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Agri Ministry Organizes Consultative Workshop on ‘Technological Intervention & Innovations in Beekeeping Sector’

Under the National Beekeeping & Honey Mission (NBHM), the Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare held a Consultative Workshop on "Technological Intervention & Innovations in the Honey / Beekeeping Sector" in New Delhi yesterday.

Shivam Dwivedi
Agri Ministry Organizes Consultative Workshop on ‘Technological Intervention & Innovations in Beekeeping Sector’
Agri Ministry Organizes Consultative Workshop on ‘Technological Intervention & Innovations in Beekeeping Sector’

Around 600 beekeepers, honey startups/FPOs, beekeeping stakeholders, officials from various Ministries/ Government Organizations/ Institutes, State Departments of Horticulture, State Agricultural Universities (SAUs)/ Central Agricultural Universities (CAUs), and others attended the workshop both physically and virtually.

Dr. Prabhat Kumar, Horticulture Commissioner, provided an overview of the state of beekeeping in the country during the workshop's opening comments. He stressed the significance of technology interventions in beekeeping. He described the National Beekeeping & Honey Mission (NBHM) and its role in strengthening the beekeeping sector, including the development of Honey FPOs and Agri startups through NBHM.

He emphasised that the implementation of the NBHM programme is also designed to boost infrastructural facilities for honey collection, storage, processing, testing, and branding centers, which would ultimately increase the nation's honey export potential. He also remarked that GI Tagging may be a powerful tool in combating adulteration and malpractice in the honey industry, and he encouraged beekeepers and stakeholders to get GI Tagging and Geo referencing for their produce. 

He asked beekeepers and other stakeholders to use the NBHM facilities and to practise beekeeping in a scientific manner in order to generate additional income from honey and other beehive products. He promised beekeepers across the country full support under the NBHM initiative.

Dr. N. K. Patle, Additional Commissioner Horticulture and Executive Director, National Bee Board (NBB), gave a brief presentation on the role and achievements of NBHM, GI Tagging/ Geo referencing of honey in the country, success stories of NBHM beneficiaries, opportunities for beekeepers, agristart-ups/ stakeholders under NBHM, and so on. In his address to the workshop attendees, he stressed that technology interventions in beekeeping are desperately needed.

He emphasised that the government is committed to improving the total potential of the country's beekeeping business, including helping honey entrepreneurs and FPOs in beekeeping. He stated that the NBHM has sanctioned 31 Mini Testing Labs and 4 Regional labs to ensure the quality of honey throughout the country. Another NBHM project is the Madhukranti Portal, which collects data on beekeeping through registration of beekeepers and other stakeholders.

He stated that the NBHM also assists agri-entrepreneurs/startups in their involvement in beekeeping/honey production. He stated that the first step in converting Krishi into Atmanirbhar Krishi is the promotion and formation of FPOs, and he assures that the implementation of the NBHM scheme will bring revolutionary changes by strengthening the institutional framework in the beekeeping sector, as well as the formation and promotion of Honey FPOs and Honey Startups. He also asked all beekeeping stakeholders to apply for GI tagging of their produce.

According to Samuel Praveen Kumar, Joint Secretary (Extension), DA&FW, infrastructure, innovations, and technologically sound techniques must be implemented to strengthen the sector. He also noted that the mission's extended outreach to reach at ground level is another critical factor in the mission's success. Dr. Balraj Singh, Vice-Chancellor, SKN Agriculture University, Jobner, Jaipur, Rajasthan, also spoke with workshop participants about the role and assistance of Central and State Agricultural Universities in the promotion and development of the beekeeping sector.

He stated that training and skill development, as well as bee breeding, should be fostered in order to enhance the beekeeping sector. Dr. V. Geethalakshmi, Vice-Chancellor of Tamil Nadu Agricultural University in Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu, also emphasised the university's intervention and offered steps to strengthen the industry.

P. Chandra Shekara, Director General of MANAGE, spoke about the potential of Agri Startups in the beekeeping industry and stated that MANAGE is a one-stop solution for launching successful companies in agricultural and related areas. He advised that beekeeping literature be developed and made available in many regional languages in order to broaden the scheme's reach. He proposed greater capacity-building programmes and the creation of an ecosystem for startups and entrepreneurs in the beekeeping sector.

 

Nirmal Vasrshney of Only and Surely Organic Products in Haridwar, Uttar Pradesh, also discussed their beekeeping experiences and advised beekeepers/small entrepreneurs to expand their businesses and apply for NBHM help.

Noor Mohamad Bhatt, Valley Apiaries & Food Products, Pulwama, J&K, urged that ancient beekeepers be supported and that adulteration in honey be prohibited. Amit Dhanuka of Kejriwal Enterprises in New Delhi proposed honey pricing stability and raised awareness about mustard honey crystallisation and antibiotic restrictions in honey adulteration of C3 and C4.

The panellists and other workshop participants made several suggestions, including working on major action points such as technological interventions on the traceability of quality honey, establishing a complaint mechanism from exporters, and creating lab infrastructure (which should include adulteration and antibiotics testing mechanisms) as well as contact information.

Participants also proposed changes to the National Beekeeping & Honey Mission (NBHM) assistance. Components of NBHM must be strengthened, such as lab infrastructure, capacity building for honey bee keepers to handle adulteration in honey, a consumer outreach plan, and a greater emphasis on bee products.

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