Primitive tribe in honey harvest business

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Baripada, Aug 14: When the people are crying hoarse to adopt eco-friendly techniques but loves to do it otherise, it is surprising to see the Khadia tribals of Simlipal harvesting honey from the rock beehives in an eco-friendly manner.

Known commonly as rockbees, scientists call them ''Apis dorsala.'' However, the locals call them ''Baghua Mahumaachhi.'' The species is known for its aggressive behaviour.

Bigger in size, the rockbees refuse to be domesticated but the major share of honey is collected from their hives built on walls of rock, or on branches of trees in the wild.

The Khadia tribals of Simlipal are the traditional honey collectors from the hives of the rockbees in the wild, but they never destroy the entire hive, said Swapan Kumar Goswami, ORMAS Zonal Manager.

The Khadias climb atop the tall trees loaded with beehives and cut and collect only the portion of the hive that is saturated with honey, Mr Goswami said.

The Khadias take care for allowing the bees to continue their activities on the uncut portions of the hives. And the worker bees are seen to have filled up the gap caused by the Khadias - the expert honey collectors of Simlipal, sources added.

''We have organised several workshops and training programmes to sensitize the tribals on the need to conserve the diverse bee species found in the wild,'' Mr Goswami said adding that the tribals were even told about the role of bees as pollinators and their unique linkage to the wild plant species.

The Khadias too recognised the unique role of the honey bees in bio-diversity conservation. Recently at a training camp in Bhubaneswar, eco-friendly techniques of honey collection was imparted to nearly 500 Khadias.

ORMAS sources said the women's Self Help Groups had done wonderful works in the collection of honey from the tribals. The women's SHGs had collected nearly ten quintals of honey and netted an annual profit of Rs six lakh, sources said.


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