Jammu and Kashmir has decided to boost bee-keeping by setting up
10,000 colonies this year - not only to help increase honey
production but also to get a higher yield of fruits like apples,
cherries and plums.
"We have experimented that if bee-keeping is promoted, it will not
only increase production of honey but also give higher yield of
fruits," state Agriculture Minister Ghulam Hasan Mir told IANS.
He explained that bees help in pollination of fruit flowers. "More
bees mean increased pollination of flowers on fruit plants."
The state agriculture department is exploring new ways to adopt,
promote and take up schemes to boost bee-keeping that will also
Jammu and Kashmir is among the largest fruit producing areas in
Asia with about 2.5 million tonnes of apples, pears, cherries,
plums, almonds and others produced last year, the department
officials said. The state also produces world-class honey.
Said Nazir Ahmad Dar, a renowned orchardist of north Kashmir: "We
have experienced that bees help in pollination of fruit flowers,
especially in March and April. This has increased fruit production
by 30 percent."
The agriculture minister has ordered officials to help farmers to
set up at least 1,000 new bee-keeping units in the state.
"There are 10 colonies in each unit. This means we are going to
set up 10,000 colonies this year. This will increase the
production of honey in Jammu and Kashmir from 16 tonnes to 65
tonnes," Mir said.
A happy Dar said: "When orchardists will experience that bees are
helping in getting increased fruit production, they will be
inclined towards setting up more bee-keeping units on a large
He also said that such pollination gives better quality fruits,
Mir said agricultural activities were witnessing a sharp decline
in the state and therefore such steps were necessary to give the
sector a push and also generate employment.
"Earlier, agriculture was contributing 56 percent to the state's
GDP (Gross Domestic Product) which is now reduced to only 26
percent," he stated.
"Activities like bee-keeping, mushroom cultivation or for that
matter sericulture can contribute in economic growth," he added.
Getting higher yields of honey means better business for people
like Kashmir's honey trader Noor-ul-Amin.
"The best quality honey in Jammu and Kashmir comes from summer
mist flora which is on the higher reaches. There are others too
which come from multi-flora," he said.
But the agriculture minister is aiming at getting more variety of
honey. "We have decided to produce spring mist and autumn mist
honey (from flowers during spring and autumn seasons)."
Mir said bee-keeping will help in "creating employment and
employability. We are at the threshold of creating a famous honey
industry in the state after its fame in tourism and handicraft."
(Binoo Joshi can be contacted at email@example.com)