Bee-keeping, a thriving profession in Rajouri in Jammu

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Rajouri, Sept 27 : Farmers in Jammu and Kashmir's Rajouri District are supplementing their income through bee-keeping, earning good returns by adopting modern techniques.

They use boxes and other modern gadgets provided at subsidized rates by the local administration.

In the past 15 years, the Agriculture Development Authority (ADA) of Rajouri district has promoted bee-keeping on modern lines to supplement the primary sources of income of agriculturists in the district. It has offered honeybees and boxes to the farmers at half the price.

"We offer 50 per cent concession on the bees and the boxes that farmers use. Earlier, there was a type of bee apis centia in the Rajouri district which was became extinct due to an epidemic. Now, we have introduced a new type called apis mellifera which collects greater amount of honey. We collect about 12-15 kg of honey from one box. Apiculture is fairly successful in Naushera in Rajouri where suitable flora is available for the practice," said MA Khan, District Agriculture Development Officer, Rajouri.

Most of the people are doing a good business though some face difficulties due to non-availability of sugar to feed the honey bees.

"I am doing well. I am doing it as a side business. I extract about 12 kg of honey from one box," said Kewal Kishan, a farmer.

The farmers want the administration to address if bee-keeping is to be popularised on a mass scale. These include provision of soft loans and improving the marketing structure.

"In order to sell our products under the banner of our cooperative society of Naushera, we want to get loans at low interest rates," Daulat Ram, another farmer said.

According to the official data, there are 1400 colonies of bees in the district.

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