Jammu- The Jammu and Kashmir administration has set up approximately 1,65,000 bee colonies with local, European and Italian origin bees as part of a mega project.
With an estimate of Rs 560 crore, the mega project “promotion of beekeeping in J&K” is aimed at promoting apiculture to significantly increase honey production in the union territory.
“An amount of Rs 47 crore has been taken as a provision to spread this bee farming in our union territory. At present, we have approximately 1,65,000 bee colonies and 3,000 beekeepers,” Associate Professor Sheri-Kashmir University of Agriculture and Science technology Dr Davinder Sharma told PTI.
Sharma said that there are many kinds of bees, including local, European, and Italian. Stress is given to box beekeeping here, he added.
He said that the university and agricultural department are trying hard to scale honey production. “Regarding this, our UT govt sanctioned Rs 560 crore particularly to raise the production of honey under the holistic development programme”, he said.
Under the beekeeping programme, we are giving training to young entrepreneurs, farmers, students and now army personnel under Sadbhavna programme. There are more bi-products like bee pollen, bee wax, bee royal jelly and many other bi-products to raise the income of farmers, he said.
“Efforts are underway to introduce Apitherapy to a wider audience. The sector is projected to grow from its current annual output of Rs 69 crore to Rs 682 crore within five years, resulting in gainful employment for 8,122 persons and creation of 82 private sector enterprises,” Additional Chief Secretary, Agriculture Production Department, Atal Dulloo said.
He said the project has been allocated at a budget of Rs 46.65 crore with an avowed objective of increasing honey production three-fold, bee population by 333 per cent and crop production of cross-pollinated crops by 20-25 per cent.
“Beekeeping is an important source of income and livelihood for many rural youth, landless farmers, and small and medium-farmers in J&K. The honeybees not only produce honey but also play a crucial role in pollinating thousands of flowering plants, thereby contributing to food security,” he said.
“Beekeeping is our high-generating business programme. At present, the government is giving more stress to increase its production side by side with the income of young entrepreneurs and farmers. Our motto is to spread bee farming in all the areas like Poonch, Rajouri, Nowshera, Smote, Samba, Kathua, Dayala Chack, Basoli Billawar etc as per their temperature”, Director Agriculture K K Sharma said.
He said that at present, we have various kinds of honey like Jamun, mustard, white honey and flower honey which are being checked in our testing labs to come up to the taste of good quality.
“There are many kinds of bee farming. One is box bee farming, which is most prevalent nowadays and the other is naturally found on trees,” he said.
Additional Chief Secretary said that after full implementation of the project, the number of bee colonies is expected to increase from 1.43 lakh to 3.085 lakh and the number of beekeepers is also expected to rise from 4,526 to 7,396, and honey production from 23,050 quintals to 66,100 quintals.
In addition to honey production, he said the income from bee by-products such as royal jelly, bee venom, pollen, and wax worth Rs 474 crore per annum will also be realised.
An amount of Rs 4.4 crore has been allocated for research and development in this area, he said. (PTI)