Apiculture was reintroduced as a major programme after the programme restructuring had taken place earlier this year. We decided to offer more trainings on apiculture to students, tribal and non- tribal farmers and others to help them understand the importance of bees and educate farmers to integrate bees into their farming practices, so they can benefit from the pollination services. The plan to offer a series of training’s and courses is to be implemented from this month, through which we wish to teach the basics of bees, apiculture, and the use and maintenance of equipment and to promote beekeeping as a recreational hobby.
As a part of this series, an introductory training on beekeeping was conducted at the beginning of this month at Ooty. The training took place at the Hill Area Development Programme (HADP) hall. In the beginning, the training was planned for a specific target group – tribal farmers of the Nilgiris. Since the word had spread, many of them were keen to attend this training. Around 42 tribal farmers (Women & men), organic farmers and horticulturists attended the training.
The Project Director of HADP, Deputy Block Development Officer (BDO) and officials of the SC/ST Welfare Department were also present. The HADP department is planning to provide bee boxes to the tribal farmers to maintain an apiary in their respective farms. Keystone was asked to conduct this training in association with the HADP to educate the farmers on the significance of bees and the role that they play in pollination. Justin Raj (Subject Manager – Apiculture) and Robert Leo (Deputy Director) of Keystone conducted the training. They spoke on various topics like types of bees, the science of bees, pollination, hive maintenance, handling equipment etc.
Farmers who attended the training were mostly practising beekeeping or had a small apiary in their farm, although some of them did not. Conventional farmers were able to relate how using pesticides will affect their apiaries and cause damage to bee colonies. We hope many were encouraged to make a transition to organic farming. Keystone has been supporting farmers by providing tools, equipment, bee boxes and training. At present, there are 29 bee colonies in our programme working areas out of which 16 are maintained by farmers who practise beekeeping.
We wish to increase the practice of beekeeping by conducting more trainings, each of it directed towards a specific group to make it more effective. For those of you who are interested in learning and understanding the role of bees in ecosystem, follow us on www.Facebook.com/keystonefoundation/ to get more updates on trainings and events.