· Madhu Sandesh project creates substantial gains in yield and income, over the past year, underscoring the importance of pollination to agricultural outcomes in Pomegranate and Onion Seed production.
· 17 project farmers recognised for outstanding contribution to promoting awareness of pollination and responsible use of crop protection products, Madhu Sandesh project, in Baramati region of Maharashtra
· CropLife India and Agriculture Development Trust, Krishi Vigyan Kendra (KVK) Baramati to expand “Madhu Sandesh” project to more crops and farmers, to promote pollination through honeybee hives.
Baramati/Pune, 3 November 2016 :CropLife India in collaboration with Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) and Agriculture Development Trust, KVK Baramati held an award ceremony to felicitate the participants of the “Madhu Sandesh” pollination project. The ceremony,) was held to review and celebrate the outstanding outcomes of a pilot project to promote beekeeping and pollination services in agriculture.
CropLife India, which has been working closely with the farmers and the bee keepers about technical applications on the responsible use of crop protection, also launched a mobile application at the occasion. This application facilitates improvement in crop yields and better quality pollination services, encouraging the use of technology in farming practices. KVK, Baramati, through its depth ofagriculture extension experience organized awareness and training programs for farmers and beekeepers on the importance of pollinators and good bee keeping practices to promote a sustainable environment for agriculture.
Mr Brij Uberoi, CEO CropLife India said, “As an industry body trying to work towards better practices in crop protection, this project helped us bring together various stakeholders and technology for remarkably better proven results in both crop yields and quality pollination. Through CropLife’s pollinator strategy, we were able to bring together crop protection industry, farmers, government agencies, scientists, universities and beekeeping organizations to work towards one goal - protecting pollinator health. Aligned with the government’s “Grow Safe Food”, campaign, the project has demonstrated a way to incentivize IPM (Integrated Pest Management) compliant behavior, helping farmers witness the value through stakeholder partnership groups.”
Dr Syed Ali, Head Scientist, ADT, KVK, Baramati, said “Through an integrated approach to Pollination, using Honey Bee Hives, the project farmers, have experienced extraordinary crop yield and incomes in Pomegranate and Onion Seed Production, the key crops in the Baramati region of Pune district in Maharashtra, which essentially underscores the potential gains for India’s agriculture through the promotion of pollination and collaboration with the apiculture industry. “
CropLife India provided 250 beehives to Agriculture Development Trust’s KVK, Baramati, to support 150 pomegranate growers and 34 onion seed producers , while bi-weekly visits by project staff kept a check on beehives and offer crop-specific IPM trainings covering 46 Villages across the Baramati region (Pune) Maharashtra. Thus, demonstrating and promoting the proliferation and professionalization of the beekeeping industry, through institutional capacity building, entrepreneurship and the provision of training opportunities for beekeepers in the region.
Dr R.K. Thakur, Project Coordinator, ICAR-AICRP, said “When we see the overall scenario of the country, Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) has 26 centres across the country which are being located in different agroecological zones. Now is the time where we should start thinking about protecting pollinators while utilizing different IPM tactics”.
According to the FAO (Food & Agriculture Organization of UN), India is home to the world’s largest honey bee population, with 11.5 million bee colonies in 2010. The pace of growth has accelerated markedly since 2005. Nearly 35% of the food crops in the world are pollination dependent and this is where bees come to the rescue of the human population- “increased food production through healthy bee population.” Despite Indiabeing home to one of theworld’s largest (managed) bee population, the contribution of bees to food production is underappreciated and underutilized. Especially within the farming community, one finds less awareness regarding the benefits of bees to agriculture and the necessity of protecting them.
Over the past year , CropLife India signed an MOU with Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) and Agriculture Development Trust (ADT), Krishi Vigyan Kendra (KVK) Baramati (Pune) to create awareness amongst to farmers pollinate their crops with beehives and responsible use of crop protection products. Madhu Sandesh, a pilot project was designed to help farmers and beekeepers communicate and achieve optimal quality and crop yields, through the usage of pollination, good beekeeping practices and the responsible use of crop protection products, usage of PPE (Personal Protection Equipment), Spraying techniques, including the usage of the Mobile App “Madhu Sandesh”, which can be downloaded from the Google App store. In Hindi, Madhu denotes Honey while Sandesh means Message. https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.beekeeperasia
Knowledge partners in the project, constituted of the All India Coordinated Research Project on Honey Bees & Pollinators (AICRHBP), IARI, New Delhi; KVIC Mahabaleshwar; CBRTI Pune; MPKV Rahuri, who inducted the project participants with awareness and training on pollination services, Honeybees as pollinators, IPM (Integrated Pest Management), Responsible Use of Crop Protection Products, Good Bee health and Bee Keeping practices and Impact of pollinators on crop yields while sustaining quality. In addition, few local youths were developed into young professionals, around the project area were trained as “Train the Trainers” in the who travelled to far off villages to impart training on Good Bee Keeping practices including spraying techniques and usage of PPE (Personal Protection Equipment) equipment during spraying activity.