MUSHALPUR, June 22 � �There are 105 families in our village and 104 youths from these families are engaged in petty jobs like security guards and hotel boys outside Assam. We want them to come back home and earn their livelihood through bee-keeping,� said Lakhi Kanta Ramchiary, an elderly man of Bishnupur Khamrigaon near Barbari in Baksa district, while expressing concern over draining out of youths in the form of work-force to Bengaluru, Chennai, Gujarat, Goa, Himachal Pradesh and Sikkim.
�We have a vision of turning our entire village into a centre of honey production by introducing bee-keeping in every family and generating livelihood for all the families,� he added.
Some youths, who had made up their minds to follow others outside Assam, have changed plans and are now engaged in bee-keeping and it is all because of the Sparrow Beekeepers� Association, Khamrigaon, an organisation of ten bee-keepers formed under the monitoring of the Green Environment Task Force (GETF), a Nalbari-based NGO with its head office in Guwahati.
Established in 2007, the GETF has been working on bee-keeping under its natural resource management programme in addition to entrepreneurship development, conservation of birds, especially the house sparrow, and a study on urban birds. Under the funding of NABARD, the bee-keeping project at Bishnupur Khamrigaon was started on October 29, 2014. Under NABARD�s assistance 150 bee boxes and excluder sheets, 10 bee-extractor machines, bee veils, swarm bags, hand gloves, storages of 50 kg capacity, bee stands and bee shades were provided to ten beneficiaries � Kalicharan Madahi, Khanin Madahi, Ajit Boro, Lakhi Kanta Ramchiary, Mahadev Ramchiary, Lakhi Ramchiary, Guneswar Ramchiary, Balaram Brahma, Nagen Basumatary and Masoor Ramchiary. The villagers have voluntarily come forward to form seven SHGs and five farmer clubs.
The bee-keepers said that at present the produce is locally sold but with the increase in the number of bee- keepers and honey production, they are hopeful of finding a market outside. In addition to this, the GETF had organised a scientific training on bee-keeping with Mridul Deka, coordinator of the KVK, Nalabri as a resource person on November 3 and 4 in 2014, a one-month certificate course on bee-keeping by the Khadi Board from January 6, 2015, a four-day training on processing, bottling and marketing by trainers Hiten Sarma and Jinu Pathak from April 21 to 24 and an entrepreneurship motivation programme by Devajit Bora, member of the GETF on April 29, 2015.