Beekeeping earns a living while saving the environment

Gangtok, 03 Jul:

At Kamarey, a small village located in East Sikkim under Rhenock constituency beekeeping is gaining acceptance among residents and youths alike.

Local beekeeper and entrepreneur, Khem Kumar Bhattarai started beekeeping out of passion but soon realized its economic potential.

Mr Bhattarai started beekeeping with one beehive in 2017, but now has an annual turnover of over Rs 1lakh. Currently, he has 17 beehives.

“Saving bees is important because 70% of pollination in the world is done by bees and there will be no food without pollination. But there is little awareness about this among humans, which has resulted in the alarming rate of decline in the population of bees," said the 22-year-old beekeeper.

This year he plans to increase his number of beehives to 30.

He also aims to scale up honey production, improve packaging and marketing of honey, and even start producing honey-based value added products. He is hopeful that with the Organic Mission in the State, he will be able to access a wider platform on which to market and sell honey.

“House with bees is an active and healthy household. Earlier people would take up beekeeping as a hobby, but now it has become a key income generating activity for many households in the area.” said Mr Bhattarai.

He adds that Horticulture Department has been supporting the locals to take up bee-farming.

According to him, one can keep honey bees as pets by keeping a bee box in their balcony.

“While harvesting honey we take special care to not hurt the brood chamber where the bees lay their eggs. We also keep at least 35% of the honey in the hive itself so that the bees don’t starve. Honey bees collect three times more honey than they consume. So this is a very sustainable type of harvesting,” he added.

He also claims that handling honey bees feels like a great antidepressant as it is therapeutic to watch them pollinating, collecting nectar, laying eggs, becoming larvae, then pupa and then a bee.

“My family has been a great support, without them it would have not been possible. I urge the young people to get into bee farming as it requires very less investment and is more sustainable and profitable,” said Mr Bhattarai.