NEW DELHI: CropLife India in association with Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) and Agriculture Development Trust, KVK Baramati celebrated the Honey Bee Day in Baramati on August 19.
The day is observed to promote beekeeping and pollination services in agriculture. Farmers who took part in the project program were felicitated amongst around 800 farmers amidst dignitaries like Sharad Pawar, President – Agricultural Development Trust, Rajendra Pawar, Chairman, Agricultural Development Trust, members from ICAR, KVK Baramati and member organizations of CropLife India.
The project showcased outstanding outcomes with an average increase of 20.83% in crop yields over last year and a substantial increase in quality due to pollination service. The project received tremendous appreciation from farmers and government gaining accolades not only in India but also receiving International recognition.
Dr. P. K. Chakraborty, Additional Director General – Plant Protection, Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) New Delhi, said, “We are very pleased to celebrate this day as we believe honey bees are one of the best natural insect pollinators and we need to protect them to aid the national food security goals. We have been creating awareness amongst farmers in this region about the role of honey bees in increasing the crop yield besides beekeeping entrepreneur ship through the Madhu Sandesh project and the results are tremendous”.
Addressing the gathering Brij Uberoi, CEO, CropLife India, said, “Honeybees are one of the most important and widespread pollinators of our food and we need to protect them. The Madhu Sandesh program is one such initiative that demonstrated and promoted the proliferation and professionalization of the beekeeping in Baramati.”
“As part of the program, subsidized bee hive rentals were provided to farmers to pollinate their crops. This not only resulted in improved yield and incomes for farmers but also instilled a holistic understanding of the need to use crop protection products in a manner that protects the environment and ecosystems.”, he said.
At the end of the first year, 90% of the 180 participants reported better quality crops. Pomegranate farmers saw an average of 15% increase in their yields, corresponding to a 42% increase in income while the training they received helped reduce waste. Moreover, the farmers who benefitted from the program became enthusiastic advocates of promoting pollination, protecting the environment and using crop protection products responsibly.