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To boost honey production, 6590 bee colonies set-up in apple orchards

‘Beekeeping important component of pollination’

Post by Syeda Rafiyah on Wednesday, January 11, 2023

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Srinagar, Jan 10: In order to boost honey production, the Horticulture Department Kashmir under the Mission for Integrated Development of Horticulture (MIDH) scheme, has set up 6590 bee colonies across apple orchards in Kashmir valley over the past six years
As per the figures maintained by the Horticulture Department the 6590 bee colonies include 1879 set up during 2015-16, 3067 during 2016-17, 200 during 2017-18, 1282 during 2018-19, 112 during 2019-20 and 50 during 2020-21.
Under organic farming component, the department has given the beehives to unemployed youth or farmers at 50 percent subsidy under the MIHD scheme, which continues in the valley.
Abdul Quds Beigh, Horticulture Development Officer said beekeeping is one of the subsectors of apiculture of Kashmir economy and its potential as economic activity and its positive impact on horticulture production makes it more significant than other subsectors. 
He said the beehives are setup by the farmers in apple orchards. Apart from producing honey, the honey bees also work for the purpose of pollination of apple orchards and new apple trees.
“Pollination is the important component of apple farming and 95 percent of the pollination is done by the honey bees,” Beigh said.
The HDO said that many apple trees are not fertile and it is the honey bees that act as source of fertility in the apple trees there by helping farmers to get more apple produce.
“Those orchards that have beehives their fruit quality is better and their shelf life is also good as compared to those apple orchards where there are no beehives,” he said.
Beigh also said that many apple growers often complaint of premature fall down of apples fruit in mid-August and September before picking and beehives also help to maintain that.
“One honey bee has radius of two kilometres and it can help in pollination in the two kilometres. One hectare of apple orchard land should have at least one beehive for the purpose of pollination,” he said.
The HDO said that many areas in Kashmir witness decline in the yield of apple crop due to inadequate pollination management practices. Lack of pollinizers in apple orchards affects qualitative production and productivity, he said.
Beigh said the horticulture sector plays an essential role in Jammu and Kashmir and they are encouraging farmers to take beehives and they are planning to give beehive units this year.
“The objective of the department is to bring people into the mainstream by creating sufficient job opportunities while exploring diverse sectors that can be used in eradicating unemployment,” he added.

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