Apiculture (Bee keeping) is an agro based enterprise, which farmers can take up for additional income generation. Honey bees convert nectar of flowers into honey and store them in the combs of the hive. Beekeeping has a predominant role to play in pollination, honey production and wax production. Honey and wax are traditionally used in medicines, cosmetics, ointments, candles, ayurvedic drugs, improving appetite etc.
Integration between Apiculture and Agriculture is essential for mutual benefits and development to pollinate and increase productivity of major crops which are self-sterile and need insect pollination.
Advantages of beekeeping as an income generation activity:
1. Bee keeping requires less time, money and infrastructure investments.
2. Honey and beeswax can be produced from an area of little agricultural value.
3. The Honey bee does not compete for resources with any other agricultural enterprise.
4. Beekeeping has positive ecological consequences. Bees play an important role in the pollination of many flowering plants, thus increasing the yield of certain crops such as sunflower and various fruits.
5. Honey is a delicious and highly nutritious food. By the traditional method of honey hunting many wild colonies of bees are destroyed. This can be prevented by raising bees in boxes and producing honey at home.
6. Beekeeping can be initiated by individuals or groups.
7. The market potential for honey and wax is high.
Problems associated with beekeeping:
1. Non-availability of honey boxes to the beekeepers
2. Sustainable market access for primary producers
3. Inadequate training in the management of apiary.
4. Lack of honey marketing facilities
A viable proposition in this regard is to strengthen the beekeeping co-operatives and biotechnological interventions to upgrade the qualitative and quantitative production.