Nagaland has potential to be epicentre for apicultural activities

TR Zeliang and others during the release of book on award winners’ stories during the 5th Nagaland Honey Bee Day at Kisama on December 5. (Morung Photo)

TR Zeliang and others during the release of book on award winners’ stories during the 5th Nagaland Honey Bee Day at Kisama on December 5. (Morung Photo)

Over one lakh beekeepers in State

Our Correspondent
Kisama | December 5

Nagaland’s Deputy Chief Minister and Minister for Planning & Transformation and National Highway, TR Zeliang, today stated that Nagaland has a unique age-old tradition of beekeeping practices and has potential to be the epicentre for apicultural activities. 

To justify his assertion, he cited the presence of abundant nectar-rich flowering plants, favourable climatic conditions, rich vegetation, and ideal topography, among other factors.

“Under the able guidance of the Mission (NBHM) and training villagers in the science of beekeeping, the once-traditional hobby of beekeeping has been transformed into a sustainable source of income for the people and improved livelihood,” Zeliang said, while addressing the 5th Nagaland Honey Bee Day at Bamboo Hall, Kisama.

The day was organised by Nagaland Beekeeping & Honey Mission (NBHM) under the theme “Bee & Honey Trails: Garnering the Beekeeping Momentum.” 

While the primary objective of traditional beekeepers is solely for honey production, with NBHM’s intervention, people are now sensitised to by-product benefits such as the production of beeswax and the role played by bees in pollination, which enhances crop productivity, Zeliang maintained. 
This has led to many more people taking up beekeeping as a primary source of economic sustainability and some as a secondary activity to supplement their income, he added.

Honey production at 440 MT
Meanwhile, the Deputy Chief Minister informed that Nagaland has more than 1 lakh beekeepers across the State, and the NBHM has added about 25,000 more with proper guidance for beekeeping, covering about 500 villages.

The total honey production of the State stands at 440 Metric Tonnes (MT) per annum, and intensive and concerted efforts should be taken up to achieve the NBHM’s target of 2000 MT by 2030, he said.

“Given the potentiality of the State, it would not be far-fetched to think that we can produce upwards of the 2000 MT target,” he opined. 

Zeliang also maintained that honey produced in Nagaland has a ‘one-of-a-kind’ higher quality of taste, attributed to the rich source of nutrition for honeybees acquired from the State’s varied flora. 

Moreover, with vegetation untainted by artificial fertilizers, the honey produced locally is ‘organic’ and is healthier comparatively, he added.

Seeks NEC, NBB’s assistance
Zeliang also requested the North Eastern Council (NEC) to consider proposals in any way possible to help the Beekeeping community grow and become more self-sufficient. He also felt that assistance should be sought from the National Bee Board (NBB) for NBHM. 

He also impressed upon the NBHM to put up proposals to the Ministry and “if required the State government would be ever willing to recommend and help the Mission to attain the much-needed assistance.”

The Deputy Chief Minister also viewed that a comprehensive proposal encompassing the whole state and benefiting every beekeeping enthusiast in all the districts should be prepared with NBHM as the Nodal Implementing agency.

Referring to ‘Bee Tourism’ launched during the ongoing Hornbill Festival 2023 by NBHM, Zeliang expressed optimism that the firsthand experience of traditional beekeeping and unique practices would encourage and educate local and non-local tourists. 

He also extended best wishes to NBHM in revolutionizing honey production in Nagaland and putting the State on the world map. 

“With your continued sincere efforts, I am confident that honey and its by-products would be produced in abundance and will help the growth of the state and positively impact its people,” he added.