Lhakpa Quendren

Sarpang—The honey business of Beekeeping Association of Doban Gewog (BKADG), in Sarpang, has had failed to take off despite being in operation for the past one decade.

Limited access to market for honey had stymied the business, according to the Bee Keepers.

In 2011, a 48-year-old Dhan Raji Rai from Chhudzom Gewog, Sarpang, started a beekeeping farm with three beehives. However, his farm had failed to see any growth.

“Today, not many beekeepers sell their produce, while others face hurdles in doing so. I earn about Nu 5,000 from honey sales in a season,” said Dhan Raji Rai. “Limited demand for honey has discouraged farm expansion and further growth.”

There were bout 100 households around the Chhudzom Gewog center alone who were in honey production business. In addition, the bee keepers lacked technical knowledge and training, and their remote locate made it difficult to access market.

Goray Sanu Rai, 48, from Pelrigang B village, started a beekeeping farm a year ago. However, the farm had not been as successful as he had hoped.

Out of the six beehives in his beekeeping farm, only one beehive of local bees remained, while the rest had flown away. The two beehives with bees he had brought from Bumthang had all died.

“I brought two bee colonies from Bumthang for Nu 10,000 each to pilot here, but it was unsuccessful. It seems the weather here is unfavourable for them,” said Goray Sanu Rai.

However, he remains determined to replace the bees and explore opportunities to expand his bee farms.

“I tried it out on my own, learning from neighbors who are engaged in beekeeping,” he said, adding that the beekeepers currently lacked the knowledge to manage and maintain beehives to ensure the health and productivity of the bee colonies.

Despite the challenges and low success rate, the beekeepers remained hopeful about promoting sustainable beekeeping practices and addressing the obstacles they faced, with many saying that “opportunities were on the way”.

“We anticipate upcoming marketing opportunities and the need for expansion,” says Meg Raj Ghalley, 40.

“If things go as expected, I will need to consider further expansion. I have acquired sufficient experience to expand my farm,” he added.

The gewog agriculture and livestock extension initially provided the beehives for free, but now each wooden box costs Nu 2,750.