Beekeeping, re-building livelihood opportunitiesSangeeta Bahiram, beekeeper, 30 years of age, has received education up to grade four. She lives in Varpada, Dhule in a family of seven, which comprises of her mother-in-law, sister-in-law, her husband and the couple’s three school-going children. The family is dependent on their 1.5 acres of agricultural land for subsistence. The annual income of family is Re. 20,000/- Her husband is a farmer and at times works as farm laborer in others farm to meet the needs of the family. While discussing about her economic condition she says, “A thought that lingers my mind continuously is, how we all can be less strenuous and burdensome on my husband, as he is the sole breadwinner and six of us are dependent on him.” She adds, “My husband works as a farm laborer and does the most arduous work to provide the family with two-time meal. We are amongst those under-privileged families who cannot even afford visiting a doctor during illness”.
In 2014, Sangeeta took two-day basic training in beekeeping at Vadpada. Describing her experience of the two-day training she says, “It was uncommon and unique experience for me to observe bees settling in bee-box. I was stunned and thought of it as nothing less than a miracle”. She filled two bee-boxes post-training, but the colonies absconded within one month of filling the bee-boxes, this brought her temporary dismal but it did not deterred her spirit to continue beekeeping. She again filled her bee-boxes and kept in her farm for the benefit of pollination and there is no looking back ever since.
Sangeeta while reviewing benefits of beekeeping says, “I have received multifarious benefits from beekeeping, not only have I earned money by selling honey and colonies but also from selling the excess yield harvested because of pollination impact experienced due to beekeeping”. She has also received bee flora from UTMT Society such as – drum sticks saplings and vegetables seeds. She did plant the bee flora received in her farm to make flora available to bees and generate additional income from sale of yield harvested from bee flora distributed.
Sangeeta shares, “The pollination impact of beekeeping, witnessed in agricultural output exceeds the benefits received from income generated from sale of honey and colonies. Hence I have made all possible efforts to learn the intricacies of beekeeping and today I confidently do management of my own bee-boxes independently”. She from her additional income generated through beekeeping brought four goats and built herself a small house. Also she is contesting for Sarpanch’s position in her village in upcoming elections. She lastly adds, “I shall continue bee keeping in coming years and will train others too. I am thankful to UTMT Society for the continuous handholding support provided”.