With hotels closed

Nim Dorji | Bumthang

Stories of the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on hotels in Bumthang will not come as ‘honey to the ears’ of the beekeepers in the dzongkhag.

With most hotels closed and out of business, the demand for honey from the Beekeeper’s Cooperative of Bhutan with about 80 members has declined.  Honey both bottled and unprocessed are all lying in the rooms of the association’s office in Jalikhar.

The chairperson of the cooperative, Tul Bhadur Chhetri said in the past, it was difficult to fulfill the demand of the hotels, but this year the demand has drastically decreased. The hotels and resorts in Bumthang are the main buyers.

Meanwhile, it will soon be honey harvest time. The members harvest honey twice a year, in July and September and bring to the cooperative. The bees have already started collecting the nectar.

Members of the cooperative, which was started with support from Helvetas in 1990, bring the honey to the cooperative. As per the cooperative’s rule, they are not allowed to sell on their own.

The cooperative produce around 15 metric tonnes (MT) of honey annually. They produce 30,000 bottles of 500gm honey earning more than Nu 500,000 annually.

Last year they produced around 18MT of honey. The members sell the honey at Nu 555 per kg to the cooperative.

It was learnt that the cooperative has informed the relevant authority to help the cooperative find a solution.

The cooperative has also started producing a new product called cream honey, a finely crystallized honey which will be available in the market soon.