Tuesday, February 22, 2011



A three-day Honey Festival-cum-Experience Exchange Workshop (HFEEW) on 'Prospects and Promotion of Beekeeping for Augmenting Hive & Crop Productivity' commenced here today. The festival, organized by the Department of Entomology, PAU, in association with the Directorate of Extension Education, PAU, under the aegis of National Horticulture Mission, would continue till February 24.

Speaking on this occasion, the chief guest Dr Avtar Singh Atwal, former Dean, Post Graduate Studies, PAU and a pioneer in introducing the Italian honey bee in Punjab, traced the history and development of apiculture in the state. He added that the highly productive exotic bee, Apis mellifera Linn. was successfully introduced in India through a novel technique 'inter-specific queen introduction method' during sixties of this century and then established in Punjab plains by PAU, following its supply to the farmers in 1976 for the first time in India. Dr Atwal elaborated that today Punjab has emerged as the hub of beekeeping industry in India and has the honour of being the leading state in supplying honey bee colonies, honey and beekeeping equipment to other parts of the country. The industriousness and scientific acumen of apicultural scientists of PAU has turned the beekeeping task into boon for the farming community of the country, said he.

Dr S. Ramani, Project Coordinator, All India Coordinated Research Project (AICRP) on Honey Bees and Pollinators, Haryana Agricultural University (HAU), Hisar, referring to the achievements and goals, said that AICRP on honey bees took shape in 1981 in HAU and PAU, being one of the leading centres of AICRP, has made a vital contribution in producing beekeeping entrepreneurs. He added that the project is of importance not only for producing honey but also in pollinating of crops. Besides the stress on beekeeping, AICRP is laying emphasis on 'understanding the role of honey bees as pollinators,' remarked Dr Ramani. He disclosed that out of eight important species of Apis mellifera, six species are indigenous in India.

Addressing the gathering, the Guest of Honour, Dr Ramesh Kumar, Director, Floriculture, ICAR, New Delhi, stated that there is a natural relation between the honey bees and the flowers, be it yellow, white or purple coloured. Single type varieties of flowers should be preferred for beekeeping, stressed he. As less space and fewer expenses are required for beekeeping, Dr Kumar pleaded that it should be promoted in tribal areas for the earning of livelihood.

Dr H.S. Dhaliwal, PAU Additional Director of Extension Education, in his presidential remarks, highlighted the extension activities of the University for the promotion of beekeeping. He added that PAU has been organizing training programmes on beekeeping from time to time at Krishi Vigyan Kendras (KVKs) and on-campus, for the benefit of farmers, farm women and progressive beekeepers in order to update them with need-based techniques and technologies and impart practical training in different areas of agriculture. Throwing light on the training on beekeeping, he said the course is in great demand and many farmers are on the waiting list whenever the training is organized. About 1500 participants receive training every year, divulged Dr Dhaliwal, adding that cassettes and videos have also been developed in relation to apiculture.

Earlier, Dr AK Dhawan, Head, Department of Entomology, PAU, welcomed the chief guest, dignitaries and farmers from various parts of the country. He said that the honey fest would be a new step in increasing honey production and promoting apiculture. The active participation of the beekeeping stakeholders in this event would lead to a speedy development of beekeeping in the country, both increased hive and crop productivity, higher profitability and hence improved economic and social status of rural India, added he.

The technical session saw deliberations by beekeeping entrepreneur speakers on 'public–private partnership for the development and promotion of beekeeping' and 'tips on scientific beekeeping for higher profitability.' On this event, the chief guest and the delegates were taken round the exhibition, put up by various government organizations, NGOs, beekeepers, beekeeping societies and associations and beekeeping entrepreneurs which showcased beekeeping tools, hive accessories, queen rearing equipments and honey bee products with different flavors such as herbal, coriander, etc.

Dr D.S. Cheema, Dean, College of Agriculture (COA), PAU, said that there are more than 2.5 lakh honey bee colonies in the state thereby contributing more than 30 per cent to the country's apiary production. COA has played pivotal role in apicultural teaching said Dr Cheema, adding that the college has one basic beekeeping course for B.Sc (Agriculture) and one specialized course for M.Sc students. In the end, he proposed the vote of thanks.

Present on the occasion were deans, directors, additional directors, coordinators of research and heads of various departments of PAU.
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