Mustard boon for beekeepers
Around 180 tonnes of honey were produced by the bees from the mustard crop in the district between mid-November and mid-December, making growers hopeful of getting a good earning.
This amount is six times more than that of last year, said sources at the Department of Agriculture Extension (DAE) in the district.
Fifteen farmers of the district, along with 45 farmers from Tangail and 15 from Satkhira, had been engaged in honey extraction in the district since mid-November, said president of Jamalpur unit of Bangladesh Honey-growers' Welfare Association Aminul Islam Siddik.
Due to favourable weather, the number of farmers increased this year to 75, while there were only five farmers in the district and 40 in other districts last year, he said.
Farmers set up 9,000 bee-colonies near mustard fields in different villages of the district where there was good flowering, and got around 20 kg of honey from each colony in four weeks, the growers said.
The farmers said they were able to sell one-third of the honey to local people and wholesalers at around Tk 150 per kilogram, and are waiting for business companies to buy the rest.
“We will be able to make good profit if the companies buy our honey for Tk 150 to Tk 200 per kg,” the growers said.
“I got 25 maunds of honey from my 50 bee-colonies in Sabilapur village under Melandah upazila. I sold eight maunds to locals. Now I am waiting to sell the rest to a company at a good price,” said Harun-ur-Rashid, a farmer in Madarganj upazila.
A number of growers said the same, adding that they have to spend about 50 percent of the earning to meet the cost during extraction and of feeding the bees during the off-season.
Deputy Director of DAE Dr Rafiqul Islam said mustard was cultivated on around 20,000 hectares of land in the district, and there was good growth of the crop due to favourable weather.
As a result, honey farmers were encouraged to set their bee-colonies beside mustard fields across the district and were able to collect a large amount of honey, he added.
“We are motivating honey growers and crop farmers to increase cultivation of mustard as honey bees help to increase the output by more than 20 percent to 25 percent through pollination,” he added.
Meanwhile, the growers from Tangail have started leaving Jamalpur for Tangail to set up bee-colonies near mustard fields as the flowering stage of the crop has begun.