Beekeeping/Apiculture refers to the keeping of honey bees in hives and collection of honey and allied products from them. Though collection of honey from hives of wild bees has a history dating to about 15000 years, the system of keeping honey bee colonies began in the 18th Century in Egypt.
Bee keeping has been gaining popularity over the years because of the financial and medicinal benefits of honey becoming more and more well known to all. It is a cottage industry requiring minimal investment in terms of capital and labour both. If the benefit of increased crop production due to pollination done by honey bees kept is added, apiculture becomes a still more desirable part time occupation.
In Karnataka, apiculture is an important activity that is popular in the areas of Western Ghats. Kodagu district is well known for branded honey produced from apiculture practiced in Coffee Estates. With the areas in Eastern Karnataka increasing their area under horticulture, apiculture has the potential to become a preferred occupation there too.
The Government of Karnataka, through its department of Horticulture, has been promoting apiculture under the Suvarna Bhoomi Yojane. It was felt necessary to have an evaluation done of how the scheme was doing in the State. The Karnataka Evaluation Authority (KEA) was given the task of its evaluation by the Planning, Programme Monitoring and Statistics Ministry. The study was outsourced to the Technical Consultancy Services Organization of Karnataka (TECSOK), Bangalore.
The study has shows some interesting results like-
The most preferred bee for apiculture, Apis cerana, has two variety; one red in color and another black.
Migrating bee keeping is very rare in the State, but has immense potential and needs to be promoted.
Apiculture is practiced more as a hobby than a serious business in most of the districts.
Honey produced by apiculture fetches better price in the market than the honey collected in the wild.
The study has received constant support and encouragement from the Principal Secretary, Planning, Programme Monitoring, and Statistics Department of the Government of Karnataka. The study could not have been possible without the continuous help and support of the officers of the Department of Horticulture of Karnataka. The study has had the benefit of being improved and improvised by the academic and contextual inputs of the members of the Technical Committee of KEA.
I hope that the evaluation study will provide insightful and relevant inputs to the Department of Horticulture in Karnataka, and that they will, taking clues from the findings and recommendations of the evaluation report, take suitable measures to improve the scheme still better, so that its desired objectives are achieved.
1.0 Beekeeping / Apiculture is a Cottage Industry. Bees harvest nectar and pollen from flowering plants and provide honey which is valued as food and medicine for ages. Bees are efficient pollinators in both natural and agricultural ecosystems and help in increasing the farm yields. Hence the government thought it fit to have a separate scheme for promoting scientific Apiculture particularly with the species Apis cerana. Apiculture scheme was earlier with the Industries & Commerce Department and was implemented through the Khadi & Village Industries Board. It was shifted to Horticulture Department during the year 2011-12.
Beekeeping Activity is closely linked to agriculture & horticulture farming of various crops. The pollination service through insects is prominently carried out by bees of different varieties viz., Apis dorsata, Apis cerana, Apis mellifera, Apis florea, Apis trigona, etc. Among these species, Apis cerana colonies are easy to maintain in bee boxes by providing conducive atmosphere. The honey yield varies from species to species. Quantity of honey collection by A. trigona & A. florea is negligible. Apis dorsata is a wild bee and cannot be maintained in bee boxes. A. mellifera is good in collection of four times the average quantity of honey collected by Apis cerana. But, it is difficult to maintain in stationery beekeeping and in local conditions. So, Apis mellifera beekeeping has failed except, one or two success stories in Uttara Kannada & Dakshina Kannada districts. In order to popularise beekeeping, honey production and consumption the benefits need to be popularised among the farming community. In addition to this, the constraints need to overcome in order to successfully maintain bee colonies. The benefits of beekeeping are as follows:
Bees help in cross pollination thus they increase the productivity of crops.
Proper utilisation of natural resources.
Unemployed youth can start this business with minimal funds
Three lakh man days to maintain, 10,000 bee colonies.
73,000 man days to manufacture appliances / equipments.
Net income from 100 bee colonies is around Rs.1.70 lakhs / annum.
It helps in rural development and promotes small village industry.
The Geographical area of Karnataka has been divided in to 10 agro climatic zones depending upon the rainfall, water resources, soil conditions, atmospheric temperature, etc. These are termed as Zone – 1 to Zone – 10 starting from Bidar as Zone – 1 to Uttara Kannada & Dakshina Kannada as Zone – 10 as shown in Annexe – 1. These zones have different cropping pattern due to above said climatic conditions. The climate and cropping pattern have major influence on beekeeping activity in the State.
Beekeeping is prominently developed in hilly areas with forest due to availability of nectar throughout the year. The popular bee species in Karnataka is Apis cerana. It is suitable for rising in bee boxes for both stationery and migratory beekeeping, the honey yield will be lower than Apis mellifera bee species. In addition to this, Apis mellifera, an Italian species is also practiced in beekeeping for higher yield of honey without the threat of swarming. It is suitable for migratory beekeeping because of very high feed requirement compare to Apis cerana and should be available throughout the year including off flowering season. Another species – Apis dorsata is the wild bee, not suitable for beekeeping in boxes.
Beekeeping has immense role in pollination service, thereby enhances high yield & quality of agriculture & horticulture crops. It is prominently noticed in case of oil seeds and vegetables. It has major role in seed production in poly house. Honey and other by-products like bees wax, royal jelly, pollens, propalis, bee venon, etc., are of great economic importance. Bee is the friend but not foe to mankind.
In Karnataka, beekeeping is noticeably developed in Kodagu, Uttara Kannada, Dakshina Kannada, Shimoga, Chickmagalur, etc.
The Government of Karnataka has been encouraging beekeeping activity in the State as an income & employment generating activity to the farmers / unemployed rural youths in the unorganised sector through various schemes and programmes in addition to boost yield of Agriculture & Horticulture produce in the State.
The Department of Horticulture provided funding for Apiculture development under Suvarna Bhoomi Yojane to purchase of bee boxes and bee colonies in the first year of implementation, which is continued during 2012-13. A budget provision of Rs. 200 lakhs was given for the development of Madhuvana and Apiculture activities. Under this scheme, short duration orientation training on beekeeping techniques are imparted to farmers, youths & women. Bee boxes and bee colonies distributed at subsidised rates to the trainees at the end of the training to practice the activity commercially by applying the techniques studies during the training programme.
The schemes implemented during 2011-12 & 2012-13 have been assigned to TECSOK by Karnataka Evaluation Authority for Rapid Assessment of Apiculture Scheme in Karnataka implemented by the Department of Horticulture, Government of Karnataka.
TECSOK duly acknowledge KEA for assigning the Evaluation of Rapid Assessment of Apiculture Scheme in Karnataka and providing timely guidance in successful completion of the report. Further, we acknowledge cooperation extended by the line department – Department of Horticulture, Government of Karnataka, officials & beekeeping assistants during field visits and collection of requisite details required for the Evaluation Report.
Chapter – 2 : Objectives, Terms of Reference & Methodology 2.1 Key Objectives of Madhuvana & Apiculture Scheme
To create awareness among farmers in Karnataka on the importance of beekeeping practice for honey production and increasing farm production through bee pollination.
Establishment of bee nurseries and production of disease resistant bee colonies in Madhuvanas for supplying to the farmers on regular basis.
To distribute bee boxes and colonies to the interested beekeepers.
To popularise honey production and consumption through extension activities.
To create additional self employment opportunities in the rural areas.
Terms of Reference
To assess the effectiveness of Madhuvana and Apiculture scheme implemented by Horticulture Department.
To provide a snapshot of the economic contribution of Apiculture to the participating households, particularly on the small and marginal farmers.
Suggestions for improvement in the scheme for encouraging beekeeping activity.
Interview schedule to collect following details from other stake holders viz., farmers, implementing agencies including madhuvana incharge, bee processors, etc.
Awareness about the beekeeping and their opinion.
Impact of beekeeping activity in the area and the improvement in the crop productivity.
Problems faced by the implementing agency and suggestion for implementing the scheme.
Adequate availability of honey for processing purpose and source of supply (locally, from outside, within the state or outside the state), mode of processing, suggestion for expansion of beekeeping activity, no. of persons employed, etc.
Functions & problems of Madhuvana.
The data / information collected have been incorporated in relevant Chapters.
2.4.2 Sampling Design & Research Methodology
As per the data made available from the department, 4,550 beneficiaries are covered under Suvarna Bhoomi Yojane during the year 2011-12 and 6,075 beneficiaries have been trained and given 5,100 bee boxes with bee colony during the year 2012-13.
During the field visits, 605 beneficiaries who have been trained and supplied with bee boxes with bee colony from 10 Agro Climatic Zones, have been covered. Due representation has been given to cover farmers, youths & women and weaker section of society.
In addition, 50 stakeholders including farmers, madhuvana incharge, implementing agencies, honey processors across 10 agro climatic zones have been covered during the field visit.
Potential locations for field visit have been finalised representing 10 agro climatic zones across the state in consultation with the nodal officer / district officers of the department of horticulture.
Team of officers from TECSOK have visited the selected location to collect first hand information through FGD and discussion with stakeholders.
The subjective and objective data collected have been analysed by using suitable statistical technique and the outcome of the analysis have been suitably incorporated in the report.
Details of field visits representing zone-wise, district-wise, name of villages, sample size covered is given in Annexe - 2.
Chapter - 3 : Scheme Details & Achievement
The Apiculture activity in the State has been navigated by formulating the scheme. The Department of Horticulture has engaged actively in development of Apiculture activity across the State. It has formulated the scheme for the year 2011-12 in the name of Suvarna Bhoomi Yojane - ¯ÉPÀÌ ²Ã¶ðPÉ Apiculture 2851-00-200-0-01. Later, in 2012-13 the previous scheme has been revised and formulated a new scheme – Madhuvana & Beekeeping Development Plan (State Sector S-21) – ¯ÉPÀÌ ²Ã¶ðPÉ: 2851-00-200-0-01 (AiÉÆÃd£É). These Schemes have been operated by Horticulture Department for Apiculture development. The salient features of these two schemes are provided below:
3.1.1 Suvarna Bhoomi Yojane
The Government of Karnataka has earmarked the grant of Rs.625 lakhs for the scheme.
Each beneficiary will be provided Rs.10,000/- incentive to cover 6,125 beneficiaries.
The beneficiary should have at least four new bee boxes and engage in Apiculture.
The scheme aims for expansion of high yielding and new varieties with improved technology for 2.50 lakh farmers and five lakh acres of land in order to enhance income.
Involvement of private associations & institutions with Horticulture Department, University of Agricultural Sciences, National Horticulture Mission, National Bee Board, Honey Cooperative Society, Karnataka State Khadi & Village Industries Board, Bangalore University, ICRISAT, etc., by encouraging farmers for development of Apiculture.
3.1.2 Madhuvana & Beekeeping Development Plan
This plan has following sub-components.
Main objectives of Apiculture Development Scheme
Providing 3 days training to the identified beneficiaries from district / taluk under entire Horticulture Development Scheme.
Providing 3 days training to Contract Employees appointed for Apiculture Development.
Organising training for officers & technical staff of Apiculture Division regarding new developments in Apiculture.
Organising 3 months Certificate Training Course at Bhagamandala Apiculture Training Centre, Madikeri.
Setting up of 10 Bee Propagation and 10 Honey Production Centres in Department Madhuvanas.
Organising Madhu Mahothsava at District & State level.
Intensive publicity for Apiculture through hand bills, video & audios.
Selected beneficiaries are provided free training by Horticulture Department for 3 days.
Trained beneficiaries will be provided bee box at 50% of its cost with bee colony not exceeding Rs.1,500/- for each.
Each trainee at Bhagamandala Apiculture Training Centre is provided stipend of Rs.750/- per month for 3 months with free lodging facility during training period.
The latest scheme is operated by both State & District schemes for development of Apiculture in the State.
3.2 Scheme Achievements Suvarna Bhoomi Yojana: The scheme was implemented for the year 2011-12 with the target to cover 6,125 beneficiaries. The details are provided in the table below: