AMUL Honey to increase the income of small farmers
Amul has diversified its range of food products by launching ‘Amul Honey” through Union Minister for Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare Narendra Singh Tomar on September. It has been done through the active collaboration of its parent body Gujarat Cooperative Milk Marketing Federation Ltd. (GCMMF) with ‘National Bee Board (NBB)’.
Tomar has emphasized the importance of National Beekeeping and Honey Mission in increasing the income of small farmers, which is being implemented in the country for doubling income of farmers/beekeepers through beekeeping with the budgetary allocation of Rs. 500 crores.
Tomar says that there are 86% small farmers in the country. In order to increase the income of these small farmers, it is necessary to connect them with other dimensions of agriculture like beekeeping. He adds that Prime Minister Narendra Modi had expressed his desire for a sweet revolution on the soil of Gujarat and by launching Amul Honey, India has started the journey towards fulfilling the dream of the Prime Minister.
He expressed that quality of honey is a major concern in the country for which 5 large scale Regional Honey Testing Labs and 100 Mini Honey Testing Labs are being set up all over the country. “It should be our constant effort that the quality of our honey products should also meet the global standards as there are lots of export opportunities in this sector”, he added. The Minister assured the beekeepers/ farmers of the country that Government of India will provide all necessary support for promotion & development of beekeeping in the country.
Appreciating efforts made by Gujarat Cooperative Milk Marketing Federation (GCMMF), Tomar said Amul has not only set up a milestone in the direction of the White Revolution but it also expanded in the milk processing sector and established itself as a global brand. Beside this, Amul also provides employment opportunities to marginal farmers and significantly contributes in overall progress of the country in dairy sector. The Minister also assured GMMF that the Agriculture Ministry will look into the proposal for establishing a testing lab in Gujarat.
Dr. R.S. Sodhi, Managing Director, Gujarat Cooperative Milk Marketing Federation Ltd. points out that Dairy Cooperatives and their infrastructural facilities can be simultaneously used for Honey Production through their established set up of 84 Dairy Plants over all the country.
Honey is a widely known ayurvedic immunity booster for being a phytonutrient powerhouse and for its antibacterial, antiseptic and antifungal properties.
According to Sodhi, earlier the biggest constraint to get into branded honey segment was testing infrastructure for the quality and genuineness of honey. There was no dependable laboratory in India, and the samples had to be sent to European labs for testing.
“That was costly and time-consuming. Now that the NDDB has opened a modern honey-testing facility in Anand, we can think about collecting honey from farmers and marketing it under our brand so that consumers can get pure and genuine honey at an affordable price,” says Sodhi.
It may be noted that in July this year, Agriculture Minister Tomar had inaugurated India’s first government honey-testing lab set up by the National Dairy Development Board (NDDB) at Anand.
Incidentally, a lot of farmers in Northern Gujarat in Banaskantha area have gone into honey production. Prime Minister Narendra Modi, during his visit to Banaskantha in December 2016 had lauded farmers of the district for taking the lead in the “sweet revolution” with honey beekeeping and honey production along with animal husbandry.
Banas dairy, a member union of GCMMF, had launched its own packaged honey called Banas Honey.
For Amul, getting into large-scale honey procurement on a “cooperative model” is a win on both sides. One side opens up a new consumer market for the dairy giant, while on the other it improves sourcing for its own captive consumption of honey for varied products, including butter cookies and the recently-launched prasad product — Panchamrit.
The push for honey-bee cultivation, initially set to start from Gujarat – is seen as a big income generating option for farmers in other parts of the country as well as it requires low investment and provides dependable allied economic activity to farming and animal husbandary.
Amul, through its large network of 222 district cooperative milk unions has over 1.6 crore milk producer members, who pour their milk in over 1.85 lakh dairy cooperative societies across the country.