LUDHIANA, DECEMBER 13: “In India, there are about 7.17 lakh honey bee colonies on the farmers’ fields. These colonies of Italian honey bee are producing 2,65,500 quintal of honey with an average of over 37 kg/colony/years. The honey produced has not only contributed in improving the nutrition of the citizens of India, but has also helped the nation to earn a lot of foreign exchange through the export of honey,” divulged the scientists of the Punjab Agricultural University (PAU) of Krishi Vigyan Kendra (KVK), Muktsar. Revealing that Punjab is having the largest number of 2,50,000 colonies, the scientists told that there are 25,000 bee-keepers in the state and honey production is 10,000 metric tons. Although Punjab is a leading state in India in honey production, yet there is a lot of scope for expanding this enterprise as there is sufficient area under agricultural crops and wild fora which can support 1.2 million colonies, added they. The scientists namely Dr N.S. Dhaliwal and Dr Gurmeet Singh emphasized that the proper marketing is an important aspect for growth and prosperity of bee-keepers in Punjab.
Providing tips to the farmers for enhancing honey market, Dr Dhaliwal said that distribution plays an important role in marketing. It is essential to set the profits for stockist, distributors, dealers and sub dealers. The honey sold in recycled bottles does not receive the deserved appreciation, said he, adding that if sold in narrow mouth squash bottles, it granulates in winter and is difficult to pour out and gives a lingering feeling that granulates are perhaps crystals of sugar.
Dr Singh said that the bee-keepers should focus on packaging as it provides protection to the product, appeals to the customer and prevents adulteration. Labeling should be considered as a tool to communicate with the consumers. Honey should be in attractive jars and containers having catching labels. He informed that the label must consist of trade name, AGMARK grade, name of producer, date of packaging, amount of honey and expiry date. Pamphlets along with the product pack should be circulated to enhance the usage of honey in daily life. Honey gift packs are to be placed in the market during the marriage season and festival times, stressed Dr Singh.
The PAU scientists while imparting important tips for the export of the honey said that the larger drums of 200 litre capacity are required for this purpose. A drum of this size holds 290 kg honey and the drums are sent abroad in 20 ft long containers which carry 18.85 tons of net honey. Intermediate companies like management and export trading companies can be contacted for the export. The scientists told that the foreign buyers want honey free from contaminants like sulphur and other heavy metals. They generally like to import single source honey with specific flavours. In international trade, long term commitment of supply are required as once the foreign firms launch a product, want to continue the supply of the same standards fixed. They emphasized that proper contacts are needed with freight company that can advise on freight rates, documentation, export packing and other requirements. The scientists stressed that for maintaining the quality of honey, the time of transport and the route are other important significant considerations.