The government of India launched the ‘Honey Mission’ as part of the ‘Sweet Revolution’ in 2017. The aim of the project is projected to promote apiculture which is called beekeeping. Read here to learn more about the sweet revolution and honey mission.
The government launched a ‘sweet revolution’ after the White Revolution, Green Revolution, and Blue Revolution, which is a strategic step to emphasize the increase in honey production in the state, which can be a major contributor to doubling the income of the farmers. It is expected that with the increase in income, the production of crops will also increase by 15%.
India is one of the top nations exporting honey worldwide. India’s organic honey has made its way to markets in the United States, United Kingdom, Japan, France, Italy, Spain, and other countries. About 74,413 MT of honey worth Rs. 1221.17 crores was exported by India in 2021–22. The US, Saudi Arabia, Canada, Bangladesh, and Qatar are some of the main export markets.
On the National Bee Board, there are presently about 13,000 beekeepers registered. It employs more than 3 lakh, rural people.
World honey market:
- The total honey market value is $ 500 million and by 2025 the market is expected to reach $ 1130 million
- Major consumption markets are found in Europe, North America, and China.
- Honey Market is increasing @ 10.7% CAGR.
- Indian honey market demand is in the USA, UAE, and Europe
Sweet Revolution- Honey Mission
The Sweet Revolution, sometimes referred to as Honey Mission or Mithi Kranti, is an initiative that aims to double farmers’ incomes by promoting the advancement of scientific beekeeping and the production of honey and related goods.
The Prime Minister called for Sweet Revolution in 2016 with the vision to double the income of the farmers by 2024.
Khadi & Village Industries Commission (KVIC) took the task of further development of the beekeeping industry to uplift the financial status of people living in extremely interior rural areas by introducing and popularizing scientific beekeeping.
- The State Khadi & V.I. Boards and Non-Government Organizations (Beekeeping NGOs) registered with KVIC and KVIB are taking part in beekeeping programs in the country.
It seeks to quicken the production of high-quality honey and associated goods.
Since honey is regarded as a naturally healthful commodity, the demand for high-quality honey has increased over time.
Royal jelly, beeswax, pollens, and other apiculture products are also widely employed in a variety of industries, including pharmaceuticals, food, beverage, beauty products, and others.
Under the Honey Mission, the KVIC offers:
- practical training to farmers or beekeepers on how to examine honeybee colonies
- to identify and treat diseases and pests that affect bees, and manage bee colonies throughout the year.
- knowledge of apicultural tools,
- honey extraction, and wax purification
Through this mission’s use of technology, bee conservation will be ensured. Additionally, diseases or the destruction of bee colonies will be prevented, and the quality and quantity of apiculture products will be provided.
Farming methods will result in honey and other products of the highest quality for the domestic and international markets.
Beekeeping is a low-investment, highly skilled business model where technology use has become a key enabler for socioeconomic development.
Beekeeping expansion will enhance crop yield, create jobs, ensure food security and bee conservation, and double farmers’ income.
National Beekeeping and Honey Mission (NBHM)
Govt. of India has approved a new Central Sector Scheme entitled “National Beekeeping & Honey Mission (NBHM)” in 2021 for 2 years.
It was launched for the overall promotion and development of scientific beekeeping in mission mode to achieve the goal of “Sweet Revolution” in the country by giving thrust on:
- capacity building & training
- specific focus on women
- input support for promotion & production
- setting up Integrated Beekeeping Development Centres (IBDCs)
- Digitization /online registration
- processing, value addition, market support
- R&D under 3 Mini Missions (MMs)-MM-1, MM-2 & MM-3
Jharkhand is the best state to implement a sweet revolution and there is huge potential for honey production.
- Approximately 30% of the land is covered by forest which is the most important resource for honey production.
- The state’s climate is suitable for honey production.
- There is an abundant number of crops, fruits, vegetables, wild trees, eucalyptus, karanj, semer, neem, sisam, etc. which is the best from the point of view of beekeeping.
Purpose of sweet revolution
- To make Jharkhand state in the category of developed states by 2022.
- Employing by connecting the farmers of the state with beekeeping.
- To increase agriculture and horticulture yield and income of farmers.
- To make the state the leading state in the field of honey production.
- Children are free from malnutrition.
- Production of quality honey.
Significance of Sweet Revolution-Honey Mission
The honey mission will serve to push the host of opportunities available in the country for beekeepers and honey production. India has vast potential for beekeeping. The diversity in flora and fauna provides more opportunities for developing the beekeeping industry.
- The National Commission on Agriculture had visualized the need for deploying about 150 million bee colonies for pollinating crops in the country.
- The beekeeping industry has great self-help potential for rural people, tribals, marginal and small farmers, and landless laborers. The areas with great potential in beekeeping include:
- As per the cropped area under the major insect-pollinated crops, about 200 million bee colonies are required in the country to enhance the yield of these crops on a par with the yield levels of developed countries.
- Honey has great food value and provides cash income
- Beeswax, which is twice as costly as honey, is in great demand
- Other products (pollen, propolis, bee venom, and royal jelly) are several times costlier than honey and beeswax
- Providing bee pollination services to farmers for increasing crop production and the quality and productivity of honey bees
- Maintenance of biodiversity by pollinating flowering plants
- Apitherapy/medicine using bee products Processing and value-added products of beehive products
Challenges in beekeeping
The major challenges in the development of beekeeping include:
- Lack of scientific data on the choice of honey bee species for commercial beekeeping and for promoting cross-pollination
- Lack of quality nucleus stock of bees
- Lack of infrastructure for producing large volumes of genetically superior queen bees for beekeepers
- Lack of technical knowledge for efficient management of bee colonies for higher honey yield
- Lack of infrastructure at the grassroots to promote beekeeping
- Poor quality control for the production of honey and other products
- More emphasis on honey production instead of other bee products such as beeswax, pollen, propolis, bee venom, and royal jelly
- Lack of adequate testing labs for disease prevention, control, analysis, and testing of the quality of beehive products Lack of institutional support for beekeeping in terms of bank loans, etc
- Lack of proper pricing policy for honey and those engaged in packaging, processing, and storing honey.
- Lack of consumer awareness about honey and its products Tribals and others in remote areas generally practice this activity, which makes it harder for them to sell their produce.
- Flowering and secretion of nectar and production of pollen, the sole food of honey bees, is influenced by climatic conditions which are beyond our control
- Besides the threat of global warming, the climatic and floristic conditions vary from place to place, which affects the behavior and lifecycle of honey bees.
- Forest Acts/laws and deforestation, besides wildfires and pollution, are also an impediment to beekeeping.
- Indiscriminate use of insecticides, pesticides, weedicides, etc.
There is vast potential for beekeeping in the country. However, due to the lack of scientific knowledge, scientific beekeeping is not being practiced by beekeepers.
Beekeepers must participate in training/ other capacity-building programs on the subject to gain scientific knowledge on the subject. Selection of a good apiary site, good quality bees, and proper management are the main keys to the success of beekeeping
It is advisable to use only the recommended methods to control swarming, division of colonies, the formation of new colonies, mass queen rearing, stopping laying workers, robbing, desertion, migration, and management of diseases, pests, and enemies.
The Sweet Revolution-Honey Mission aims to target all the challenges and shortcomings and promote economic growth in the beekeeping and honey production sector.
-Article written by Swathi Satish