UTMT Society began its work in Madhya Pradesh after receiving the World Bank Development Marketplace award in 2013.Mandla and Chhindwara districts are the focus districts in the state, where beekeeping is undertaken with two species of indigenous bees, Apis cerana indica and Trigona.
Trigona Beekeeping has taken off in a big way in Mandla district with several innovations in propagating Trigona bee colonies.
A Beekeeping Resource Centre (BRC) in Jamai block, Chhindwara district serves as a focal point for farmer trainings and meetings.
Kavita, a 28-year-old beekeeper from Umradi village in Jamai blockis the first woman to undertake beekeeping in the block. She lives in a family of eight consisting of her husband, three kids, parents-in law, brother-in law, and grandmother-in law. Kavita had no idea about beekeeping prior to attending the awareness programme conducted by UTMT Society in her village in 2017. It was after she saw Sanju (local master trainer) handling bees during the awareness meeting that an interest grew within her and she attended the training programme.
She cheerfully recounts how as a kid she was once stung by bees while honey hunting and had developed a deep fear since then. But now after seeing so many boxes and bees working on their crops, she is happy to have lost her fear of bees and knows that they will not sting unless they feel threatened. On being asked if she’s 100% confident around bees now, she chuckles and says “I have a bee veil to protect myself if I ever feel scared.”
She is an enthusiastic and keen beekeeper. In 2017, within a few months after placing her first bee box, she filled two more boxes with the help of division. She is now a proud owner of three bee boxes.
Kavita’s farm has vegetables such as bottle gourd, ladies finger, tomatoes, potatoes, bitter gourd, mustard, sesame and green peas. She has seen both quantitative and qualitative impact on her crops due to beekeeping. In both 2017-18 and 2018 – 2019, the family was able to earn approximately Rs. 15,000 from the sale of crops due to improved yields.Self-consumption of crops has also increased contributing to better nutrition levels for the household.