IMPHAL, March 14 - The dying of honeybees in Manipur in the last few years has caused great concern in the agriculture sector as food grains require pollination which is helped by bees.
�We have reports of largescale dying of honeybees in the valley and hills of the State,� said Manipur Beekeepers� Federation (MBF) president S Nilakamal. �We believe the dying of bees is linked to loss of habitat, disease and use of pesticide and insecticide in farms.�
The loss of honeybees was reported mostly in Imphal East, Imphal West, Bishnupur and Senapati districts. The dramatic decline of bees is just a symptom of a failed agricultural system based on the intensive use of chemicals. Considering the alarming situation, the State Agriculture Directorate has been approached to organise a sensitisation programme for beekeepers and farmers.
�The department has assured us that a meet will be organised soon to address the issue,� Aheibam Tarakishore of MBF said on the sideline of the 3rd State-level Honey Festival here on Sunday.
Beekeepers participating in the three-day Festival are displaying �organic honey� bottles which was sold at Rs 500.
Th Angou, a beekeeper of Huikap village in Manipur�s Imphal East district urged the authorities to use honeybee-friendly bio-pesticide or insecticides in agricultural fields.
Bees are prime pollinators for a majority of food crops across the globe. According to UN�s Food and Agriculture Organisation, bees are responsible for about one-third of the total food production worldwide. In the last few years, the declining bee population has been a concern in many countries, including European nations and the United States. The problem, which has continued ever since, was reportedly identified as colony collapse disorder which is characterised by loss in number of worker bees with very few dead bees found near colonies.
A year after the European Union banned the use of three particular pesticides for two years in December 2013, India�s Fertiliser Minister Ananth Kumar assured that he will write to Agriculture Ministry to ban use of the pesticide that are harmful for bees, particularly honeybees.
However, reports said that the use of the said pesticides has been going up in the past decade. The Central Insecticide Board had reportedly recommended the said pesticides as alternatives to Endosulfan which was banned in 2011 in India.