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Punjab's honey train beats recession

By Super Admin

Ludhiana, April 30 (ANI): Punjab is predominantly an agricultural state and offers various opportunities to agro-based industries.

The leader among honey producers in the country is Doraha-based Kashmir apiaries exports.

The Kashmir apiaries are sending consignments of processed honey to 15 countries.t is a major achievement by Kashmir Apiaries Exports, which is targeting 100 per cent growth in the current fiscal through export of honey to Europe and Africa.It is already exporting processed honey to 45 countries and is confident about raising its turnover from 43.6 million dollars in last fiscal to 80 million dollars in 2009-10.

India's exports have been affected by the economic downturn but the 'honey train' comes as a morale booster.

"It was our dream project to send a train, which carries honey from Punjab to Europe, America and the Middle East. About 90 containers of honey have been loaded in the train, which will be sent to around 15 countries across the world. So, we have named it the 'Honey Train' and given it a slogan 'Honey Train Beats Recession'. At this time of recession, when India's exports have dipped by 35 percent, we are planning to provide a new direction to India's agriculture and horticulture by sending out the honey train," said Shahzada Singh, Director of the Kashmir Apiaries Exports.

India produces a total of 70,000 tons of honey every year, of which 25,000 tons is exported the world over.

Punjab's contribution to Honey export is 5,500 tons, of which 3,000 tons worth three million dollars are exported to the U.S., UK, Europe and West Asia.

And Punjab-based Kashmir Apiaries Exports has made a significant contribution to overseas sales. At present we have about 25,000 colonies and in the coming years we are planning to increase them to 100,000-200,000 to boost our production. We are also training beekeepers, so that they can produce better quality of honey. We have laboratories, where experts test honey before exporting it abroad. Europe's specifications are very strict and we have to send honey, which meets those specifications and matches their quality parameters. We are supplying antibiotic free honey to them," said Jagjit Singh, Managing Direcetor, Kashmir Apiaries Exports.

"According to me, there is huge potential in agro-based industries and I believe that we have only tapped one to two per cent. The industry has immense prospects. Till now, India has been exporting raw material but I think the time has come when we should start processing and packaging our products to sell it directly in global market. India offers good raw material, which it can export after processing and packaging," said Shahzada Singh, Director of the Kashmir Apiaries Exports.

The company's backbone comprises a nationwide network involving thousands of small honey producers.

It sells honey sells under four brand names and 140-odd private labels, placing it among the world's top five honey processors.

Kashmir Apiaries has been able to boost its exports by importing technology to improve quality. And, it plans to export its products to 100 countries by 2010 and market high-value byproducts like royal jelly and bee venom. By Karan Kapoor (ANI)

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