J&K beekeepers hit as farmers'spray pesticides

Scores of beekeepers in Jammu and Kashmir, especially in district Ramban today alleged that their business was severely hit as the farmers’ have begun spraying pesticides in Rajasthan.

A group of beekeepers alleged that thousands of bees have died and it has damaged thousands of colonies.  Ramban district in Jammu division holds the top position in honey production and along with Ramban district hundreds of unemployed people of Jammu and Kashmir are earning their livelihood from honey bee business.

The Beekeepers of Jammu division have been neglected by State governments as well as apiculture department from last so many years, and employees who receive lakhs of rupees monthly as salary are allegedly hell-bent on shutting down the emerging business instead of promoting it.

With the onset of winter, hundreds of beekeepers from Ramban, Pulwama, Shopian, Kulgam, Baramulla and Budgam districts migrated with thousands of bee hives to Punjab and Rajasthan to save them (Bees) from harsh winter and raise them.

This year, in almost all the parts of Rajasthan, the spraying of pesticides on coriander and mustard crops by local landlords has cost the beekeepers lakhs of rupees. A number of bees have died and thousands of bee colonies affected due to poisoning, claimed Beekeepers.

Farooq Ahmad Wani, president of the Beekeepers Association Jammu division, told Greater Kashmir over phone from Kota Rajasthan that the spraying of pesticides in large quantities on crops had damaged thousands of bee colonies in Rajasthan. He said hundreds of people from Jammu and Kashmir and other parts of the country related with honey bees’ business have also suffered heavy losses this year due to pesticides sprayed on crops.

He said that Almighty Allah has cured various diseases found in crops through the presence of honey bees and there is no need to spray pesticides on such crops where bees are coming on the flowers. He said there is dire need of mass awareness camps on the issue from the apiculture department to educate farmers .

Wani said present pesticides menace, will eradicate the existence of honey bees from the world which will be dangerous for human survival too.

He said that this business is neglected by the state government and apiculture department as the bee business has not been brought in the livestock category yet and they are not getting benefits of crop loan and crop insurance and this callous attitude of the government leads to huge losses every year to beekeepers.

Wani has appealed to the government of Jammu and Kashmir and Rajasthan to come forward for help and to compensate the persons of Jammu and Kashmir involved in the business.