Locals stop outsiders from grazing bees

- PRATAP BISTA, Hetauda

Dec 26, 2017-

Beekeepers in the western part of Makwanpur district are no longer allowing outsiders to graze their bees in their area as bee farming has been expanding at a rapid pace, leading to resources running short. 

A large number of farmers used to bring their bees to Silinge between November and March to feed them churi fruit. Most of the people of Silinge in Makwanpur have started rearing bees in modern hives. Currently, more than 80 families are involved in commercial beekeeping. 

In Silinge, where a majority of the population belongs to the Chepang community, there are around 5,000 modern beehives. Ward chairman Singha Bahadur Chepang said they had stopped outsiders from feeding bees from this year. “Due to growing bee farming in the area, the local production of churi fruit is not enough to feed bees brought from outside.” 

Last year, the consumer group of the community forest of Silinge had charged Rs150 per hive brought from outside. In addition, the land owner had charged Rs100 per hive.

In the past, farmers from Chitwan, Hetauda and Sarlahi used to bring their beehives to Silinge to feed their bees churi fruit. More than 3,000 beehives used to be brought to Silinge annually. Silinge locals adopted modern techniques after the Agricultural Development Office of Makwanpur provided skill-based training in beekeeping. 

Now, the Chepang community is in the forefront of the bee industry. Honey made from the juice of churi is of good quality, and is also good for health. It is in great demand in the market. 

A honey trader buys local honey for Rs300 per kg and sells it in Kathmandu for Rs320 per kg. Due to the good quality, churi honey is easily sold in the market. Demand has also soared. 

“The number of farmers bringing their beehives to graze their bees has been growing each year, but the churi forest has not grown,” said Krishna Bahadur Moktan, chairman of the Silinge Community Forest Users Group. “That’s why we have stopped outsiders from grazing their bees from this year.” 

Apis mellifera is the most popular species of honey bee among beekeepers. The bees have high productivity and are easier to manage compared to Apis cerana. Nepali bee farmers started raising these imported crossbreed honeybees in the early 1990s.

Published: 26-12-2017 08:46

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