The University of Agricultural Sciences (UAS), Bengaluru, will offer a distance learning course in beekeeping, according to DL Savithramma, Dean (Agriculture) of the College of Agricultural Sciences of UAS.
Speaking at the inauguration of a webinar on ‘beekeeping’, organised by UAS-B, on Tuesday, she said UAS-B was a pioneer in starting a department exclusively for apiculture in 1997-98. This department has produced more than 70 postgraduates in apiculture till now. From 2020-21, UAS will be offering one-year distance learning course on beekeeping, she said.
Stressing the need to increase apiculture activity in the country, Savithramma said the country has only 12 lakh bee colonies as against the requirement of more than 150 lakh colonies. Nearly 50 lakh ha under various crops is dependent on honey bees for pollination; ,around 30 per cent of food crops and 80 per cent of fruit, vegetable and forest produce depend on honey bees for pollination, she said.
In India, around 2.5 lakh farmers who are into apiculture produce around 61,000 tonnes of honey a year. However, China produces around 4.6 lakh tonnes of honey a year. The area under apiculture needs to be increased, she said.
S Rajendra Prasad, Vice-Chancellor of UAS-B, said that some plants have specific medicinal value. Efforts are on to focus on apiculture activities in areas where such plants are located. Research is on in this regard, he said.
Urging farmers to take up beekeeping activities, he said it will help improve their income to a great extent.
YG Shadakshari, Director (Research) of UAS-B, said apiculture is part of an integrated farming system. Pollination by bees helps increase crop yield, he said.