has obtained support from the Kerala State Bio Diversity Board. According to Shaji, the support has come in the wake of the growing importance of rearing honey bees to preserve diversity in nature and ecosystem.  

bee rearing
Rearing bees for prosperity

Kerala's honey potential  

Kerala has 5.50 lakh hectares of rubber plantations with a potential to produce honey at 80,000 tonnes. However, the actual production is hardly 5000 tonnes at present. Apiculture (bee keeping) is an employment-generating, long-term development activity. It is an excellent agro-based subsidiary enterprise that can become a supplementary and even the  main income source for rural areas.  

Most of the honey produced in India comes from Kanyakumari and Kerala, which is an ideal state for apiculture thanks to its favorable climate, round-the-year flowering plants, and diverse vegetation.  

According to Kerala Agricultural University, there are about 6 lakh bee colonies for honey extraction in the state. as per the Khadi and Village Industries Board, average honey production of India from bee colony is 10kg/year.  

Shaji is of the view that bee keepers do not practice scientific beekeeping due to lack of knowledge. The beekeeping training course by the Rubber Board will help them develop the necessary skills and knowledge required for successful apiculture.  

Even our honorable Prime Minister of India has highlighted the importance of beekeeping and provided schemes and incentives to promote development of scientific beekeeping in India 

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