Major boost for beekeeping in state

Conrad lays foundation stone for Rs 10-crore IBDC in NGH

TURA: In a boost to beekeeping farmers, also known as apiarists, of Garo Hills, Chief Minister Conrad K Sangma laid the foundation stone to establish the first-ever Integrated Beekeeping Development Centre (IBDC) at Sambrak Seed Farm in North Garo Hills in the presence of Deputy Speaker Timothy D Shira, Kharkutta MLA Rupert Momin, Bajengdoba MLA Pongseng M Sangma and others, on Tuesday.
A first-of-its-kind project in Meghalaya, the IBDC will come up at a cost of Rs10 crore, which has been funded by the Ministry of Tribal Affairs, Government of India. The beekeeping or apiculture project across the country has been given a major boost after Prime Minister Narendra Modi made it his vision to develop the beekeeping industry for the overall growth of the rural economy.
Addressing the gathering about his government’s mission to promote apiculture and boost the production of honey in the state, Conrad said, “We have been working with different stakeholders with a sole focus on the preservation, propagation and scientific farming of the indigenous bees of the state.”
The chief minister also enlightened the public that there has been a boost to beekeeping in the state and revealed that as many as 6,000 beekeepers across Meghalaya and a total of 7,000-plus people have already been trained in beekeeping by the Meghalaya Institute of Entrepreneurship (MIE). 
Sangma also mentioned that Meghalaya has been rated as one of the best regions for beekeeping because of the wide availability of bee pasturage. 
“The state has immense potential for beekeeping. However, due to lack of knowledge and information about the scope, the farmers have not been able to reap the optimum benefits,” revealed Conrad.
According to the chief minister, Meghalaya has 16,728 existing bee colonies, which are only 3 percent of the estimated potential and the state government has plans to tap the vast available resources to touch the figure of 5 lakh honeybee colonies.
“The setting up of the IBDC in the state will enable to further boost the honeybee industry,” said Sangma.
The upcoming IBDC centre at Sambrak, covering an area of approximately 25 acres, will help in overall sustainable development of scientific and robust beekeeping in the state and would also function as information and demonstration units.
The Government of India is promoting beekeeping industry through a centrally sponsored scheme – Mission for Integrated Development of Horticulture (MIDH) scheme, under a component ‘Pollination Support through Beekeeping’ and has been designated National Bee Board (NBB), as Nodal Agency for promoting  Scientific Beekeeping under NHM/MIDH.

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