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Spreading sweetness: Beekeepers ready for seasonal migration to warmer places

As soon as winter sets in, scores of the beekeepers from the valley migrate to warmer places like Rajasthan, Gujarat, and Jammu with their colonies to harvest honey.
Last Updated : 09 October 2023, 04:44 IST
Last Updated : 09 October 2023, 04:44 IST

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With the chill having set in already, Bilal Ahmad Rather, a Kashmiri beekeeper, is readying to move 200 colonies of bees to Rajasthan to harvest honey for the winter season.

This has been the routine for the 30-year-old from Central Kashmir’s Ganderbal district ever since he started beekeeping after giving up his job as a delivery boy in 2015.

Honey bees can't survive the harsh winters of Kashmir, but in relatively warmer Rajasthan, the mortality rate is almost zero.

As soon as winter sets in, scores of the beekeepers from the valley migrate to warmer places like Rajasthan, Gujarat, and Jammu with their colonies to harvest honey.

There are around 70,000 honey bee colonies that have come up in different areas of the Valley. With time, more and more young men and women are turning to bee-keeping as dozens of local honey brands have been established in Kashmir.


However, Kashmir, which has traditionally been a hub for honey production, faces extreme weather conditions during the winter months, making beekeeping a challenging endeavour.

In contrast, Rajasthan has milder winters and a diverse range of flowering plants, providing beekeepers with the perfect environment to continue their trade throughout the year.

As per beekeepers, Rajasthan's diverse landscape provides a natural advantage as well.

The nectar collected by the bees from the meadows, orchards, forests, gardens is considered among the finest across the globe and fetches anywhere from ₹80,000 to 1 lakh per quintal. The Union Territory has been producing 22000 quintals of honey annually. A major proportion of honey is exported to different states and countries.

J&K Agriculture department has recognized the potential for promoting beekeeping in Kashmir. They have initiated several programs to provide visiting beekeepers with training and support, including access to modern beekeeping technology and techniques.

Riyaz Ahmad, a honey dealer, said that customers always look for quality honey as it has many health benefits. “Earlier we used to get most of our honey from other states and didn’t know about its quality. But now the demand for Kashmiri honey is growing not only locally but outside as well,” he said.

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Published 09 October 2023, 04:44 IST

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