OPINION

The unlimited possibilities of ‘Beekeeping enterprise’ in JK

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By: Waseem Ahmad

For over 150 million years, we have been enjoying honey as a great source of natural energy and also as an incredible ingredient that has tremendous medicinal values. Annually, in the state of Jammu & Kashmir, approximately 71 Metric Tons of honey are produced, valued at up to 3 crore INR when calculated with the modest rates prevailing.

Beekeeping can be a very profitable enterprise. However honey, beeswax, pollen, royal jelly and pollination are all revenue generating parts of beekeeping. The main source of revenue in a beekeeping enterprise is honey and pollination services.

Without the services of beekeepers, especially pollination services, the cost of many fruits, vegetables, and other agronomic crops would cost much more than what they are today. The State of Jammu and Kashmir represents one of the potential areas of bee keeping in all of India, which comprises of all the agro-climatic zones ranging from low to high altitude zone. It is pertinent to mention here that the horticulture sector in Jammu and Kashmir contributes largely to sustain the economy having an annual turnover of Rs 1500 crore. Besides supporting over 6 lakh families and providing employment to nearly 25 lakh people directly or indirectly.

Bee keeping enterprise not only provides employment opportunities, but also helps in the processes of pollination in various crops thus enhances the crop production by 15-20 per cent. A unit of 20 colonies of bees multiples to nearly 35-40 colonies in a year and it is also a good source of income.

Bee keeping for honey production has been found as a profitable agricultural enterprise in all parts of world. It has a great importance for exchange earners with export of honey and bee wax. However, bee keeping as a commercial venture is still largely unexplored for large scale production to meet the domestic and national demands.

Benefit cost analysis of 100 colonies

S.no. Benefit cost Analysis  for keeping 100 colonies
(A) Costs involved in beekeeping  (Fixed costs) 100 hives
1 Cost of hives (10 frames each) with bees @ Rs 3500 per hive 350,000
2 Wax sheet 1 kg @ Rs 450 per kg 45,000
3 Honey extractor  local 4000
4 Smoker local 300
5 Hive tool (hammer, knives, hand saw etc) 350
6 Bee frames Rs 30 per frame 30000
7 06  kg Steel wire (20-30 gauge) Rs 150 per kg 900
8 Bee veil  3No.s @ 100 Rs per veil 300
9 Honey canes 50 No. Rs 250/Cane 12,500
10 Miscellaneous expenses approximately Rs 50 per hive 5,000
  Total 448,450
  Variable cost  
1 Full time labor @6000 per month 72000
2 Suger per single colony ( 8 kg/months)Rs 60 per kg 48,000
3 Medicine /chemical treatment with formic acid and Apistan 2000
  strips for mite control for single colony  
4 Transportation charges 35000
5 Rent charges per season 3500
6 Miscellaneous and unforeseen expenditure 2500
  Total 163,000

Benefit cost analysis was applied as an appropriate tool to evaluate the apiculture enterprises. The cost and benefit sides were separately computed and the cost side divided the benefit side to compute the B-C ratio.

The cost items were grouped into two categories, i.e., i) fixed costs and ii) variable costs. To find out the total cost (TC), total fixed cost (TFC) was added to total variable cost (TVC). Likewise, average cost (AC) was obtained by adding average fixed cost (AFC) and average variable st (AVC) as TC = TVC+TFC, and AC = ATC + AVC. Where, AC = TC/No. colonies.

On the benefit side, all the benefit items were studied and evaluation of apiculture industry was made. The benefit-cost ratio was computed by using the formula B/C = TR/TC

For operating 100 colonies
Total cost involved for whole operation
TC= TFC+ TVC
Rs448,450+Rs163000 Rs=611,450
Total Revenue  generated from 100 hives @Rs
300 = TR= Rs 900,000
B.C.R = TR/TC
Rs 900,000/ Rs 611450
B.C.R= 1.47

The cost of production of beekeeping was calculated in detail to get the deep insight of the enterprise. Then benefit cost analysis was performed to ascertain the profitability of the bee keeping enterprise. The cost of production was calculated for keeping 100 bee hives. Total cost calculated for 100 colonies was Rs. 611,450 in which Rs. 448,450 was fixed cost that was invested in the start of the enterprise. While, the variable cost was Rs. 163,000. The honey production from per hive per year was about 25-30- kg which brings about income of Rs. 900,000. It is therefore, concluded that the benefits were more than the cost and hence benefit cost ratio was 1.47.

Apiculture is being promoted by the government to support income generation for the rural as well urban communities. Beekeeping requires very little capital amount for start-up, and can easily be practiced by men, women, youth and specially-abled people. Beekeeping provides an opportunity to use available natural resources to support their family and live a better livelihoods.

(Waseem Ahmad is working at pollination centre SKUAST-Shalimar Kashmir)

waseembhatspn@yahoo.com

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