Sarojben Deshmukh – GujaratDeshmukh Sarojben, Master Trainer, 28 years of age, lives in Supdahad, Dang with her husband who is a farmer and her two school-going children. She has received education upto 9th grade. The family owes 3 hectare of agricultural land which is rain fed. The family stores half of the agricultural yield for household consumption and sell out the half in local market to mend household expenses. The annual income of family is INR. 12,000/-. Discussing about her life she says, “With limited sources of income, life is full of drudgery. The mere thought of my children’s future has always made me feel gloomy.”
In 2014, she enrolled herself in the two-day basic training in beekeeping organized by UTMT Society for benefits of honey. She says, “I never knew that bees can be domesticated and that I thought handling bees is a man’s job. But during the training I realized how uncomplicated it was”. She adds, “Post-training I filled bee-box with the help of UTMT’S technical staff and my husband, as he is a good colony spotter. During the NCT I was encouraged to handle bees by the technical team of UTMT and this inspired my husband too to come forward and assist in filling the bee-box”. Analyzing her skills, she was soon selected for Master Trainer training, she learnt all the intricacies of beekeeping in a period of one year, with the help of UTMT Society’s hand-holding support. Currently she has 3 filled bee-boxes and serves as a local resource person in beekeeping for thirteen farmers.
Sarojben, while discussing about experiencing benefits of beekeeping, admits that she experienced improvement in quality and quantity of mango, cashew and custard-apple. She says, “Not only had me but my plot neighbors also experienced perks of beekeeping in terms of improved quality and quantity of yields. All of us were conclusive that this was the impact of bees”. She adds, “I earned Re. 7,000 from sale of cashew which before beekeeping was Re. 3,000. Same was the case for mangoes, I earned Re. 10,000 from sale of mangoes which before beekeeping was Re. 4,000. Also I sold 8 kgs of honey harvested at Saputara at the rate of Re.700/kg”. The additional income generated was used by her to pay children’s school tuition fees.
Sarojben acknowledges beekeeping for giving her a headway in expanding livelihood opportunities and is decisive to continue beekeeping in future. She says, “Future seems more positive and buoyant. Beekeeping has chased away my anguish of my future”.