Lucknow, Dec 1 (IANS) The buzz is Uttar Pradesh could become the largest producer of honey in India in the next 10 years with some encouragement. Apiculture and horticulture experts say conditions in the state augur well for beekeeping.
'As the state has a variety of flora and crops, honey could be produced here throughout the year. States like Bihar and Jharkhand tribals are doing exceptionally good,' said R.K. Lakra of the Indian Council of Agriculture Research.
He was among the experts from across the country assembled at the Narendra Dev University of Agriculture and Technology (NDUAT) in Kumarganj, 110 km from here, Saturday.
'Uttar Pradesh is the 16th state to be sanctioned a Rs.20 crore (Rs.200 million) central project for apiculture as we see tremendous potential here. Besides imparting training of honey bee culture, the nodal agencies will also be arranging funds to set up bee colonies.'
'At present, Bihar is number one in honey production and if the project is implemented properly in Uttar Pradesh, it will replace Bihar in the next 10 years,' added Lakra.
The rural population, specially women, are more efficient in handling the bees, he said.
While the NDUAT is the nodal agency for training and installation of the colonies, the Horticulture Produce Management Institute (HPMI), Lucknow, will be arranging for funds and loans.
Besides training and arrangement of fund, the cultivators will also be getting the additional advantage of insurance.
'The Oriental Insurance company has agreed to insure bee colonies against flood, fire, theft, diseases and accidental damage at a very nominal cost,' said S. Yaadav of the HPMI.
Basant Ram, vice chancellor of NDUAT, told IANS: 'At present Uttar Pradesh is producing 3,000 tonnes of honey per year and this could exceed 30,000 tonnes in the next 10 years.'
'Besides honey, we are also planning to produce wax, royal jelly and bee venom in the coming years,' he added.
The university plans to install nearly 200,000 bee colonies in the state in the next couple of years and also claims this will generate employment for over 500,000 rural people.
'We have also ensured that the cultivators get a genuine price for their produce by simultaneously announcing a fare-price buy back policy,' Yadav added.
While Rs.60 per kg has been fixed as the price for honey, the rates for other produce will be decided later, he added.