Modern Beekeeping In Dophuchen Yields Much Sought-After Bhutanese Honey, Royal Jelly And More

Email

Other by-products such as wax, royal jelly, pollen and propolis are also in healthy demand in the market.

A beekeeper tending to his beehive. (Source: ecornell)

 

By Rajesh Rai | Kuensel

For the people of Dophuchen (Dorokha) in Samtse, the return of a native who has worked in a beekeeping cooperative in Bumthang was the source of inspiration for them to take up modern beekeeping.

The residents, who practiced traditional beekeeping, have now become members of a beekeeping group and have started practising modern methods.

Romnath Acharja, 34 of Maneygaon village is the man who has introduced modern beekeeping to the locality. He returned home in 2012 to shoulder family responsibilities after his brother has passed away.

By then, he already had six years of working experience at the beekeepers’ cooperative in Bumthang and four years of beekeeping practice on his own.

“It was the only skill I had when I returned home,” he said. “So I started on a trial.”

Romnath Acharja said that he actually only started to look for support in the third year of the trial.

“From the Dorokha livestock office to the Agriculture Research Development Centre in Jakar, I sought help.

Support from the Queen’s Project for the Dophuchen Beekeeping Group

“The Queen’s Project came to support us and we formed the Dophuchen Beekeeping Group (DBG).”

It has been two years since the farmers have been getting support from the project.

From training to subsidies and motivations, the Queen’s Project has also funded the new beekeeping centre and its equipment. About 100 new hives would also be provided soon.

Romnath Acharja, DBG’s chairman said that farmers came to observe his beehives and were eager to learn.

“This encouraged me to take the initiative to a new level and that is how I started to look for support,” he said.

Beekeeping requires little land but can potentially yield good income

He said that beekeeping is a full-fledged activity now. “Beekeeping is the only farming activity where small amounts of land could be used effectively to earn a good income.”

About half an hour’s walk from the DBG centre, Krishna Bahadur Rai, 36 has two modern hives. As a member of the group, he has been training for the past year.

He said that his family does not own much land, thus beekeeping is the best way to make a livelihood.

Krishna Bahadur Rai, the secretary of DBG and Romanth Acharja train other interested farmers.

Under the three gewogs of Dophuchen, Dorokha gewog has 37 farmers trained in beekeeping while Denchukha has 32 and Dumtey has 27 farmers. The members have about 200 modern hives in total.

In the last one year, Krishna Bahadur Rai has supplied about 20kg of natural honey to the group. The DBG members say that the Queen’s Project has boosted their confidence and inspired them to take beekeeping to new heights.

Strong demand for Bhutanese honey

The project also buys all the honey from DBG. It gives subsidies to members such as the modern hive box, which costs around Nu 2,800 but is provided at a subsidised rate of Nu 500.

The group generated 470kg of natural honey in 2017. About 320kg were supplied to the project, while the rest were sold in the local market. The farmers are paid Nu 500 a kg by the group. The group buys the honey at any time of the year so that farmers could have cash whenever they required.

Another member, Chemnath Timsina said that the market demand for honey is huge but the group is still not producing enough. “I want to keep at least 300 modern hives,” he said.

Meanwhile, honey is harvested thrice in a year, according to the DBG members. It is harvested from January-February, June to July and from September-October.

In the first phase of the harvest time in January-February this year, the group collected 62kg of honey. The DBG members said that they have collected about 72kg of honey in the current phase, adding that the collection is set to continue until the end of July.

Amazing by-products of honey which are much sought after in the market

Romnath Acharja said that the group can potentially extract at least 1,000kg of honey this year. Other by-products such as wax, royal jelly, pollen and propolis are also in healthy demand in the market.

The DBG chairman said that he is trying to market all these products so that farmers can stand to enjoy more benefits.

“Farmers are already earning through the sale of honey wax, which is used to construct artificial comb for the bees,” he said.

 “At times we receive calls from people of sightings of swarms,” Romnath Acharja said. “Ants and hornets are also a problem, but they can be managed.”

The vegetation in Dophuchen is favourable and there is no need to feed the bees, Romnath Acharja said.

DBG has also started to train members in queen breeding. This method of breeding domesticates the bees and this means easy management.

“We can choose the larvae from the best performing hives and convert them to queen bees,” Romnath Acharja said, adding that this would help the new hives perform better.

Challenges facing modern beekeeping in Dophuchen

However, as beekeeping is not new in Dophuchen, the transition to modern beekeeping remains a challenge, according to the chairman.

“There are countless traditional beekeepers,” he said, adding that both members and non-members still follow the traditional method.

“My aim is to do away with the traditional method completely.”

 

This article first appeared in Kuensel and has been edited for the Bhutan Times.

 


Related Posts

Demand for Bhutanese Honey Encourages Farmers To Take Up...

Bhutan’s organic honey is highly sought after for its fine quality.

Apr 16, 2018 00:31

Constructive Steps Need To Be Taken For Bhutan To Become 100%...

Various measures need to be taken for Bhutan to become 100% organic by 2020.

Jun 06, 2018 15:26

Nine Bhutanese Nature-Based Products Launched

The products include anti-wrinkle cream, balm, liniment oil, massage oil, perfume, soaps, and hand sanitisers developed...

Apr 07, 2018 16:25

Eastern Farmers Cashing In On Watermelon Cultivation

Farmers said that growing watermelons is easier than cultivating other cash crops like chillies and potatoes, since...

Jan 28, 2018 16:34

Orange Trees Climb Higher in Bhutan with Climate Change

“Since the upper altitude regions are bearing more oranges than lower altitude regions, we believe it’s due to the...

Mar 25, 2018 21:13

Growing Black Sesame in Nichula

“The weather and soil are suitable for this crop,” the manager said, adding that the Farm Machinery Centre (FMC) in...

Feb 02, 2018 07:17

Latest

News

National Assembly Election 2018: Druk Nyamrup Tshogpa And Druk Phuensum Thosgpa Through To General Round

Druk Nyamrup Tshogpa secured 92,722 votes and Druk Phuensum Thosgpa secured 90,020 votes.

Sep 15, 2018 21:50

Samdrup Jongkhar Aims To Be The First Plastic Free Town In Bhutan

It may take time for Samdrup Jongkgar to become a completely plastic-free town but the residents will work towards fulfilling this dream...

Sep 11, 2018 16:56

Features

Drukgyel Dzong Which Used To House Sacred Bhutanese Documents Lost to A Fire In 1951, To Be Restored By 2022

The reconstruction works began in April 2016 after the command of His Majesty The King to celebrate the birth of His Royal Highness (HRH)...

Sep 17, 2018 15:42

11 Year Old Author Revives Forgotten Snowball Culture Of ‘Khakey’ In Bhutan

Khakey is a custom that originated in Western Bhutan and was popular a few generations ago.

Sep 13, 2018 19:27

Sports

Bhutanese Female Athlete Aces In Athletics And Boxing While Juggling Studies

Tandin was selected to compete at the 18th Asian Games in Indonesia last month.

Sep 09, 2018 17:24

An American Won The Breath-Taking 268km Tour Of The Dragon Mountain Bike Race In Bhutan

The 268 km race is considered as the toughest one-day mountain bike race in the world.

Sep 05, 2018 16:30

Business

Cultivation Of Avocado Looks Set To Take Off In Tsirang, Bhutan

A few farmers have already started selling avocados in the Sunday vegetable market for about Nu 250-350 a kilogram.

Sep 18, 2018 15:38

BEBL Group Aims To Export Bhutan’s Finest Agro-Products To New Markets Such As The Middle-East

Most of the Bhutanese commodities are absorbed within the Indian market, BEBL feels that the farmers are deprived of their deserving market...

Sep 14, 2018 17:52

Travel

Handicrafts Shops Thrives In Paro Selling Bhutanese Textile, Paintings, Bamboo Products And More

With businesses picking up fast as a result of the tourism boom, the handicraft shops in Paro have even formed a committee with a...

Sep 16, 2018 14:56

Be Awe-Inspired By The ‘Dance Of The Terrifying Gods’ And More At The Thimphu Tshechu Which Starts On 19 Sept

Held from 19 to 21 Sept 2018, the annual Thimphu Tshechu (festival) is a vibrant visual feast for both locals and foreigners.

Sep 12, 2018 20:45

Lifestyle

Miniature Bhutan Creates Amazing Artworks Out Of Pencil Lead And Rice Grains

Miniature Bhutan carves on the lead of pencil tips to make traditional miniature sculptures such as the Buddha, traditional bridges, swords...

Sep 10, 2018 12:44

Bhutan Buy - E-Commerce Platform Seeks To Promote Sale Of Bhutanese Products And Change The Way Bhutanese Shop

Samir Pradhan started Bhutanbuy, an e-commerce company, the first of its kind in Bhutan.

Sep 06, 2018 23:30

Subscribe to our newsletter

Never miss out on new happenings and news stories!