Mohammed Rafiq Malik, 22, pursuing graduation and an entrepreneur in the Tangmarg area of Baramulla district in North Kashmir, compares himself with the men who have brought transformation in the world. “We at least a group of hundred young boys are trying to help increase the production of Local honey, we have once been the best honey exporters to the world and now we are killing our own roots,” Rafiq who owns a bee- farm in Budgam thinks.
“Rafiq deals in honey, which is processed and packed at his own plant in the area. “I always had the desire of starting my own business. And I am thankful to honey bees for making me realize my dream,” Rafiq told The Kashmiriyat.
Kashmir Valley with vast tracts of horticultural land, has a great potential for beekeeping and exporting honey to various countries. This has prompted the agriculture department of Kashmir to promote beekeeping in the region. Horticultural farmers who took to beekeeping are reaping rewards for their efforts. Apiary business has also given rise to successful processing units.
The variants of honey are numerous, depending on the region and the flower that has been kissed by the busy-busy bee. Packed with natural sugar, the different types of honey come with a distinctive aroma, taste, consistency and colour. So, as to get a better idea, we take a closer look into the ever so sweet world of liquid gold in India.
Rafiq’s interest in the apiculture sector grew more and more, so he began to study about the beekeeping exhaustively, “I took to the internet and learnt a whole host of things about the beekeeping. I wanted to know well-nigh everything about the bee-keeping” Rafiq told The Kashmiriyat.
Rafiq says that he has focused on the packaging and started packing the produce into the crystal-clear glass jars of different sizes. He also formed his own brand- Gulmarg Honey
Honey business like any traditional business has been hit in the recent years due to the adulterated material being exported to the foreign countries especially.
“We are now promoting honey bees as agents of pollination which will not only result in increasing crop productivity, but will also increase honey production in Jammu Kashmir. The idea is also to generate employment through this sector by value addition,” Altaf Aijaz Andrabi Director, Department of Agriculture Kashmir, told The Kashmiriyat.
Beekeeping is an old industry in Kashmir that provides livelihood to thousands of families, he said.
Andrabi feels that there is a huge scope for it world over. We have already been exporting it to United Kingdom since 2001 and we are working out various strategies to take it out to other international markets.
The Agro Corporation believes Kashmir offers excellent climate facilitates rich floral for honey production.