India Honey Alliance and Experts recommend setting up of regional honey testing labs with state-of-art, cutting-edge technologies by the government.

Renowned experts from across the honey value chain emphasized on the dire need for setting up of honey testing labs by the government, better facilities for training, infrastructure, and capacity building for beekeepers. To promote beekeeping in India and create a more enabling environment, specialists focused on the aspects of collaboration and support from the government for the holistic growth of beekeepers, who are an essential part of the Honey ecosystem.

Addressing a virtual panel discussion organized by the India Honey Alliance, an association of honey producers, beekeepers, and technology experts, Dr. Naveen Patle, ED-National Bee Board, indicated that while the National Honey Mission is launched across the country, there is a significant lacuna in maintaining proper beekeepers’ data, bee colonies and production data.

The webinar was organized to address the issues faced on-ground by the beekeepers and get insights on the various government schemes, scientific and technical information, and initiatives to promote beekeeping in India. Experts agreed that beekeeping is a very fragmented and unorganized sector. The Government and the entire Honey ecosystem should collaborate to take strong measures to create a robust, transparent, and long-term strategy that can be implemented on the ground to better beekeepers.

The speaker panel included Dr. Naveen Patle, ED-NBB; Mr. Pankaj Prasad, Addl. MD NAFED; Dr. Lakshmi Rao, Asst. Director, CBRTI; Mr.Sitaram Gupta, Founder Samridhh Bharat Abhiyan; Ajay Saini, Bee-keeper & entrepreneur; and was moderated by Namrata Khanna, Director, India Honey Alliance. The opening remarks were initiated by Deepak Jolly, Secretary General, India Honey Alliance.

Reaffirming Dr. Patle’s sentiment, Pankaj Prasad, Addl. MD, NAFED, asserted that “The honey production at the grassroots level is highly unorganized and there is complete lack of technical knowledge for the efficient management of colonies. Further, the poor logistics & management for the migration of bee-colonies is a great concern for the beekeepers. The inadequate infrastructure for production, collection, quality control and storage of honey also needs to be dealt with for tapping the potential of the honey industry at large”.

Dr. Lakshmi Rao, Asst. Director, CBRTI, shed light on the scientific & practical aspects of products made out of beehives for pollen collection, processing, and storage of different types of bee products as these products are an alternate source of income generation with honey.

Mr. Sitaram Gupta, Founder Samridhh Bharat Abhiyan, stressed on the importance of employment generation through honey and authentic honey production through various means. He further pointed out that the Processing Plant holders should open their training centres for beekeepers. Setting up of State Bee Boards was another vital area that he indicated.

Ajay Saini, Bee-keeper and entrepreneur, emphasized on the need to give the correct technology to beekeepers. He further mentioned about focusing on the preservation of the forest plantations and shrubs and setting up of the bee disease diagnostic labs. He also spoke about giving credit facilities and incentives for migration for the welfare of beekeepers at large.

Based on the discussions which ensued, IHA and the experts collectively suggested that labs with state-of-art, cutting-edge technologies be established across states by the government for honey testing. Further, the beekeepers face various challenges at ground level, including unstable pricing structure, unavailability of appropriate welfare programs, inadequate credit facilities, training and capacity framework, etc.

Therefore, IHA would be working towards addressing all these issues by creating policies that can be implemented on the ground and further forming alliances with national and international organizations for the overall growth and development of the entire beekeeping ecosystem.

India Honey Alliance has been formed to create a unified platform for all stakeholders in the honey sector to identify issues and their probable long-term solutions, ranging from technology, training, and consumer awareness programs.