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SAVING THE POLLINATOR BEES

SAVING THE POLLINATOR BEES
By Nagaland Post | Publish Date: 5/31/2020 4:56:38 AM IST

 The ‘World Bee Day’is celebrated on 20thMay of every year with the main theme ‘Save Bees’. This day is being endorsed by the United Nations General Assembly and supported by the FAO (Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN). In India the National Bee Board, Department of Agriculture, Cooperation and Farmers Welfare,  Ministry of Agriculture and Farmer’s Welfare, Government of India has directed all the State Governments to celebrate World Bee Day on 20th May of every year by making 2-3 days programmes in respective States in order to create mass awareness about scientific beekeeping and the importance of beekeeping in increasing the crop yields of various agricultural and horticultural crops through pollination support of bees and to boost beekeeping activities in the States and the country as a whole. But this year owing to the COVID- 19 Pandemic and prohibition of large gatherings the day could not be observed appropriately, unlike other years. This article is part of the celebration along with a radio talk show being planned out by Nagaland Beekeeping and Honey Mission to mark the event. 

Worldwide dedication of a day (20th May) every year for the bees is aimed to drawn the attention of the communities around the world on the colossal role that honey bees plays in protecting our rich yet fragile bio diversities and the magnitude of scope that the beekeeping sector holds for the socio economic benefit of the people. It provides a good opportunity to share a common platform for all the stakeholders, policy makers, funders, implementing agencies, beekeepers, researchers, honey entrepreneurs, manufacturing units and allied departments to share vital knowledge and learnings on the various nuances of beekeeping and celebrate this occasion through vibrant convergences for strengthening the network. So that together the stakeholders can usher in a bee friendly environment and strengthen livelihoods by promoting beekeeping as a vibrant eco-friendly livelihood activity. At the same time it will create a well-equipped population of beekeepers for sustainability of the beekeeping sector. 

Honey bees and all other pollinator bees have been working tirelessly in our field for millennia and in the process pollinating our agricultural crops and therefore considered as farmers best friend.Beekeeping is a catalyst for all round integrated agricultural development, it is an ideal agro based enterprise that can supplement income and can be easily adopted as a commercial vocation.  Being a low cost land based activity, beekeeping is very much suitable for the ecosystem of integrated agricultural practices of Nagaland. 

Honey bees are the most industrious and valuable creatures for mankind. They are the source of honey and various other hive products like royal jelly, propolis, bees’ wax and bee venom. There is a scope for establishing a vibrant cottage industry for honey and other hive products to strengthen local economies. Growing awareness on the benefits of honey as a wholesome food has led to increase in honey consumption. The search for pure unadulterated organic honey is on the rise by a growing numbers of health conscious consumers and honey connoisseurs. With reports of most honey available in world markets branded suspect as synthetic honey, increased usage of antibiotics in management of honey bees leading to poor or hazardous quality of honey. In such a scenariothe demand for pure organic honey produced from States like ours is on the rise. Our farming systems being organic by practice offers a very good scope for production and marketing of organic honey as a lucrative enterprise. 

Presently in the world there are various challenges like loss of exotic bee species affecting honey production. Besides various other emerging threats due to habitat loss caused by loss of vegetation, rampant deforestation and increased areas under human habitation. Bees need a clean and healthy environment, they are part of the delicate balance in the ecosystem. The existence of natural bee colonies is a good indicator of a healthy environment. Threat of jungle fires, logging, mining and deforestation are factors that severely affect the forest cover and ultimately the loss of natural habitats for the wild species of honey bees like the rock bees and little bees.The loss or fragmentation of suitable habitats reduces nesting environment for the bees. Also practice of growing gardens with flowers that are not friendly to pollinators as in mono-cropping needs to be discouraged. Another major challenge to the honeybees and beekeeping are the effects of climate change, this has affected honeybee populations and beekeepers worldwide. Due to the effects of Climate change, bees’ behaviours are effected, flowering patterns of plants are effected and ultimately honey production is affected. Besides the rampant use of harmful pesticides has led to poisoning of bee colonies and entire bee populations been wiped out. Also the introductions of exotic species threatening the indigenous bee species. 

Saving the pollinator bees has real economic, ecological, emotional and ethical value. Pollination, biodiversity and our well-being are all interconnected. To bring about global, sustainable and ambitious change the need of the hour is to educate everyone about valuable contributions by out pollinator bees and make concerted efforts to save the bees for the future survival of mankind and ecosystems. Growing trends of environmental conscious and climate change activism amongst the younger generation needs to be encouraged for saving the planet and all the various life forms it supports. 

Celebrating world bee day should be aimed to sensitize young minds and teach them to be ardent bee lovers and ultimately be stalwarts of the environment. student communities, eco clubs and educational institutes needs to be an integral part of this campaign to save the bees by participating in events like painting, essay, photography, bee marathons and other such engaging activities which revolves around awareness on saving the pollinator bees.

Honey bees are responsible for pollinating about 80% of all flowering plant species, they cross-pollinate flowers, diversify the genetic background of seed, and help plant species reproduce and survive. At least 1/3 of the world’s agricultural crops relies on pollinators for their pollination. Therefore lesser the bees the lesser biodiversity. They cross-pollinate flowers, diversify the genetic background of seed, and help plant species reproduce and survive. 

Since bees are the most important pollinators, without the bees a lot of the food which we eat today will not be produce fast enough to feed the world population. If bees become extinct, so will many species of plants. If bees are gone the food chain will be broken. Even farm animals need the food from pollinations. Some plants will not be able to grow due to lack of pollination. Production of seeds, nuts, berries and fruits are highly relied on pollination. Among all pollinators, honeybees are the most efficient and cheapest way of increasing crop yields. Given this fact, it is pertinent to look at honeybees and other pollinator’s bees as vital for food security and the most important agents in the food chain and therefore beekeeping as vital for food security. 

Nagaland was the first state to have launched a dedicated mission in year 2007 for the promotion of beekeeping and honey activities in the country to create a roadmap for enhancing the existing potentials through technology reach and beekeeping development interventions. Nagaland is also the first State in the country to have decided to declare 5th December of every year as the ‘Nagaland Honey Bee Day’ through a cabinet approval in the year 2017, and since then we have celebrated ‘Nagaland Honey Bee Day’for last 2 years, coinciding with the annual Hornbill Festival. 

Without a doubt the State with its rich bio diversity has vast potentials for bee colonies to thrive and rejuvenate in its natural habitats,to develop and further upgrade the beekeeping and honey sector and be in the reckoning as a major beekeeping hub for the rest of the country and the region. Our Strength lies in the availability of natural resources of indigenous bee species, which are more resistant to bee diseases and requires less management inputs. Rural Nagaland had a strong tradition in beekeeping and traditional beekeeping practices is an integral part of our rich culture. The existence of a huge tribal populations that are attuned to living off the forest and its resources in a sustained manner paves the way for ushering in a thriving beekeeping and honey sector. The apicultural activities in the state has substantially undergone a shift from a largely rudimentary level to a well organised and sustainable livelihood activity in all the Api villages spread across the state, once isolated beekeepers have become more unified and empowered. 

The nascent beekeeping and honey sector of the State promises to be an Investor’s destination as it offers an enormous potential for research undertakings on the bee species diversity, honey marketing, value additions, development of apitherapy and bee tourism which is largely lying untapped. These is something which we should leverage on and try to put the beekeeping scenario in the right trajectory and envision for accelerating the economic growth of the State through this sector. 

Things you can do to save the bees 

* Stop indiscriminate usage of pesticides and  insecticides 

Stop jungle burning as they destroy natural habitats 

Plant bee foraging plants 

Provide sites for bee hives 

Support your local beekeeper

Learn about bees and tell others

Become a beekeeper

Chubanungla Shilu 

Team Member

Nagaland Beekeeping and Honey Mission 

6th Mile, Sovima NH-29 

Dimapur Nagaland- 797112

Email apimail@rediffmail.com

Launched on December 3,1990. Nagaland Post is the first and highest circulated newspaper of Nagaland state. Nagaland Post is also the first newspaper in Nagaland to be published in multi-colour.

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