Madhubhai Bhoya – Gujarat

Madhubhai Bhoya – Gujarat

Madhubhai Bhoya Madhubhai Bhoya,43, is a Technical Assistant working with Under the Mango Tree Society, living in Tutarkhed, Valsad with his wife and three adult children. He has a diploma in agriculture and owes 3 acres of agricultural land, of which his family earns an income of Rs. 60,000 annually.

Madhubhai, knew about beekeeping through word of mouth before he enrolled for the two-day basic training in beekeeping. He recollects, the initial two-three years were full of struggle and puzzlement, as the technical expert visited once in three months. But he continued beekeeping for honey. In 2012, hewelcomed the fact that bees impact yields as that year out of the 145 mango orchards in hisvillage, only he could harvest mangoes. In every mango orchard that year the flowers had died prematurely and had pest attacks except for his. He says, “I had kept three filled bee-boxes in my orchard and I credit bees for the alchemist role they played in pollination. I also had harvested honey from my bee-boxes that year”.

However, the crux of his course of beekeeping was in year 2013-14, when he experimented with sesame on 1 acre of his land. He describes, “It was summer and I decided to sow 1-kilogram sesame and do an amateur trial research on pollination impact of bees. I kept ten filled bee-boxes in the 1-acre land and had decided to not spray any pesticides. I regularly watered the land as and when required. I was elated when I harvested 135 kilograms of sesame. That year I observed that the stalks of sesame bended with sesame flowers on it, which I had never seen before. I was so thrilled that I used to invite people to see my sesame plot and feel allured”. That year he harvested 95 kilograms of honey which he sold to UTMT at Re. 280/Kg. He also sold 100 kilograms of sesame in local market at a price of Re. 80/kg and kept 35 kilograms for self-consumption. He recollects, “The results of my own experiment were unanticipated. I wanted everyone in the village to know about the potential spellbinding prosperity beekeeping promised me for future”. He had bought an electric motor from the money earned by selling sesame.

Discussing about his future plans, Madhubhai says, “I aim to increase the number of bee-boxes I possess and generate income from sale of colonies”. He says, “I am devoted to beekeeping for the rest of my life. Beekeeping has given me a direction in life and more importantly financial stability. I feel fulfilled when I can readily provide for all the needs of my family.”

Sarojben Deshmukh – Gujarat

Sarojben Deshmukh – Gujarat

Deshmukh 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”.