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Honey makes good money

Komal Kharka, Bumthang

Feb 13 2013

HoneyMakesMoneyThe Beekeepers’ Cooperative of Bumthang is finding it difficult to meet the ever-increasing demand for honey. Currently, honey produced in Bumthang is not sufficient even for the local market. And there are already demands coming from outside the country.

There are more than 32 members in the Cooperative, not only from Bumthang but also from different Dzongkhags. They bring their produce to Bumthang every year. Last year, the Cooperative received over 15 metric tonnes of honey.

The Chairman of the Cooperative says Bumthang has the maximum number of commercial beekeepers, but honey production has declined over the years. “Production has declined in Bumthang due to construction works all over.  This has reduced the pasture land for bees,” said Tek Bahadur Pulami, adding that from three to four hundred beehives in Bumthang the beehives have gone up to over one thousand beehives.

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In an attempt to respond to the pressure of growing demand for honey, the Chairman and other Cooperative members are looking at ways to increase honey production. “We are also encouraging more farmers to practise beekeeping. If possible, from this year, we are planning to do migratory beekeeping.

“As a first trial basis we are planning to move certain numbers of bees to other places like Haa. If we are successful in increasing our product from migratory beekeeping we think we can meet the increasing demand of the local market,” said the Chairman Tek Bahadur Pulami.

The Chairman also said the international demand for honey, especially, from China, is due to Bhutanese honey being organic with no added preservatives.

The Beekeepers’ Cooperative aims to achieve self-sufficiency in honey production, and will consider export when local demand has been met.

The Cooperative of Bumthang was started in 1986 in Bumthang under the Helvetas project.

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