Eight farmer groups formed in Dakshina Kannada; each group will get Rs. 50,000 to start apiculture
The Department of Horticulture will encourage apiculture in Dakshina Kannada by promoting groups of beekeepers for the first time.
Yogesh H R, Deputy Director, Department of Horticulture, says eight farmer groups have been formed in the district. Of them, three are in Bantwal taluk, two in Mangalore taluk and one each in Puttur, Sullia and Belthangady taluks. Once they are registered under the Societies Act, each of them would be given a revolving fund of Rs. 50,000. The process of registration is now under progress.
He says that a member of the group can avail loan from the revolving fund to buy bee boxes and bee colonies. A member gets Rs.1,500 as subsidy from the department, per box and per colony. Any additional cost will have to be borne by the member. The member would have to return the balance amount to the group. One member can keep more than one box.
Once the group stabilises, it will get an additional subsidy from the government if it wants to set up processing units, packing units and buy a vehicle for marketing the honey. The amount of subsidy varies from 10 per cent to 50 per cent of the capital cost depending on the investment.
Another official of the Horticulture Department says that though beekeeping activities are brought under the horticulture department from industries department three years ago, groups of beekeepers are being formed under a government scheme for the first time.
He says that each group should have more than seven members. The official says that the department has conducted one round of training for the members.
President of South Kanara Bee Keepers’ Cooperative Society, Puttur, Sham Bhat, says bee colonies in Dakshina Kannada are still not completely free of the Thai sacbrood disease, which hit the district in 1980s. Once the viral disease strikes the larvae of bees, an entire colony is wiped out. Mr. Yogesh says there is no cure for the disease.