Low rainfall affects honey production in Latur
“Due to just 501 mm rainfall in Latur last year, hardly any honey production was reported from Latur this year.” lamented Dinkar Patil, a beekeeper from Chakur Taluka, one of the three talukas apart from Udgir and Ahmedpur where bee-keeping business is providing sustainable income to villagers.
Pune: “Due to just 501 mm rainfall in Latur last year, hardly any honey production was reported from Latur this year.” lamented Dinkar Patil, a beekeeper from Chakur Taluka, one of the three talukas apart from Udgir and Ahmedpur where bee-keeping business is providing sustainable income to villagers. The honey production cycle ended last month. Patil said that to keep their business alive they had to migrate to Rajasthan due to the presence of mustard farming. Patil, however, added, “Honey made with mustard does not have takers in Maharashtra as it does not smell good”
There are 7-8 beekeepers in Latur who faced a lot of challenges during 2018-2019 as there was hardly any honey production. This adverse situation affected the breeding of honey bees as well. This forced many beekeepers to migrate as it is the season for mustard and coriander in Rajasthan. Patil added that migration put the additional cost of four to five lakhs on them.
Patil said, “There was good rain in 2016 so in 2017-2018 my bee boxes almost doubled from 600 to 1,100. This year there were only 700. A worker bee’s life is only about two and a half months, so it very important that there is a constant growth in the population.” He further said, “Latur honey is very popular and tasty as it is made from sunflower,”
Raju Shinde, another bee-keeper said, “Due to drought no pollination could take place and it ultimately impacted the breeding cycle.”
Beekeeper Hakani Pathan said, “This drought affected a lot of beekeepers and due to this adverse weather, there were hardly any sunflower farms, which resulted in zero pollination. We had to migrate to Rajasthan and it cost us around 1 to 1.5 lakh.”
Lakshmi Rao, Assistant Director, Khadi and Village Industries Commission, said, “Usually there is a production of total 1.10 lakh to 1.20 Lakh kg of honey in Maharashtra and Latur’s share is almost around 12,000 kg.”
“This year the total production of honey is 60,000 kg and there might be the addition of 20,000 kg as there are Jamuns in western ghats,” she informed.
Rao added, “This year, Latur has produced only 4,000 kg of honey and that too only after migration. No local production could take place in Latur. Even in the next six months, there will not be any production happening in Latur because of the weather.”
“At present, there is no subsidy given to the bee-keepers for migration but Maharashtra Khadi Industry Board has proposed an amount of Rs 150 per colonies for the year 2019-2020,” she added.