Under the banner of the Atma Nirbhar Bharat Abhiyan, the Agriculture and FW Department Poonch organized a two-day seminar cum awareness program on the 'National Beekeeping and Honey Mission' (NBHM) with the central agenda of promoting the 'Sweet Revolution' in the District.
The event aimed to promote Honey production, Bee therapy, medicinal value of honey viz a viz empowering farmers, particularly women self-help groups, boost rural economy, skill development, employment generation, enhancing foodgrains production while promoting the holistic development of the beekeeping industry.
The seminar garnered praise and commendation from the District Development Commissioner Poonch, Yasin M. Choudhary who inaugurated the seminar and graced the occasion as the chief guest. His presence underscored the importance of the initiative and its potential to uplift the farming community.
The DDC, while speaking on the occasion, set target of registering atleast 100 bee keepers on Madhu Kranti Portal. He presented mementos as mark of appreciation to 23 farmers of district who have made significant strides in the practice of Bee keeping in the District.
He further asked farmers to put in efforts for cultivating good quality honey, on a massive scale so as to capitalize the rising demand and also take advantage of seminars/training programmes and awareness programme being conducted by the department for farming ventures.
Earlier, in his welcome address, Chief Agriculture Officer Poonch, Rakesh Kumar Sharma shed light on the success stories of beekeepers within the district.He apprised the guests and participating farmers that currently the region boasts 23 active beekeepers who were only 7 till last year, have flourished thanks to the unwavering support and benefits extended by the Agriculture Department.
Notably, the department has received ten fresh applications on the HADP portal signifying enthusiasm for availing the proposed 80% subsidy on Apiculture Units under HADP. In a bid to democratize knowledge, the Agriculture Department has also taken strides in offering online beekeeping training through the DAKSH Portal, available in Hindi, Urdu, and English.
The portal offers online training programs for all the projects under the Holistic Agriculture Development Programme (HADP). Furthermore, he also apprised the participating farmers that the department, besides backing private beekeepers, also runs its own Apiculture Centre and encouraged the farmers to get training and awareness of different Government schemes to establish their income-generating units under the Apiculture sector.
On the second day of the seminar, a practical demonstration camp on scientific lines was announced by Chief Agriculture Officer Poonch. This camp will provide training to new farmers interested in starting beekeeping interventions.
Adding depth to the seminar proceedings, Head of KVK Rajouri, Dr. Arvind Ishrar and a specialist in Apiculture techniques, graced the occasion as a guest lecturer on special invitation from Chief Agriculture Officer Poonch. The seminar attracted a diverse audience of over 200 farmers on first day of the Seminar and over 260 farmers on second day including farmers, Women self help groups, students from Degree college Poonch with the participation of distinguished guests, including Principal Govt. Degree College Poonch, Prof S Jasvir Singh , Prof Owaisi Professor and Head of GDC Poonch, Deputy Director Employment and Counselling Centre Poonch, Mohd Rafiq, Chief Horticulture Officer Poonch, Sanjeev Kumar, District Officer National Rural Livelihood Mission, Mohammad Owais, AGMO, CDPO Tajunnissa, Charan-Kamal Singh, District Agriculture Officer, Munshi Ram, Agronomy Specialist, Harvinder Singh, SDAO Poonch, Neeraj Sharma, Sub-Divisional Officers of Mendhar and Surankote, ADA Poonch, Jasbir Singh, and the entire field staff of the Agriculture Department Poonch.
The seminar concluded on an optimistic note with District Development Commissioner commending the Agriculture Department for its relentless efforts in raising awareness among farmers regarding innovative practices and the adoption of new agricultural methodologies.
This initiative holds the promise of transforming the lives of local farmers and contributing to the sustainable development of the region. The Department has promised to hold more such events exclusively on Beekeeping considering the enthusiasm shown by farmers during the seminar.
Beekeepers, integrated farmers, and others also engaged in interactive sessions discussing the importance of bees, the role of pollination, management of bee colonies, and high-income opportunities in the beekeeping sector.