Celebrating the Honey Bees and their valuable contribution to mankind
Identifying beekeeping as one of the important contribution for sustainable development of agriculture and horticulture, World Honeybee Day 2018 was celebrated at Multi Utility Centre, Dimapur, on 21st of May with the theme “Save the Bees” by Nagaland Beekeeping & Honey Mission (NBHM), State Designated Agency for Beekeeping & Development programmes.
The World Honeybee Day was commemorated to create awareness on the significance of beekeeping and its usefulness in pollination of crops, thereby increasing income of the farmers or beekeepers by way of increasing crop yield and providing honey and other beehive products, like bee wax, bee pollen, propolis, royal jelly, bee venom, comb honey, etc. which may serve as source of livelihood for rural poor.
The relationship between humans and bees predate agriculture. Apiculture and agriculture developed in synergy over the millennia. Beekeeping and agriculture work well together because both the farmers as well as the beekeepers depend on the health of bees. Pollinators are an important part of the ecosystem. Sustainable agriculture requires effective pollination. Addressing the gathering Shri Butang, Additional Director Agriculture enlightened about the value of beekeeping as income generating activity that could provide employment to a large section of youth and farmers.
The use of pesticides, fertilizers and non-renewable energy has upset the natural balances within ecosystems, causing a rapid decline in bee populations. Therefore pesticides must be used correctly and appropriately. Speaking on the occasion, Dr.Elithung Lotha, Director Horticulture stressed upon the importance of honey bee pollinators and encouraged the farmers and beekeepers to work diligently and ensure protection of honey bee avoiding use of chemicals as it may endanger the bees. He further advised the gathering to avoid using of pesticides particularly in the morning as that is the time of pollination by the honey bees.
Beekeeping plays a valuable role in improving rural livelihoods by offering a large income generating potential with minimal investments. It can be started with equipment and tools that can be sourced locally and in many instances skills and knowledge required for such an enterprise are found within local traditions. Participation of rural women and youth in beekeeping activities provides a unique opportunity to improve rural livelihood and hence poverty reduction. Beekeeping can be done by all ages and gender and requires relatively low capital and does not require daily attention. By introducing beekeeping as an economic enterprise and building on pre-existent skills will improve the knowledge and capacity of small-scale farmers. This will enhance local traditions in beekeeping, while developing such an enterprise to the benefit of many in the local community. Dr. D. J Rajkhowa, Joint Director, ICAR, Jharnapani lamented that northeast is a unique example of resource rich country but are deficit in everything. It has good soil, subsistent farming, abundant water, favourable climate, 60% young population etc., yet it is lagging behind in everything. Even today it cannot have marketable surplus except few. Productivity is less in northeast states as compared to other mainland states. He further said that one of the most welcome approaches to maintain self sustaining and enhancing farmers’ income is to encourage integrated farming system that was being practiced by our forefathers. One can include dairy, fishery, beekeeping etc. This would be much more complementary for the honeybee.
The efforts and accomplishments of NBHM were exhibited through power presentation and few of the beekeeping stakeholders spoke about their experiences, struggle, success and the profit they received from beekeeping during the event. As part of World Honeybee Day celebration exhibition cum sale of honey products were included. The event was concise and notable.
The Nagaland Beekeeping and Honey Mission (NBHM) is a mission mode programme launched by the Government of Nagaland in October 2007 with a vision to create a road map for the promotion and development of the nascent beekeeping and honey enterprise. In 2011, the Government of Nagaland has declared the mission as the State Designated Agency (SDA) for all beekeeping development programs in Nagaland. NBHM with its visions, objectives and strategies is aimed to address the various challenges and constraints that come in the way of this promising sector, at the same time, it endeavours to provide the much needed technical and scientific inputs for improving on the existing traditional methods. Today Nagaland stands as the leading honey producing destination in the North East region.