"A decade ago, Kuntanahalli, a village in Doddabalapur taluk, located 55 kms to the North West of Bangalore, was laden with bountiful produce throughout the year. As the Doddabalur town changed into a small industrial hub, the villagers started selling agricultural land while many quit farming. This in turn severely affected the apiary activity in the region. Lakshman Gowda, 51, a marginal farmer in Kuntanahalli recalls yields of 10-12 kgs of honey per year, per beehive box, a decade ago, from the Apis Cerana, an Asiatic honeybee variety suitable for domestication. However, today, it yields him just one third (3-4 kgs) with the same variety in the same place. Gowda, a third-generation apiculturist, practices beekeeping as a secondary activity, where agriculture is his main source of income. He seems to be well aware of the reasons for the decline. â€œThe bees are not getting enough food. The loss of vegetation, the lesser cultivation of high-nectar yielding flower varieties, and excessive use of toxic pesticides are some of the reasons. This also results in reduction of honeybees to pollinate crops,â€ Gowda said. However, this has not deterred Gowda from becoming a model farmer who now trains other villagers for a secondary livelihood option
With inadequate training, poor pest management, and lack of quality marketing facilities, the 60 million USD honey industryâ€™s growth is hampered. With a potential for annual exports growth pegged at 20 per cent, honey can be a good income source for agriculturists.