Sangrur, October 2
Rising unemployment and initiatives of the Horticulture Department to promote beekeeping have driven youth in Sangrur to take up the profession.
At the Krishi Vigiyan Kendra (KVK), Kherri, Sangrur, training is imparted in beekeeping four times a year. For every batch of 35 that is trained for six days, an equal number of people are on the waiting list.
Under a scheme of the National Horticulture Mission, new beekeepers are given 50 per cent subsidy on every bee colony (box) that cost around Rs 3,000.
There are over 100 beekeepers in Sangrur district, who produce more than 5 lakh kg of honey every year from more than 22,000 bee colonies. Malerkotla has the maximum 41 beekeepers, followed by 21 in Ahmedgarh, 15 in Sangrur, 10 in Dhuri, 9 in Sunam, 4 in Bhawanigarh and 2 in Sherpur.
Sukhwinder Singh, a young beekeeper from Gaggarpur, said he extracted around 20 kg of honey from a bee colony in a year that he sold for Rs 70 to 80 per kg.
As the seasons change, the beekeepers in the state take their bee colonies to Uttar Pradesh (UP), Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat to maximise their produce.
In November and December, they go to UP and Rajasthan where coriander and mustard crops are grown. They bring the bees to Punjab in March when eucalyptus flowers bloom and later sunflowers in May and June.
Dr Hardeep Singh, Horticulture Development Officer (HDO), Sangrur, said most of the honey was sold in Doraha, Rajpura and Ahmedgarh.
Dr Mandeep Singh, Deputy Director, KVK, Kherri, said training would next be imparted from October 1 to October 9.