Kashmir touches record honey production with 20,000 bee colonies

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Srinagar, Oct 13 (UNI) Honey production in Kashmir valley that has 20,000 bee colonies at present, has touched all time high of 200 metric tonnes with some of it finding space on english tables.

The valley of flowers has the unique distinction of having organised bee keeping, dating back to 14th century AD, and has the striking similarities with countries in Mediterranean, West Asia and North African region.

According to experts, the honey harvesting in the valley partly resembles that of Egypt and Greece with distinction of producing white honey.

An official spokesman said the Apiculture Development was expected to show an upswing in its graph of number of bee colonies in near future.

The honey production in the valley, as per records, is also rising with 125 tonnes production registered in 2005-06, 215 tonnes in 2006-07, 200 tonnes last year.

He said the targeted production for the year 2008-09 has been set up to 300 tonnes and for 2009-10 was 350 tonnes.

Despite certain limitations, Apiculture if pursued in systematic manner and duly regulated by the people associated with it, could improve the economy of a number of people.

Experts said due to population growth, farming families are turning small and marginal and the state's average land holding has come down considerably affecting Agriculture sector, which was mainstay of rural population.

Against this backdrop, the agriculture exclusively will not be able to sustain the needs of growing population therefore farmers need additional vocations, they said adding bee keeping could be one of the vocations that could make out living of the farmers and other rural masses move comfortable.

According to official figures available here valley had produced over 152 MTs of honey in the year 2000 valuing at Rs 1.20 crore.

The Kashmir honey holds its advantage as it is considered rich and the best in its morphological character than its counter parts in the rest of the country.

UNI BAS ASM GL VC1512

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