More

    Honey Money Helps Bail Out Bangladesh’s Farmers From Debt, Endure Climate Change

    AgricultureHoney Money Helps Bail Out Bangladesh’s Farmers From Debt,...
    - Advertisment -

    Honey Money Helps Bail Out Bangladesh’s Farmers From Debt, Endure Climate Change

    Keeping honey bees to supplement income from rice and mustard farming might not be a conventional model, but the bees are proving to be a boon in these times of climate change, helping farming families with some income to sustain themselves.

    Honey collection with mustard fields in full bloom and a blue sky in the horizon is now a common sight in the villages of Rajshahi. It brings money as the demand for honey burgeons. Coincidentally, it is also providing a boon for farmers affected by climate change.

    Honey production needs to keep pace with its perennial demand, that continues to grow in Bangladesh and also across the country’s border with India. This combination of the stars has ensured that there is an elaborate network of merchants willing to buy the golden viscous sweetener.

    It seems to have happened all of a sudden. and But NGOs workers who first introduced the idea among farmers in the late 90s are not surprised. The resilient farmers of Rajshahi have a long history indulging in cash crops. “Farmers here once practiced sericulture,” says Mobin Islam who works with a local non-government organisation (NGO) in the district. “Some years ago, they switched to growing groundnuts, until the floods destroyed the crop a few years ago.”

    - Advertisement -
    Floods and misery in the char islands

    Lots of land in Rajshahi is char – river islands that have come up with the accumulation of silt. Growing groundnut here made sense to the farmers because the soil was sandy. Until the flood waters arrived.

    Farmers have suffered heavy losses because of the flooding for three years in a row. The flooding during the past three years have damaged crops and severely affected about 250,000 families. Experts warn that such disaster might come more often with the changing climatic conditions and apiculture farming is a boon as it aids the region’s resilient farming community.

    Earlier, the farmers took loans from the local moneylenders, or mahajans, and found it difficult to escape the debt trap. Many would migrate to Dhaka, Narayanganj, Gazipur and other cities in search of work. Some farmers also got help from different NGO.

    Vast stretches of the land are also barren, unfit for growing any crop. A small harvest of the aman rice crop, grown after the monsoon rains is all that they get from this land. Boro, or the winter crop, is a risk few farmers are willing to undertake. Instead, they grow mustard – and even though mustard is a subsistence crop, it helps sustain the bees. Hence apiculture, or honey bee farming. (All eight districts of the Rajshahi division put together are expected to produce no more than 3 lakh tonnes of mustard this year.)

    Government steps in

    The government has come in to support the honey producers. Local agriculture department officials provide the farmers with mustard seeds, fertiliser, boxes with a bee hive and honey bees, safety clothing, and importantly, training.

    Farmer Dulal Hossain collects about 25 kilos of honey from each of the boxes on this land every month. This got him six lakhs Bangladeshi Takas last year.

    Others who farm the local bee specie, serena, promoted by the NGOs say that they have a better demand. In fact, even the demand for the serena bees is high.

    - Advertisement -

    LEAVE A REPLY

    Please enter your comment!
    Please enter your name here

    Latest news

    Cabinet Approves Flood Management and Border Areas Programme 

    This is particularly relevant as the increased incidence of extreme events have been witnessed during last few years in...

    Women’s Safety Scheme to Continue till 2025-26

    Out of the total project outlay of Rs.1179.72 crore, a total of Rs.885.49 crore will be provided by MHA...

    First Person: What I learnt from the Gabhales

    Through the provision of livestock and associated training, the family not only regained their economic stability but also underwent...

    New Anti-Rape Crisis Centre Brings Hope for Sexual Abuse Survivors in Pakistan

    The centre will offer free legal assistance to ensure that the forensic examination and tests are done correctly and...
    - Advertisement -

    If Trump Wins, Africa Will Spiral into Climate Hell

    A Donald Trump win in the US presidential elections would spell disaster for climate action in Africa and worldwide....

    Maldives Launches Mental Health Helpline

    The service will provide counselling and support tailored to individual mental health challenges. Red flags, such as callers expressing...

    Must read

    Cabinet Approves Flood Management and Border Areas Programme 

    This is particularly relevant as the increased incidence of...

    Women’s Safety Scheme to Continue till 2025-26

    Out of the total project outlay of Rs.1179.72 crore,...
    - Advertisement -

    More from the sectionRELATED
    Recommended to you