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Mon, 17 Jun 2019

Northeast Today

High on Honey

High on Honey
February 16
16:53 2018

January Edition, NET Bureau, Sayantani Deb

Even though Nagaland is considered as one of the most disturbed states of India, however, the state is steadily emerging as one of the prime honey producing destinations of the world. Recognising its vast potential in beekeeping and honey producing sector, the Nagaland government has launched ‘Nagaland Beekeeping and Honey Mission.’ Further the state is mulling to produce 2000 metric tonnes of honey by 2030. Northeast Today reports

26-year-old Timing Angami, wanted to become a doctor, however, owing to his family’s financial crisis, he was compelled to become a honey beekeeper.

“After completing my 10th, I wanted to study more and become a doctor. But due to my family’s financial crisis, I failed to pursue my dream and finally ended up being a honey beekeeper,” said Timing.

“At first I was quite reluctant to take up this job but one training programme organised by NBHM (Nagaland Beekeeping and Honey Mission) completely changed my perception on beekeeping and subsequently I started taking interest in it,” he added.

Timing now keeps around 100 boxes of honeybee which yields him an income of over Rs 2 lakh per annum.

Timing is not alone as there are thousands of youths in the state who are now earning in lakhs and tasting success through honey production.

About NBHM

In 2007, Nagaland government launched Nagaland Beekeeping and Honey Mission (NBHM) in a bid to promote and develop beekeeping into a robust industry.

NBHM, since its formation, has been focusing on three major areas- capacity building and research undertakings, apiculture development and promotion and industry service and marketing across Nagaland. It carries out all activities keeping the environmental and socio-economic condition of the state in mind.

“The Naga people, since time immemorial, have been practicing beekeeping. Even today, beehives are a common sight in many Naga homes which they rear mostly as a hobby on a very small, home-based production. Many local Naga farmers have rich traditional knowledge and skill of beekeeping which can be easily blended into modern and scientific methods for greater income generation and sustainability,” said Bodevi Shuya, a team member of NBHM, while interacting with Northeast Today.

Nagaland falls within one of the 18 mega biodiversity hotspot areas and is considered as cradle of flowering plants rich in nectar and pollen coupled with the prevailing favourable climatic condition and availability of abundant bee flora flowering throughout the year.

“The state with its rich biodiversity, well-off traditional knowledge wisdom and experience of beekeeping has a vast potential to carry more than 22 lakhs bee colonies economically from the available bee foraging area of around 10,942 square kilometres (66 pc of the total area) out of the state’s total geographical area of 16,579 sq. km,” he added.

Bodevi believes that Nagaland is capable of producing about 10,000 metric tonnes of honey and 10 metric tonnes of bee wax besides providing substantial employment opportunity through beekeeping and honey enterprise.

Honey Species

In Nagaland, the honey production mostly comes from the common species such as Asian Honeybee (Apis cerana) and Dammer (Stingless bee) which are reared and domesticated. Honey from wild bees is also collected from Rock bee (Apis dorsata/laboriosa) and little bee (Apis florae).

Currently, entire Nagaland is into beekeeping activity and produce honey. However, districts like Kohima, Phek, Zunheboto, Tuensang and Peren are forerunner in the commercial honey production.

Vision Document 2030

Nagaland Beekeeping & Honey Policy conforms to Nagaland Vision Document – 2030 and has set a target to produce 2000 MT (20 pc of the state total potential) of honey to be achieved by year 2030.

“But to accomplish the projected target there is a need of financial help,” Bodevi shared, adding, “As far as the progress in achieving the target is concerned, the NBHM is on war footing to logically seize and bank on the present opportunity and enormous potential to a further higher level and upgrade the beekeeping and honey sector as a major hub for the region as well as for the rest of the country.”

Way Forward

While winding-up the conversation, Bodevi said, “Beekeeping was just a part of traditional ancillary activity in Nagaland and honey was only valued as medicine. But with the intervention of NBHM through awareness creation, motivational campaign and trainings on scope and importance of bees, beekeeping & honey, the apiculture activities in the state have substantially undergone a shift from a largely rudimentary level to a well organised and sustainable livelihood activity that has spread across the state.”

Through the promotion and development programme of NBHM, income of beekeepers has increased also the honey consumption has been widely popularised across the state.

 

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