COLKS: How long have you been harvesting honey?
Melan: I have been into beekeeping since I was a kid but I don’t remember the year. It was passed on to me by my father. Our family has been into beekeeping for a very long time but it was just for self-consumption. I started with one traditional bee box and with the help garnered from my family members and from the knowledge I gained from training, I was able to have a total of 125 boxes in my apiary.
COLKS: Apart from beekeeping, what are the other sources of income for you?
Melan: Apart from beekeeping, I also raise chickens, goats, pigs and cows. Initially, I thought of starting a business of selling goat meat but I didn’t find any market for it. So I relied on the sale of chicken and honey. I enjoy beekeeping the most, because the amount of time I spend on it is very less as compared to poultry or cattle rearing. It is the most profitable of the lot.
COLKS: How has COLKS helped you during training and after that?
Melan: I heard about apiculture training at COLKS from someone in my block. So I enrolled myself in the block and was called one day for the training. The training was for 6 days but I managed to learn a lot. It helped me to increase the number of bee boxes thereby increasing the production. During training they said they will help with the supply chain and provide the market for the harvested honey. After training they have been buying from me and the training has made it possible for me to produce more honey for them. After the training I came back to my village and I am aiming to make around 225 bee boxes. In the initial stage I started with one colony and now I have learned to replicate my bee boxes and my earning has increased. Now there are people in my own village who are asking help from me to help them in honey production.
COLKS: Has your honey production yield increased after training at COLKS ?
Melan: I have been able to increase my yield from 50 kgs to 100 kgs now. I keep on getting many orders from the city. I also have regular customers which makes me very happy. I intend to make more bee boxes so as to increase my yield even more.
COLKS: What kind of intervention is needed to increase the yield of honey in the state?
Melan: Many of the people I know are all into traditional beekeeping. As for me, I too practise traditional beekeeping. But traditional beekeeping comes with a cost and the honey production is not that great. But after the knowledge we have garnered from training, I feel the honey production will now increase at a rapid rate. Most of my friends are also into it now and I also go to help them. I feel, that the government should provide us with modern bee boxes, as this will definitely help us to increase the production of honey.