Country’s honey production would increase to 70,000-80,000 tonnes a year if the potential of apiculture is properly utilised, market insiders said.
Beekeeping holds a great business potential which also improves crops yields through pollination. Honeybees act as primary pollinating agents of many agricultural and horticultural crops.
The Sundarban, hilly areas of Sylhet, Chittagong and Madhupur are the main areas of natural honey production in Bangladesh.
Sundarbans is the largest source of honey production in the country, contributing around 75 percent of the total honey production. But honey production from the world’s largest mangrove forest is declining day by day.
Amid a fall in natural honey production, commercial beekeeping is gaining popularity across the country due to its business potential.Experts said Bangladesh can become a leading honey exporter and create more jobs in rural areas through commercial honey production.
“Bee farming has a great potential in our country and if we can utilise the potential properly, we can produce 70,000-80,000 tonnes of honey a year,” said Nazrul Islam, director of Farmers level Production, Preservation and Distribution of High yielding Seed of Pulse, Oil-seed and Onion Project under the Department of Agricultural Extension (DAE).
He said honey production will get a boost if commercial honey cultivation is introduced in the Sundarbans, hilly areas of Sylhet, Chittagong and some forest areas Madhupur and Tangail.
Honey cultivation can also be done in the fields of mastered, black seed, coriander, sesame, litchi and moringa across the country, he said.
“Proper training for farmers and facilitating necessary tools and equipment is needed to boost commercial bee cultivation,” he said.
Due to the crisis of proper places, bee cultivators have to constantly shift their beehive boxes from one place to another through the night is the proper shifting time, he said. Nazrul Islam alleged that the beekeepers are sometimes harassed by law enforcers at the time of shifting their beehive boxes.
Mentioning that the country’s total honey production is estimated at 6000-7000 tonnes a year currently, the DAE official said the government is working to create beekeeping hubs in different parts of the country, and several pieces of lands have been bought for this purpose.
Abdus Sattar Hiru, executive member of Bangladesh Bee Farmers Society, told the daily sun that the government should create a dedicated zone for bee farming to encourage commercial honey production.
DAE has imparted training on honey cultivation to 18,900 farmers in 2016-17 and 660 farmers in 2017-18 FY. DAE officials said they are planning to expand the training programme to create a total of 4,500 bee farmers at Union and 13,000 bee farmers at Ward level across the country.