Shillong, Dec 21: Focusing on giving a further boost to the Apiculture Mission in the State, Meghalaya Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare Minister Banteidor Lyngdoh on Tuesday distributed bee hives to master beekeepers and released the Mission Document of Apiculture Mission 2.0 in a function held at the Conference Hall, Directorate of Agriculture, Shillong.
Altogether 35 master beekeepers hailing from Ri Bhoi District, West Jaintia Hills District, East Jaintia Hills District, East Khasi Hills District, East West Khasi Hills District and South West Khasi Hills District received bee hives on the day.
The programme was organized by the Directorate of Horticulture, Government of Meghalaya as part of the commemoration of the 50th Anniversary of Statehood.
Speaking on the occasion, the Minister stressed on the importance of scientific bee rearing for larger production of honey. Under Apiculture Mission 2.0, the Government is committed to work closely with the farmers and get their feedback so that any intervention made will yield positive results, he said. Urging beekeepers to come forward and approach the officers at the district level, he pointed out the importance of clarifying doubts for their benefit.
Lamenting the procurement of local honey at low cost by companies from outside the state which is then repackaged, branded and resold at a much higher cost, Lyngdoh stressed on the need for proper branding and packing.
Drawing focus on the dwindling number of bees, particularly in urban areas and in places where chemical fertilizers are used, he stressed on the importance of preserving the environment for the benefit and survival of all. He also urged all line departments to work together for the benefit of the farmers of the state.
Commissioner and Secretary, Department of Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare, Government of Meghalaya, Dr. Vijay Kumar, in his address said that although the State boasts of a variety of honey and has a huge potential to produce quality honey, it is unfortunate that the State is still unable to fully leverage on this resource.
While a number of local entrepreneurs have been able to add value to honey through proper branding, he lamented the inability to create a value chain at the famers level wherein honey is yet to be produced at a larger scale and processed properly, packaged and sold in a way that gets the best price for farmers.
Informing that the goal of Apiculture Mission 2.0 is to work and support existing clusters while at the same time create new clusters and identify master beekeepers, he said that in the first phase of the Mission master beekeepers will be provided with free boxes, following which clusters will be trained and subsequently bee boxes will be provided to farmers at 50% subsidy and 50% interest free bank loan.