KVIC’s Honey Mission Earns First Income for Migrant Workers, with Higher Yield following in Coming Months
The self-sustainability measures initiated by Khadi and Village Industries Commission (KVIC) in wake of the Covid-19 pandemic have begun yielding results. The distressed migrant workers who were engaged with KVIC’s Honey Mission in Uttar Pradesh in the month of August, have reaped their first honey harvest and are awaiting a bumper yield in the months from December to March.
To begin with, five migrant workers in Western UP’s Muzaffarnagar district extracted 253 kg of honey from their 50 honey bee boxes that were distributed to them on August 25 this year. Raw honey sells at an average of Rs 200 per kg and at this rate it is estimated to fetch nearly Rs 50,000 to the migrant workers. This means an average income of Rs 10,000 to each of these beneficiaries. A total of 700 bee boxes were distributed to 70 migrant workers after training by KVIC in this region. Honey extraction from remaining bee boxes will continue in coming days.
The production of honey from these boxes will increase by at least 5 times in the months from December to March as the Eucalyptus and Mustard crop will be in full bloom during the season. Each of these bee boxes will produce nearly 25 kg of honey during the peak season. Further, the beekeepers will be able to migrate their boxes to nearby states like Haryana, Rajasthan and Eastern Uttar Pradesh where honey bees will find abundance of pollen and nectar and thus add to honey production.
KVIC Chairman Shri Vinai Kumar Saxena says that it was heartening to see the migrant workers reconnecting to their roots and engaging in self-employment. “These distressed workers who had returned to their home from other cities were roped in with Honey Mission as part of the Aatmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyan. It is great to see that in just three months the workers have begun earning livelihood on their own. The production of honey and their income will grow by manifold in coming months,” Saxena said.
The beneficiaries thanked KVIC for the support and said beekeeping enabled them to earn their own livelihood without having to migrate to other cities in search of jobs. “I am thankful to the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi whose vision for Aatmanirbhar Bharat has created local employment for us. We are five workers who got 50 bee boxes and in just 3 months we have extracted 253 kg of honey,” said Amit Kumar, a KVIC beekeeper in Saharanpur district.
Notably, responding to the Prime Minister’s call for Aatmanirbhar Bharat, KVIC engaged hundreds of migrant workers in Uttar Pradesh and Bihar and engaged them with its flagship schemes like Honey Mission, Kumhar Sashaktikaran Yojana and Project DigniTEA among others. Apart from distributing them with essential tool kits; KVIC also provided technical training and supervision to the new beekeepers so as to support them.
It may be noted that under the “Aatmanirbhar Bharat” goal, Minister of State for MSME, Shri Pratap Chandra Sarangi had in August distributed 700 bee boxes to 70 migrant workers of Saharanpur and Bulandshahr districts of Uttar Pradesh, thus providing them with livelihood opportunity under Honey Mission.
These migrant workers – 40 from Saharanpur and 30 from Bulandshahr – had returned to their hometown from states like Karnataka, Maharashtra, Gujarat, facing financial distress due to Covid-19 lockdown. Rising to the call of the Prime Minister for “Aatmanirbhar Bharat”, KVIC identified these workers, imparted them 5-days training on beekeeping and provided the necessary tool kit and bee boxes to them to carry out beekeeping activities. The entire western Uttar Pradesh region, with abundance of flora that includes a variety of crops, is ideal for honey production. Bee boxes were distributed at KVIC’s training center in Panjokera.
It was rightly said by the government at that time that the initiative would create not only create local employment; it would also contribute to increasing India’s honey production which is the core objective of Honey Mission. “It is a great initiative. Creating employment to migrant workers at their doorsteps will make them self-reliant,” Sarangi had said.
Besides increasing honey-production in the country, the scheme has also helped the marketability , and thus further added to the inome of the bee-keepers, of related products such as bee wax, pollen, propolis, royal jelly, and bee venom.
It may be noted that the Honey Mission ,launched by KVIC 3 years ago, aims at creating employment for farmers, Adivasis, women and unemployed youth. The KVIC has already distributed more than 1.35 lakh bee boxes in states like Jammu & Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Punjab, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Arunachal Pradesh, Assam and Tripura among others. This has benefited 13,500 people across the country while producing nearly 8500 MT honey.