Andhra Pradesh

No sweet news for honeybee habitats in Eastern Ghats

Bitter truth: A beekeeper displaying the boxes, set up in the fields of Niger flower in Araku Valley in Visakhapatnam.

Bitter truth: A beekeeper displaying the boxes, set up in the fields of Niger flower in Araku Valley in Visakhapatnam.   | Photo Credit: K_R_DEEPAK

Excessive use of pesticides, degradation of flora

Honeybees visit an estimated four lakh flowers to collect nectar for producing one kg of honey but their hard work is going in vain due to a variety of factors.

The number of honeybee habitats is under threat mainly in the Eastern Ghats due to excessive use of pesticides and degradation of flora.

Honeybees, a highly organised community, are considered eco-friendly as they contribute to higher agriculture yield and maintain the ecological balance.

“In some places crude methods are followed to collect honey by the farmers as they don’t follow scientific methods for sustainable beekeeping,” Dr. N.B. Brundhavanam, Adviser, Dabur India Ltd, who was here to take part in the World Honeybee Day celebrations, told The Hindu on Saturday.

Honeysbees, the native type of insects also known as rock and forest bees, are facing threat even as bees imported from Europe mainly Italy are getting domesticated in Uttar Pradesh, Haryana and Punjab in the North and Bihar and Jharkhand in the East India.

As per estimates, Dr. Brundhavanam says India produces 45,000 tonne, which can be increased to 1.10 lakh tonne if farmers are sensitised on the advantages of using organic manure. It also renders great pollination service.

Citing an instance, he points out that in Himachal Pradesh, the apple growers spend money to attract the bee colonies to migrate to their area as it leads to increase in apple production by 35%.

Because of health-friendly ingredients, honey has found a mention in ancient literature dating back to 5,000 years ago. The average consumption in India is just 49 grams as against the global average of 750 grams.

The Girijan Cooperative Corporation, which procures non-timber forest produce from tribals to provide them remunerative price by keeping middlemen at bay, is planning to implement a comprehensive action plan to promote honey production in a big way.

“Our aim is to increase floriculture, facilitate bank finance and popularise scientific ways for sustainable beekeeping,” A.S.P.S. Ravi Prakash, Vice-Chairman-cum-Managing Director of GCC.

He says the GCC is producing 500 tonne of honey straight away collecting it from the forests in totally pure form as against the demand of 1,000 tonne in Andhra Pradesh and Telangana.

The domesticated honey produced in North and East by using the European bees contains a lot of sugar content unlike the honey marketed by the GCC.

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Printable version | May 31, 2020 8:36:47 PM |

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