Around 800 bee boxes were distributed among the farmers of the border belt of Kathua and Samba districts during a brief ceremony held at Khadi Sewa Sadan in Jammu and Kashmir's Hiranagar.
As many as 80 trained farmers including 23 women belonging to Below Poverty Line (BPL) families were given bee boxes under the 'Honey Mission' programme of the Khadi and Village Industries Commission (KVIC).
According to the Ministry of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises, the Honey Mission programme was launched by Khadi and Village Industries Commission under the Ministry of MSME, during 2017-18 and is being implemented to promote Bee Keeping activities and provide self-sustaining employment opportunities among farmers, tribals and unemployed youth in rural India.
Under the programme, beneficiaries are provided with Bee Boxes, live bee colonies, tool kits and training, as per the ministry.
Speaking on the occasion, KVIC Chairman, Vinai Kumar Saxena said, it is the dream of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to double the income of farmers and thus under the 'Honey Mission', KVIC is working in this direction.
"Jammu and Kashmir which is regarded as the crown of the country where flora and fauna are available in good quantity, 'Honey Mission' is proving to be a boon," he said.
"In this financial year, we will try to distribute at least 5,000-7,000 bee boxes to our farmers in Jammu and Kashmir so that their income increases due to cross-pollination and the huge production of honey," he added further.
The chairman said it is a motive to make the country self-reliant in honey production.
"We want our country to become self-reliant in honey production. At present, we are the fourth-largest producer of honey in the world but in the coming time, we want to become the number one producer of honey and for that, we are making all these attempts," Saxena stressed.
Beekeepers expressed their gratitude to KVIC for providing them with bee boxes at just 10 per cent of the total cost.
One of the Honeybee farmers from Kathua, Suresh Kumar said, "We are thankful to KVIC who thought about small farmers like us. Today, they have provided us with 10 bee boxes and before that, they had organised a five-day training programme for us."
Urging all the unemployed youngsters to practice honey bee farming, another farmer from the same village Somraj said the business of honeybee rearing is very good and all the youngsters who are unemployed should invest their time in it as it is highly profitable.
He said that "As KVIC is providing 10 bee boxes on one ration card that too in just 10 per cent of the market value, youngsters should utilize this benefit."
KVIC has already distributed around 7,500 bee boxes in Jammu and Kashmir employing nearly 1,500 farmers.
It even made a World Record of distribution of 2,330 boxes on a single day with the support of the Indian Army in Kupwara District in 2018. (ANI)