Lack of infra curtails honey prod in Kupwara
Kupwara, Aug 27: Despite having huge potential for honey production, this north Kashmir district produces just around 100 quintal of honey every year. Experts believe the production could have been much higher but for lack of facilities.
“Honey production over the years has not shown much improvement,” experts said, adding that it was strange that the district produced not more than 90 or 100 quintal of honey annually, “when it has the potential to produce thousands of tons of pure honey.”
“The district is rich in resources like thick forests, wild flowers, grasses and orchards spread over vast patches of land— something that generates enough of food and nectar for the bees,” they said.
According to experts it is not just the production the district even lags behind in processing of honey. “Due to lack of processing units we are not able to process the honey locally. We sell the raw honey to outside processors at throwaway prices and when they process it they sell it three times the cost,” said a group of bee keepers.
They said the agriculture department could play a positive role in enhancing the honey production in the district. “The department could encourage and support people to launch processing units in the districts,” they said, adding that the government can also facilitate financial support from J&K Bank to the people aspiring to set up processing units.
“If we have processing units, the export of honey in its raw form could be prevented,” they said.
Many farmers blamed the drought like situation for past couple of years and diseases in honey bees for reduction in the production.
“From July to August it is the breading season for the honey bees. Due to dry spell they breed less and it affects the honey production,” they said.
The farmers said that it was the job of Horticulture and Agriculture Departments to make farmers aware about the modern scientific practices. “If the sector is developed it could generate employment in the district and boost its economy. But these departments have failed to launch even some awareness campaigns to educate the farmers about new techniques that could help increase the production,” they said.
“The banks operating here, particularly the J&K Bank, should also come up with some special financial schemes for honey producers so that processing units come up in the district,” they said.
“There are enough of pollens available in the district but we lack pollen traps which we have to purchase from Punjab and other states. We appeal the authorities to help us to get the pollen traps which are very useful in honey production,” Syed Mukhtar Ahmad of Deedikote, a beekeeper said.
Mukhtar, who alone produces around 30 quintals of honey, said the honey produced in Kupwara had a great demand because it was organic and free from pesticides or fertilizers traces.
He said the bees collect the nectar for honey production from flowers' of those plants which are not sprayed. “But lack of processing units and other facilities are marring this sector,” he said.
Chief agriculture officer, Kupwara, Mushtaq Ahmad told Greater Kashmir that there were 900 registered colonies in the district and during 2011-12, 400 beehives were distributed among the farmers on 50 per cent subsidy.
“We are expecting good produce this season. There are medicines available for bees and beekeepers can contact us in case they need any help,” he said.
Highlighting the scope o rearing the honeybees he said: “Beekeeping has tremendous potential for its expansion besides it can provide employment opportunities to the jobless youth of the district.”
“I advise farmers to opt this activity in bigger way as it has great market potential in the state as well as outside the state.”
Lastupdate on : Mon, 27 Aug 2012 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Mon, 27 Aug 2012 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Tue, 28 Aug 2012 00:00:00 IST
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