Located about 180 kilometers south of New Delhi, the city of Bharatpur in Rajasthan is one of the largest honey-producing regions of the country, with a total of 1,785 tonnes generated in 2016.
Farmers across the nation have been grappling with shrinking farm sizes, unsustainable environmental practices, and the new Farm Laws for quite some time now. With conventional agriculture becoming more expensive and challenging by the day, several farmers are considering other alternative and transformative sources of livelihood, as described by The India Forum.
The situation is no different in Rajasthan's Bharatpur. The sight of bright yellow flowers with a swarm of bees hovering around the petals is not an uncommon sight here. Beekeeping is one of the primary occupations for thousands of individuals in the city. The activity needs both skill and labour. And, besides enabling people to earn a good income, it can be done along with mustard farming and is known to help in boosting the crop yield by as much as 20 to 25 per cent.
Beekeeping was first formalised and promoted by Lupin Human Welfare and Research Foundation, the CSR wing of the renowned pharma company, Lupin Limited. The organisation not only focuses on creating and implementing alternative and sustainable livelihood models in rural areas, but also in providing infrastructural facilities to the people. Complemented by their research and awareness-generation programmes, the organisation is presently working towards creating employment opportunities for over 15,000 local youth and farmers in the district through beekeeping.
One of the success stories which is worth mentioning is that of a village named Nagla Kalyan. Situated near the town of Uchchain in Bharatpur, it is home to 150 families who have been maintaining 300 colonies of bees and together drawing an annual income of one crore rupees!
Integral to the production of wax, honey is a sought after commodity especially in countries like Mexico, Canada and the US. Hence, many exporters and traders buy it directly from beekeepers with no middlemen involved in the process.
In today’s times, beekeeping is being seen as a low-investment and high-income occupation. After all, in addition to possessing other advantages, it generates a lot more produce, be it any kind of crop - oilseeds, pulses, or fruits and vegetables.
Edited by Anjali Hans
Some resources to help you learn more about the current state of agriculture in India and apiculture in Bharatpur: