Scripting a sweet success story

Kuppam Vijaya Kumari displays a honey-making tray at her home in Guntur.   | Photo Credit: T. Vijaya Kumar

She places her hands above the beehive and blows softly into the box at her home. The honeybees used to the tender touch of her hands are least ruffled and go about their business of passing on nectar to the rest of bees later forming into thick honey.

“I blow softly to ensure that the bees know that I am near them. It is a gesture to keep them under control. Bees does not sting unless they are disturbed,’’ says Kuppam Vijaya Kumari has been involved in bee-keeping for the last 20 years.

A native of Patchalatadiparru village near Ponnur, Ms. Vijaya Kumari used to make honey by placing honeycombs near the fields. Beginning with making a few hundred rupees every day, she has now grown in the business and with the support of her husband, Srinivas, has started Kuppam Honey Industries.

Ms. Vijaya Kumari now runs a home-based business selling natural honey in various flavours to customers across the country.

MEPMA initiative

The turnaround came in 2003 when she along with nine others formed Geetha Niharika Self Help Group, an activity promoted under the Mission for Elimination of Poverty in Municipal Areas (MEPMA). While she could gather financial resources such as bank linkage from the group, MEPMA provided a platform to sell her products at stalls put up during government programmes.

Thanks to the initiative of MEPMA, the SHG members in the town are scripting sweet success stories in the backyards of their houses.

“The honey-making season usually lasts two months beginning from January. There are two kinds of honeybees — the European breed and the native. While the European breed yield an average of 10 kg per box, the native one yield 1.5 kg per box. The honey collected from sunflower plantations, neem flower in Rayalaseema region is tastier when compared to honey collected from the bees in the coastal region,’’ Ms. Vijaya Kumari says.

Bee-keeping is not an easy task. The bee-keeper should ensure that the queen bee lays its eggs, which are transformed into larvae and later into thick honey. The honey is then distilled and packed in bottles of various size. A kg of natural honey costs ₹400.

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Printable version | Mar 6, 2021 5:07:39 AM |

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