Minister for Agriculture, Ghulam Nabi Lone Hanjura today said that Apiary (beekeeping) can become a vibrant source of employment and income-generation in the State and has a potential of generating around 50,000 jobs.
The Minister was speaking after inaugurating 2-day exhibition cum honey trade mela organized by SKUAST (K) on the ‘World Honey Bee Day’ observed to build community awareness of the bee industry, through education and promotion.
Hanjura said that by adopting new technological interventions in this sector and by creating awareness among farmers, the beekeeping sector can play an important role in addressing unemployment issue in the State.
He said that honey bee of Kashmir is known in the world and can provide employment avenues to the educated unemployed youth of the State. He said that the Government will be on the forefront to provide financial and other assistance to the youth willing to choose the sector.
The Minister directed the Agriculture Department and SKUAST (K) to conduct a census in all the districts to assess the number of bee-keepers and total production of honey produced in the State and furnish the district wise report accordingly.
He also called for setting up of Bee-keeping Self Help Groups adding that this will help the Bee-keeping unit holders in financing and marketing their produce.
In order to ensure marketing of honey bee farmers, the Government will establish centers across the State which he hoped will yield good results on ground.
He said the Government would also focus on revival of Agro Industries Sector while giving a boost to vegetable, mushroom, apiculture and protected cultivation through innovative measures.
Responding to the demands including transportation during migration of Bee-Keepers, providing of subsidy and marketing put forth by the farmers, the Minister assured them that their genuine demands would be looked into and addressed on priority. Vice-Chancellor SKUAST (K) also spoke on the occasion and highlighted the initiatives taken by the varsity for the welfare of the farming community.
Earlier, Hanjura inspected the exhibition stalls by different sections of apiculture, mushroom and organic farming during which agri products, literature, pamphlets, machinery equipment, tools were put on display. He also gave away certificates and trophies to best beekeepers of the state.
Director Extension SKUAST (K), P.C AICRO, P.J IBDC SKUAST (K), Dean Faculty of Agri SKUAST (J), Agricultural Scientists, faculty members, Beekeepers and a large number of students of SKUAST were also present on the occasion.