The Stakeholder Conference on Promoting Apiculture in the North East saw the signing of a memorandum of understanding (MoU) between the Meghalaya Farmers’ Empowerment Commission (MFEC) and North East Centre for Technology Application and Reach (NECTAR).
The two-day event was attended by Chief Minister Conrad K Sangma alongside other dignitaries, academics and experts in the fields of beekeeping and agriculture.
The MoU aims to foster collaboration and mutual support in the advancement of apiculture in the state. This will lead to the further development of innovative techniques and practices in apiculture, a press release stated today. This collaboration will also create opportunities for capacity building and skill enhancement among the farmers in Meghalaya.
Speaking on the occasion, Sangma acknowledged the significance of apiculture in Meghalaya’s agricultural landscape and remarked, “Such a large-scale conference of stakeholders is unprecedented in the North East where we are joined by experts ranging from scientists to farmers and entrepreneurs, all of whom are actively contributing to the collective commitment towards harnessing the potential of this industry.”
The Chief Minister recalled the success story of the Lakadong Mission to promote the state’s turmeric crop, whose production has increased 15 times using new technologies, generating employment for women-led self-help groups and boosting the local economy.
“Meghalaya’s strategy will be to develop niche products with domestic and international demand,” Sangma added. “By providing the right training and resources to local beekeepers, the government hopes to not only boost the income of rural communities but also reshape the industry through a scientific and technology driven approach. Through the signing of the MoU today, we will be able to form partnerships with major players such as NECTAR, which will benefit our farmers. The government recognises that beekeeping is still an untapped sector that is about to receive significant investments and manpower so that the target of 1 lakh Meghalayan farmers can add apiculture to their agricultural practices.”
The government of Meghalaya has allocated a substantial investment of Rs 54 crore to the apiculture project and identified 48 clusters spread across the state, ensuring that the benefits of apiculture reach various regions and communities. This initiative is set to impact the lives of 5,000 beneficiaries. Each beneficiary will receive financial assistance of Rs 70,000, enabling them to venture into apiculture.
Furthermore, the establishment of the Integrated Bee Development Centre in Sambrak, North Garo Hills, will serve as a pivotal resource hub to support beekeeping activities and foster the growth of the industry, the release added. To add value to the honey produced and create local processing opportunities, the project aims to set up 10 cluster-level honey processing units, directly benefiting 4,000 beneficiaries, empowering them as entrepreneurs. In order to support overall bee population growth, the project is distributing 20,200 beehive boxes among the beekeepers. The government is also conducting a total of 55 training sessions in batches, imparting essential knowledge and skills to beekeepers to effectively manage their apiculture ventures.