Vol. 5 Num 317 Mon. April 18, 2005  

Bright prospect of apiculture in Mymensingh region
Honey production doubles in two years with great demand abroad

There is a bright prospect of apiculture in Mymensingh region.

The region includes Mymensingh, Jamalpur, Sherpur Tangail and Netrakona districts.

Honey production increased in Mymensingh region during the last couple of years. The production was only 40 to 45 tons two years ago. This has increased to over 100 tons this year, according to reliable sources.

Md Abul Hossain Executive Director of Mouchash Unnayan Sangstha (MUS) told The Daily Star apiculture has a good export potentiality because of great demand of locally produced honey abroad. One kilogram of honey in being sold at Tk 600 in Saudi Arabia which is four times higher than its prices in local markets, according to Abul Hossain.

About 53 farmers are engaged in apiculture in this region. They roam about from one place to another across the country in search of honey round the year. They visit different places to find out various kinds of flowers in various seasons of the year. Beekeepers stay in Mymensingh region in the winter season because of abundance of mustard flowers. They travel from Gazipur, Kapasia and Raniganj in the summer to extract honey from Lichi flowers. Later, they move to Rajshahi region in search of honey when mango sprouts grow. They also go to Faridpur and Gopalganj in search of honey.

Arifur Rahman 32, Abdul Latif, 38, and Tara Miah, 30, of Gopalpur, Tangail, Asaduzzaman, 32, and Monsur Ali, 50, of Madhupur, Tangail Abdus Sobhan, 40, of Muktagachha, Mymensingh and Nasiruddin, 35, of Hossainpur in Kishoreganj are a few of the professionals who roam about from one place to another in search of honey throughout the year.

Arifur Rahman of village Bhutia in Gopalpur, Tangail, is one of leading honey cultivators in the region. He started his business as a hobby in 1986. He started rearing high- breed Aphis Melifera (India-Australia) variety. He fetched a handsome amount of money in 2001. Now he has 62 colonies (boxes for collecting honey) including 44 high yielding variety (HYV) colonies and 18 colonies of local variety.

Arifur told The Daily Star he already collected one ton of honey last winter. He earns Tk two lakh every year through bee keeping. This year the profit would be more than that of last year, Arifur added.

Abdus Sobhan of Muktagachha has collected 500 kilograms (kg) of honey this season. He started honey cultivation in 1999.

At present Nasiruddin of Hossainpur in Kishoreganj district stays at Muktagachha with his colonies for honey collection. He has been engaged in the profession for the last 24 years. He collected 600 kg of honey this season. He expects to fetch over Tk 1,50,000 this year by selling honey.

Hundreds of farmers in Mymensingh region are engaged in apiculture. But they face setback because of lack of proper marketing system, scientific preservation facilities, proper supply of medicine and high price of HYV bees. Now there are over 4,000 colonies for collecting honey in Mymensingh region.

Mouchash Unnayan Sangstha (MUS) at Modhupur in Tangail and Bangladesh Institute of Agriculture (BTA) at Rasulpur in Mymensingh have been playing an important role in processing and marketing of honey collected from the farmers. MUS and BIA purchase honey from the growers at between Tk 150 to 105 in local retail markets. Both the organisations also conduct training programmes for honey farmers.

They trained up 10,000 people on apiculture since 1997. Farmers from Sirajganj, Gazipur, Bogra and Kushtia also took training from the Sangstha.

A worker collecting honey at a firm at village Bhutia in Gopalpur, Tangail. Apiculture is gaining popularity in Mymensingh region. PHOTO: STAR