Kathua: Kathua district is vested with diverse agro climatic conditions ranging from subtropical to temperate. The diversity of flora is conducive for beekeeping. During summer season when there is dearth of nectar & pollen in plains of district, there is abundant availability of nectar & pollen in hills of Bani region.
Sushant Sharma, a well educated youth who started this profession with seven days training & 20 beehives with the support of Department Of Agriculture, Kathua in 2017-18, has made tremendous progress in just three years. He is now a Registered Beekeeper with the National Bee Board with 200 Bee hives, having annual honey production of 46 Qtls. & net annual income of Rs. 8.05 lacs in 2019-20. He is selling his produce under trade name VEDIC HONEY ENTERPRISES with certification license from FSSAI (Food Safety & Standard Authority of India) New Delhi. He is also selling his produce online through Amazon.
He established a small Processing unit at home which has grown by leaps and bounds. In future , this aspiring young entrepreneur wants to increase the strength of his apiary up to 600 in next two years & aims at establishment of large Processing unit in District Kathua, so that beekeepers of District Kathua will get modern honey processing facilities at their door steps. His unprecedented success in this profession will definitely provide the inspiration & motivation to other unemployed youths of the district.
Sushant himself explains that Beekeeping is a highly rewarding economic activity which provides self employment, production of honey and other by-products and more importantly, it is instrumental in cross pollination of Agriculture and Horticultural crops, thereby increasing production and productivity of crops by enhancement through efficient pollination.
The market for honey is growing, as healthy eating is trending. India ranks seventh in honey production, with around 65,000 metric tons of honey every year. Studies also reveal that beekeeping employs more than 2.5 lakh farmers in the country, a number that is increasing exponentially.
Apart from his own efforts, Sushant, who holds a bachelor degree in Food Science and Technology, also appreciates the guidance and help provided by the Agriculture Department. He divulged that he ventured into Beekeeping profession about three years ago with the guidance of Department of Agriculture.
Initially, he had seven days Demonstration – cum – Training at Kathua. After training , he was provided with 20 numbers of Beehives and Bee colonies along with appliances & health care medicines on 50% subsidy under CAPEX during 2017-18.
The Department of Agriculture provided all possible technical know- how & consultation to the young beekeeper from time to time for management of his apiary. Within the same year ,owing to his unswerving dedication, hard work & keen interest in profession, he increased his Beehive & Bee colonies up to 80 in numbers by division /multiplication & in 2018-19 he increased the strength of Apiary to 150 numbers & in 2019-20 to 200 numbers. With a flourishing bee count, he started migrating his apiary in nearby states with the cooperation of fellow beekeepers.
After achieving success in his entrepreneurial ambition, Sushant is now ready to help others who want to venture into this profession with his technical and professional know-how. The combined efforts of Agriculture Department and Sushant have borne fruit, or more aptly, have borne honey!!