Written by Cameron Hawkins and Richard Grubb.
After a successful fundraising campaign in late 2013, the team at the Rajanikant Arole Demonstration Farm (RADF) have developed a beekeeping project along with a partner organization in Mumbai, Under the Mango Tree. The project will provide a central demonstration at the RADF and provide training and support to CRHP Women’s Self-Help Groups who wish to replicate the model in their own villages. Last week 10 representatives from across CRHPs programs travelled to Nashik, Maharashtra to attend their first training session in beekeeping.
The sessions are being coordinated in conjunction with the organization ‘Under The Mango Tree’, a social enterprise that operates across six states in India. Last week’s session was the first of a series of sessions that will be held in both Jamkhed and Nashik.
Although there is a long history of beekeeping in India, it is still relatively rare to see hives in rural areas. This is particularly true of the Jamkhed area where beekeeping is almost non-existent. Not only does beekeeping increase agricultural yield, but the honey and royal jelly are very profitable, making it appealing to farmers and women’s Self-Help Groups alike. In an area where agricultural production has been falling steadily for the past decade, the potential benefits of beekeeping to farmers in the Jamkhed area is obvious.
The recent training session in Nashik was split up into two days of both practical and theoretical sessions. Participants were taught the basics of beekeeping, including an introduction to the four types of bees in India, bee box maintenance, and the agricultural and economic benefits of beekeeping. On the second day, participants completed a practical session where they learned about natural colony transfer.
Dnyaneshwar Sutar, 24, a member of CRHP’s Mobile Health Team knew very little about beekeeping prior to the training. Now beekeeping is something he would like to implement within his village. He says of the training, “I learned how important bees are in increasing pollination, which increases agricultural yield, income generation, and overall health. I am grateful for the opportunity to attend this training because now I can teach my friends and other farmers within my village the benefits of beekeeping.” With his new knowledge from this weekend, he is going to try and capture a colony to keep in his village. Since honeybees can pollinate within a 3km radius, this will not only benefit his farm, but his neighbors’ as well.
Over the coming weeks, Under the Mango Tree will be delivering the bee boxes to the RADF and will be sending experts to deliver the next stage of the training. To stay updated on the progress of this project be sure to follow updates on our Facebook and Twitter pages.