Honey is not 'sweet' for farmers

 Kodagu, which was once famous for honey, now produces just a few tonnes  from what it used to produce annually nearly two decades ago. However, the apiculturists are facing several problems in the district.

There is ample opportunity for beekeeping in Bhagamandala. A few farmers are engaged in apiculture. However, in the recent years, farmers from Kerala keep the beehives in the coffee estates and collect honey and take it to their hometown for sale. This has become a headache from the local farmers.

Apiculture was taken on a large scale in Bhagamandala during 1990. The farmers started rearing malliferous bee brought from Kerala. The drastic decline in the production of honey was due to sacbrood disease affecting the honeybees.

Now, apiculture has started reviving in the district. Farmers from Kerala have started keeping beehives in the coffee plantations after taking permission from the owners. A few plantations have 100 to 150 beehives.

In Kerala, honey is produced only from rubber tree flowers. As there was no great demand for such honey, natural flowers are available in plenty in Bhagamandala region. Hence, growers from Kerala have started keeping their beehives in Kodagu.
A honeybee starts the honey making process by visiting a flower and gathering some of its nectar.

In the process of gathering nectar, the insect transfers pollen grains from one flower to another and pollinates the flower.

There is a great demand for ‘Coorg honey.’ The beehives from Kerala is kept in the plantations at Cherangala, Thannimani, Thavoor and others areas. In the past, the apiculturists were getting 25 kg honey from one beehive. However, now its has been reduced to three kg, said apiculturist.

At a time when apiculturists in Kodagu are getting ready to revive apiculture by availing loan from the banks and financial assistance from the government, honeybees and beehives from Kerala entering the district has become a headache. Gram panchayats should initiate suitable measures in this regard, said the farmers.

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