Devbhumi Making A Sweet Buzz With Organic Honey In Uttarakhand
Rural & Marketing|March 2017

Albert Einstein once quoted that “If the bee disappeared offthe surface of the globe, then man would have only four years of life left. No more bees, no more pollination, no more plants, no more animals, no more man.” Sandeep Rawat tells a success story of beekeeping from Uttarakhand.

Sandeep Rawat

Einstein’s remark fairly sums up the importance of bees for human civilization, it also alarms us against our role in disturbing nature’s harmony. These bees not only play an important role in pollinating the plants but also in creation of honey that is widely used for commercial production and human consumption. Uttarakhand, known as Devbhumi, has moved ahead in beekeeping and interestingly rural women producers are bringing sweetness to the lives of thousands of households in Garhwal region of the state. It brings the classic case of how a local enterprise with professional support is helping in transforming the lives of thousands of rural women both socially and economically.

Garhwal Himalayas of Uttarakhand Facing the majestic snow-covered peaks of Mt. Chaukhamba in Garhwal Himalayas of Uttarakhand is situated a fairly large town known as Guptakashi which has emerged a major hub for beekeeping business in the state. The region, blessed with densely populated flora and fauna, attracts Apis cerana indica, commonly known as Indian honey bees. These indigenous species of honey bees are considered as relatively non aggressive and rarely exhibit swarming behavior, which makes them ideal for bee keeping.

Traditional beekeeping and fragmented production Beekeeping has been a traditional activity of many households since ages. Warmth of the traditionally made hill houses in the relatively cold weather of mountains has always attracted bees to create their colonies near human habitation. While the local women have been indulged in beekeeping since ages and selling it in local markets, its commercialisation and their linkages with market has always been a matter of concern for them. This fragmented production in the region and its unorganized sales have led to poor price realization for these honey producers. Traditionally they have been selling this honey to local shopkeepers or the pilgrimage tourists who come to them for purchasing honey during the char dham yatra season. This unpredictable sale was a demotivating factor for them to take honey production seriously as a regular livelihood opportunity. Also, the fragmented production was a major hindrance for promoting this pure organic honey as a branded product in the urban centers like Delhi.

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