Apiculture brings cheer to rural bee farmersWith the increasing demand of organic honey made from Chiuri, the locals of Chepang village in Makwanpur have started generating good income from bee farming.
Published at : December 19, 2018
Updated at : December 19, 2018 09:12
With the increasing demand of organic honey made from Chiuri, the locals of Chepang village in Makwanpur have started generating good income from bee farming. The locals of Raksirang Rural Municipality sold processed honey worth Rs10.5 million last year, said Dinesh Chepang, a local bee farmer.
Locals started to reap economic benefits after they started processing the honey. The processing machine—worth Rs6.5 million—was provided by an INGO. Before this, honey was sold without processing.
The machine has been gifted to Jana Chetana Small Farmers Cooperative in Raksirang Rural Municipality where majority of the Chepang live.
According to Dinesh Chepang, chairman of the cooperative, 4,000 kg of processed honey has been already sold. It costs Rs500 per kg. Unprocessed honey fetches Rs300 per kg, he said. “We buy unprocessed honey from farmers at Rs300-350 per kg and sell them at Rs500 per kg after processing.”
Similarly, Raksirang Rural Municipality has also been declared an organic village honey producing area. “It has met the required standards to be declared an organic honey producing area,” said its ward chairman Singha Bahadur Chepang.
Farmers at this rural municipality do not use chemical fertiliser and pesticides in the farm as these can kill local bees. The use of chemical fertiliser and pesticides has been completely banned to produce vegetables and fruits, said the ward chairman.
Encouraged with the income generated from honey, locals have stopped accepting bees from outside districts to the village. The locals kept 5,000 beehives last year and the same amount has been kept to produce honey this year as well.
Bee hives are kept from mid-October to mid-March.
In previous years, farmers used to rear Serena species of bee in traditional wooden hives. They used to sell 2-4 kg of honey. Now, farmers have started rearing bees commercially, which produces 50-2,000 kg of honey.
“Now, the village has adopted commercial bee rearing techniques and getting good returns,” said Rameshwor Ray Yadav, coordinator of the Agriculture Development Office in Raksirang Rural Municipality.
Farmers from Chitwan, Hetauda and Sarlahi used to take their bees to different parts of Makwanpur to feed them chiuri fruits and earned up to Rs1.5 million annually. But the local farmers have stopped welcoming the outsiders now. Similarly, the Agriculture Development Office, Makwanpur has been teaching bee farming skills to locals. Honey prepared from Chiuri is considered good for health. There are more than 100,000 chiuri trees in ward number 6,7 and 8 of Raksirang Rural Municipality.