February 11, 2022/News
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Experts from across the honey value chain have stressed the need for setting up honey testing labs by the government, better facilities for training, infrastructure and capacity building for beekeepers. They said the government needs to create a more enabling environment for the holistic growth of beekeepers, who are an important part of the honey ecosystem. The experts were speaking at a virtual panel discussion organised by the India Honey Alliance, an association of honey producers, beekeepers, and technology experts recently.

Naveen Patel, executive director at the National Bee Board, said while the National Honey Mission has been launched, there is a big lacuna in maintaining proper data on beekeepers, bee colonies and production.

The webinar was organised to address the issues faced on-ground by beekeepers and to get insights on the various government schemes, scientific and technical information and initiatives to promote beekeeping in India.

Experts agreed that beekeeping is a fragmented and unorganised sector and that the government and the entire honey ecosystem should collaborate to take strong measures to create a robust, transparent and long-term strategy that can be implemented on the ground for the betterment of beekeepers.

Pankaj Prasad, additional MD, NAFED, said, “The honey production at grass-root level is highly unorganised and there is complete lack of technical knowledge for the efficient management of colonies. Further, the poor logistics and management for the migration of bee colonies is a great concern for the beekeepers. The inadequate infrastructure for production, collection, quality control and storage of honey also needs to be dealt with for tapping the potential of the honey industry at large.”

Sitaram Gupta, the founder of Samridhh Bharat Abhiyan, stressed the importance of employment generation through honey and authentic honey production through various means. He pointed out that the Processing Plant holders should open their training centres for beekeepers. He also spoke in favour of setting up State Bee Boards.

India Honey Alliance and sector experts said that labs with state-of-art, cutting-edge technologies be established across states by the government for honey testing.

To be sure, private companies in India are growing the honey market through branded and packaged honey as more and more consumers turn to honey to improve health. India’s packaged honey market is dominated by Dabur. Others include Marico Ltd’s honey under the Saffola brand, Patanjali as well as Emami’s Zandu. An earlier report by the Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) found several Indian honey brands to be adulterated with sugar syrup. These brands allegedly failed the globally accepted nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) test, the CSE report had said.

India Honey Alliance has been formed to create a unified platform for all stakeholders in the honey sector to identify issues and find solutions related to technology, training, and consumer awareness programmes.

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