Honey Bee Farming Entrepreneur of Khetri Assam

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Honey Bee Farming Entrepreneur of Khetri Assam

The Many Flavours of Honey

Honey is a well-loved food; hardly anyone will disagree. Honey can come from many floral sources, giving it the distinctive flavour of the flowers the nectar is drawn from - wildflowers, multi-flora, mustard, orange…wherever the bees go foraging, they regurgitate honey of that flavour. Some time ago Zizira explorers had got in touch with a beekeeper from Assam’s Kamrup district for his honey derived from the nectar of litchi blossoms. As unprocessed honey is a product health conscious people are looking for, the team decided to visit the beekeeper and find out more. In late June 2017 we took a tourist cab to Jorabad, 80 km north of Shillong on the Shillong-Guwahati highway, and from there another vehicle eastwards to Khetri, 35 km away.

Rendezvous with a Beekeeper of Assam

Mr. Arun Mitra, the beekeeper, was waiting for us at an appointed place, ready with his motorcycle. A pleasant man of 48, he welcomed us warmly and, wasting no time, lead us to the apiary, inside a sparsely populated farmland. It was located in a corner of a field, dotted mostly with arecanut palms. Mr. Mitra rents that small portion from a farm owner, to position his 80 or so beehives. He opened one of the beehives to show and explain the different chambers and parts of the hives and how the colony functions. Download the 6 Health Benefits of Honey Infographic. The rainy season is not the season for the bees to go out foraging, explains Mr. Mitra, as he pointed to the honey that sticks to one of the frames. Nectar is scarce and the weather unsuitable for flight. So, for the most of the season they remain close to their hives. That is why enough honey is left inside the hives for them to eat till the rains last. If, by chance, honey is scarce, sugar syrup is provided, otherwise they will not survive or desert the colony. This is called swarming and swarming is a discredit to the beekeeper. The bees Mr. Mitra rears are of the European species Apis Mellifera. They have a larger body structure than Indian species and each hive yields 35-40 kgs per season. Honey is collected once a year, around December/January. Collection takes an entire day. It takes approximately 15 minutes to extract honey from each hive.

How Honey is Extracted

The honey collectors must be very careful and try not to agitate the bees too much, or they will sting. Bee stings are quite common and very unpleasant.  So, a protective gear or ‘bee-veil’ has to be worn over the face. The roof and the crown board are first removed, to expose the super chamber and the frames that store honey. Some bees will swarm there, which must be ‘smoked’ with a ’smoker’ to calm them. Then, one by one, the frames are taken out, shaken gently once or twice, so that all bees drop into the super chamber. A slight brush, with a clean brush or broom, will push the remaining bees into the super chamber. The frames will have wax capping which need scraping off. After that, the frames are  fixed onto spokes inside a cylindrical honey extractor, which is then rotated manually. By centrifugal force, all the honey separates, and falls to the bottom of the reservoir. The honey is then drained off through an attached tap. The honey collected is allowed to stand for 24 hours for the air bubbles to rise to the surface before bottling. Mr.Mitra says care should be taken not to rotate the extractor at speeds above 400 rpm. Otherwise, the honeycombs will break. That is why manual extractors are safer than motorized ones.

The Litchi Orchard

We were curious to know how Mr. Mitra called his honey ‘litchi honey’ when all we could see was arecanut palms all around. We then drove to the other side of the field, and through a large gate, entered a pathway lined on either side with hundreds of litchi trees. This is a hundred acres of litchi orchard, says Mr. Mitra; it’s where the bees get their nectar. It was an awesome sight!
Mr. Mitra at his bee farm

What is The Yield and Where Does He Sell

The previous year he got about 1200 kgs. This year he expected about 1600 kgs. His customers are mostly regular government outlets, exhibitions and shopping complexes. He also retails from home. Mustard honey and litchi honey are two popular brands his farm produces. Besides bee-keeping, Mr. Mitra has other engagements. He cultivates paddy, arecanut, vegetables etc besides pisciculture and cattle. Does he have labour problems? Not in beekeeping he says. That’s because he is also a bee-keeping instructor. But that’s another story altogether.

A True Honey Bee Farming Entrepreneur

All packaging and labeling is done in his home. In fact, Mr. Mitra is quite an entrepreneur. Besides honey and beeswax, he also manufactures and supplies all bee-keeping equipment. His home is a virtual factory. Bee-boxes, smokers, queen excluders, bee catcher boxes, bee-veils, honey extractors and others are manufactured by him. He does have about 20 bee colonies in his home site but these are the Indian Apis Cerana Indica honeybees. They are hardy bees, but they yield only about 12-15 kgs of honey per colony.

Zizira’s Good Fortune

It is Zizira’s good fortune to have met Mr. Mitra. He is very passionate about his bees and his work. He was sorry that not much bee activity could be seen when we visited, as it was the rainy season. The best time to visit, he said,  is blossom season, when one can see the bees at their busy best! Zizira is happy to bring Litchi Honey to you, from an authentic and organic source. It is Zizira’s endeavor to bring to you real-life stories about the farmers of the Northeast, the real heroes, mostly unsung and unheard of. Store-CTA



24 Responses

Soopaia Kharmawphlang
Soopaia Kharmawphlang

July 08, 2020

Hi Manoj,

To maintain the privacy of Mr Mitra, We advise you to mail your queries to support@zizira.com
We’ll provide the details through the above mentioned email id.

Thanks.

Soopaia Kharmawphlang
Soopaia Kharmawphlang

July 08, 2020

Hi Dijen,

The only information we have is for Meghalaya – Regional Resource &Training Centre(RRTC). Please contact them – They may put you in touch with an agency from your respective state.
Contact details:
Name – Regional Resource & Training Centre(RRTC).
Ph No – 7085622410 / 9615491517

All the Best!

Vinod
Vinod

July 08, 2020

If you are interested in getting Mellifera Bees at low price then email me at behovemusic@gmail.com

Soopaia Kharmawphlang
Soopaia Kharmawphlang

July 08, 2020

Hi Hemen Das,

We are glad to know your interest in bee keeping and Mr Mitra’s bee keeping venture. However, to maintain the privacy of Mr Mitra, we cannot share his contact details here but, you can write to us at support@zizira.com for the same.

Thank you!

Dijen Gogoi
Dijen Gogoi

July 08, 2020

Hello sir I want to start my been farm and I have also buy all the tools and equipment but I don’t have bees.so how can I have some bees Thinking.

Manoj K Sarma
Manoj K Sarma

July 08, 2020

Hi, I m from GUWAHATI ASSAM. I want to learn about beekeeping and start a beekeeping farm. Can you please provide me Mr. Arun Mitra’s full address and phone number.

Soopaia Kharmawphlang
Soopaia Kharmawphlang

July 08, 2020

Hi Mithinga! Thank you for writing in. Honey bee farming is quite interesting and an enjoyable business. It is not at all complicated. It is better to focus on basic beekeeping methods that have been tried and proven to work.

Soopaia Kharmawphlang
Soopaia Kharmawphlang

July 08, 2020

Hi Mithinga! Thank you for writing in. Honey bee farming is quite interesting and an enjoyable business. It is not at all complicated. It is better to focus on basic beekeeping methods that have been tried and proven to work.

Soopaia Kharmawphlang
Soopaia Kharmawphlang

July 08, 2020

Hi Jintu Das! Thank you for writing in. Glad to know you’re interested in beekeeping. If you’re a beginner at beekeeping, we suggest you to get in touch with local bee keeping agencies from Assam because in a city like Guwahati you will require Man-made hives to keep bees.

All the best!!

Soopaia Kharmawphlang
Soopaia Kharmawphlang

July 08, 2020

Hi Mukit! It is great to know your interest in bee farming. Bee farming is a rigorous process and it requires effort and dedication. It is best to get in touch with local bee keeping agencies in and around Hojai to get a complete picture of beekeeping.

All the best!!

Mithinga basumayary
Mithinga basumayary

July 08, 2020

I m mithinga unemployment I have no knowledge about bee farming but I very interest in bee farming I m from kokrajhar district help me about training, farming of bee farming

Mithinga basumayary
Mithinga basumayary

July 08, 2020

Inform me about bee farming I have no knowledge about bee farming and training but I very interest in bee farming

Elisha Sangma
Elisha Sangma

July 08, 2020

Hi Rocko,

Thank you for reaching out to us in our comments and you can reach us at support@zizira.com. Please mail us here on any queries!

Elisha Sangma
Elisha Sangma

July 08, 2020

Hi Kalyan,

Thank you for reaching out to us and we are glad to know of your interest in bee-keeping and Mr. Mitra. However, to maintain the privacy of the person concerned please reach us at our official email address. You can write to us at support@zizira.com

Thank you!

Mukit
Mukit

July 08, 2020

Hey, i m from Hojai, Assam. I am willing to start bee farming. Please let me know the process and procedures coz i m new to this field.

Jintu Das
Jintu Das

July 08, 2020

I am from guwahati and I want to provide pure honey to the common people as there is nothing next to honey…besides bees are getting extinct…help me sir/mam to reverse everything and let nature do its work..to be frank I don’t have much idea about beekeeping.. But I do know , they the Bees need our help for sure…

Hemen Das
Hemen Das

July 08, 2020

Me to very intetrsted in bee keeping..would you please give me the contact of Mr.Mitra..

Kalyan Nath
Kalyan Nath

July 08, 2020

Hi, I m from Assam, BONGAIGAON. I want to start a new bee keeping farm in my home town. Can you please provide me with Mr. Mitra’s complete address and phone number.

Rocko
Rocko

July 08, 2020

Sir please give me your contact num I am from lakhimpur,Assam

Vilasini Kumar
Vilasini Kumar

July 08, 2020

Hi Ajay, The author of this blog post will be replying to your question too. Meanwhile, here is information we have. You can buy a bee box directly from RRTC, Umran, Meghalaya. Please contact them – they may put you in touch with an agency in Assam. Here is their contact details:

Products Available for Sale:
Bee Box, Honey Extractor (Steel Stainless) and other Beekeeping Tool Kits are available at Rural Resource & Training Centre (RRTC), Umran. Contact: 7085622410 / 9615491517
All the best!

prasanta kumarborah
prasanta kumarborah

July 08, 2020

Som important pleas contact me

Vilasini Kumar
Vilasini Kumar

July 08, 2020

Hi Ajay, the author of this post has spoken with Mr. Mitra and he will be happy to help you. I will send you his contact number over email. All the best!

Vilasini Kumar
Vilasini Kumar

July 08, 2020

Hi Prasanta, please do share your questions or comments right here. We will follow up with you. Thanks!

ajay shankar kairi
ajay shankar kairi

July 08, 2020

Pls give me full address of Mr mitra..
M also from Assam
Cachar…want to start an beekeeping…
…I want training and bees apis melifera ,,and all information about beekeping….pls help me

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