Rural communities are now becoming more self-reliant with assistance from Project Nayi Kiran, an initiative of THDC India Limited, in collaboration with Mrida Group.
Under this project, selected rural communities have been trained in bee-keeping to help them achieve economic self-reliance. This is a small step towards a great social transformation. Beekeeping is becoming a lucrative business because of the high demand for honey in both domestic and international markets. It is a win-win situation for both farmers and beekeepers who participate in this program.
Honeybees can be used to increase agricultural output. As many as 80% of flowering plants are cross-pollinated due to external factors, such as pollen from another flower. The honeybee is one of the most important external or environmental factors.
Bee-keeping as a Pilot Project also received a very positive response under the Nayi Kiran Project, with a total of 97 active applications across the catchment area.
Given constraints of availability of bee-colonies, 58 PAPs/PAFs have so far been impacted under the Project, which should start seeing collection of honey from mid 2023 onwards.
While the initial output is expected to be consumed internally and/or sold within the community, there is scope to scale up this intervention significantly over the years, and create market linkages for the increased output, in other parts of India, and possibly overseas as well.
Given the relative ease with which bee-keeping can be initiated, and the comparatively low investment called for, there is good scope to expand the bee-keeping initiative in a big way moving forward. While existing beneficiaries can be encouraged to increase the number of bee-keeping units that they set up, new beneficiaries can also be encouraged to participate in this intervention, encouraged by the success of their neighbors and fellow villagers.
A critical factor for bee-keeping is training on procuring and nurturing of bee colonies, safety, and processing of honey so as to ensure quality and hence a better price realization for the output. Initial training has already been provided in the catchment area, and this will need to be continued moving forward. Training can be done through external resources, the State Govt. Horticulture Department, and also Brand Ambassadors from amongst successful pilot project beneficiaries.