Niger flowers in the valley create perfect environment
The yellow fields of niger flowers in Araku Valley have attracted beekeepers to this part of the region. Guntur-based S.K. Jani and his team have begun tapping the huge potential of Visakhapatnam district in honey-making business through its mobile bee-keeping activity. This is the first time that they have come to Araku for beekeeping.
“We keep migrating to flowering regions in the state depending on the crop and the season. Araku has got good potential for beekeeping activity this time of the year as this is the season for niger flowers,” said S.K. Jani.
He has been in the trade as a small-time honey collector for the past five years. Jani and his team arrived here in the month of December with the boxes and deployed them in the Niger fields of Araku Valley. For every 100 boxes, he gets a yield of 500 kgs every month. Each box containing 5,000 bees and one queen bee costs Rs.3,000. The boxes are shifted from one place to other after surveying the cropped area. In case of sunflower, the season lasts a month.
Bee-keeping gives employment to 10 people round the year and offers decent returns on investment. “We are giving training to a woman and a man of the tribal areas here to learn the technique of beekeeping,” Jani said. Trained and certified under the State Beekeeping Research Centre, he said that his honey gets sold right after it is taken from the boxes. “We do not keep mix any preservatives. Ours is pure honey and it sells like hot cakes,” he added. Beekeeping is an income generation activity and requires less time, money and infrastructure investments. “Honey and beeswax can be produced from an area of little agricultural value,” Jani said. Beekeeping also has positive ecological consequences as bees play an important role in the pollination of many flowering plants, thus increasing the yield of certain crops such as sunflower and various fruits.