Pointing out that Goan farmers are primarily involved in traditional crops like coconut, areca nut, vegetable, and paddy, Sanguem ZAO Raghunath Morajkar has said that apiculture is one of the oldest farming techniques in our country for collecting honey, which is one of our essential food commodities.
He further said that it is becoming popular due to its medicinal benefits to health in national and international markets and in this process, not only the farmers make sweet dividends but beekeeping helps to increase agriculture productivity through pollination.
Agriculture Technology Management Agency (ATMA), South Goa has in collaboration with Zonal Agriculture Office (ZAO), Sanguem organised three farmer-training programmes in June 2017, March 2018 and August 2018 respectively at Netravali and Rivona villages of Sanguem taluka.
In June 2017, 72 farmers from different parts of south Goa zone attended the training programme which was conducted at Netravali. Dinesh Prayag, P Shalio and Gauri Prabhudesai, assistant agriculture officer, Margao guided the farmers about the importance of Apiculture.
Then, a team of 18 trained farmers and officials of ATMA South Goa visited the Honey Bee Society, Honnavar in Karnataka. There, they were briefed about bee box, precautions to be taken for maintaining a box, honey rearing, colony of the bees etc. The team also visited two progressive farmers at Honnavar who are engaged in Apiculture since past 25 years.
After the visit, 22 eight-framed bee boxes along with eight framed bee colony were brought from Honnavar and were distributed to farmers of Rivona, Colomba, Netravali and Sanvordem in the presence of Raghunath Morajkar. Soham Ghate, block technology manager, Janu Warak and Sankesh Goankar, assistant technology managers under the guidance of and Dattaprasad Desai, deputy project director, ATMA South Goa Miss Gauri Prabhudesai, AAO, Nitin Borkar AAO and Miss Milan Goankar AAO are currently helping the farmers to maintain regular records of the bee colonies.
In March, training was conducted for the same bunch by a well-known farmer Mumtaz Ali from Karnataka who is engaged in bee farming since the age of 14. Ali guided the team about bee lifecycle, pest management, and maintenance of box by giving practical demonstrations. He also visited every trainee’s farm and advised each farmer about bee colonies, their working style, and its maintenance during the rainy season.
In the last 5 months, approximately 3kgs of honey from some of the bee colonies of farmers has been extracted. It is also noticed that production of the other crops in these farms have increased by 25 per cent as honey bees play a major role in plant life cycle as a pollinator.
As September is the best season to start the honey bee cultivation, ZAO Sanguem and ATMA South Block conducted another training programme for farmers on August 10 at Netravali. Forty farmers attended the session wherein they were guided by Raghunath Morajkar and Mumtaz Ali.
During the training, Morajkar said that Apiculture is immensely helpful in increasing the production of crops adding, “The ATMA South Goa and department of Agriculture will provide training whenever there will be a gap between the farmers and technology. We are forever on our toes to help any farmer in need.”
In Sanguem taluka, 23 farmers are currently practicing beekeeping while 32 farmers have registered and shown interest.