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ICAR-Indian Horticultural Research Institute, Bengaluru celebrated the “World Bee Day” on 20th May, 2023, to facilitate needed scientific technology adoption for increasing production and testing of honey by maintaining quality standards for national and international markets and promoting the production of other beehive products, viz., bee pollen, bees wax, royal jelly, propolis, and bee venom,. The celebration included joining the Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare (MoA&FW), Government of India’s World Bee Day celebration at Raja Bhoj Agriculture College, Waraseoni, Balaghat, Madhya Pradesh, which was graced by Hon’ble Union Minister of Agriculture & Farmers Welfare Shri Narendra Singh Tomar, in the august presence of Agriculture Minister, Govt. of Madhya Pradesh, Chairman, OBC Welfare Commission, Govt. of Madhya Pradesh, Chairman, Dr. Prabhat Kumar, Horticulture Commissioner, GOI, Dr. Naveen Patel, Deputy Commissioner and other dignitaries.

The celebration at ICAR-IIHR was graced by Dr. S. K. Singh, Director, ICAR-IIHR in the presence of Dr. Partha Pratim Choudhury, Regional Honey Testing Lab Principal Investigator, Dr. Debi Sharma, In-charge FSRL Dr. Prakash Patil, PC, AICRP Fruits and Dr. P.V.R. Reddy, Head Crop Protection. Among the 52 farmers attended, 72 percent women farmer participation was recorded including members of a FPO which emphasis the role of bee-keeping in women empowerment in Indian agriculture. The farmers visited the RHTL and FSRL wherein, they were briefed about the State-of-the-Art instruments being used for honey quality testing. They were also explained how RHTL facility in ICAR-IIHR can emerge as a crucial link between the Council and the farming community for any bee-keeping or honey related entrepreneurship. A live demonstration was set up by Dr. P.V.R. Reddy, to showcase the apiculture fundamentals and commercial rearing of honey bees. The benefits of practicing apiculture production and its importance in terms of both financial and ecological aspects were discussed during an interactive session. The farmer visit to IIHR was co-ordinated by Mr. Jagadeesha, Subject Matter Specialist, KVK, Hirehalli and Dr. Abhishek Mandal, Scientist, FSRL. Farmers were also shown the significant achievements in honey production through short video film played in the auditorium of IIHR.

During this celebration, Shri Narendra Singh Tomar, Hon’ble Union minister of Agriculture & Farmers Welfare, GoI, inaugurated the Regional Honey Testing Laboratory, in virtual mode, which has been established under the National Beekeeping and Honey Mission by the Government of India as a part of the Atma Nirbhar Bharat package by the National Bee Board. It is one of the five world-class state-of-the-art laboratories set up all over India by National Bee Board and is now the only accredited laboratory in the southern part of India that can test honey samples as per FSSAI’s latest regulation. This facility envisions to be the facilitator for the South Indian beekeepers to increase their income, guaranteeing quality and increasing demand of honey and beehive products both in the domestic and international markets.

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