The government will set up a Milma-model consortium of beekeepers in an effort to tap the huge market for natural honey, Agriculture Minister V.S. Sunil Kumar has said.
Mr Sunil Kumar told The Hindu that the Kerala State Horticultural Products Development Corporation (Horticorp) had been identified as the nodal agency for executing the proposed Kerala Honey Mission, which could eventually make Kerala a major producer and exporter of quality honey.
He said Kerala with 27% of forest cover had not tapped even 20% of its honey-production potential and the Horticorp mission was to tap this potential to make the State the world leader in natural honey production.
The Minister said Horticorp would soon begin registration of beekeepers across the State and form their clusters to float a cooperative society on the lines of Milma.
Horticorp managing director J. Sajeev said the corporation had already started procurement and processing of forest honey as well as the honey harvested by apiculturists. The Amrit brand of processed natural honey launched in the market by the corporation was in high demand in the domestic market, he said.
Mr. Sunil Kumar said the Horticorp had already produced 63 value-added products of honey under the ‘Amrit’ brand at its modern processing plant at Kochalummoodu in Alappuzha.
The Minister launched the Amrit Achenkovil Forest Honey by handing over a bottle of honey to Forest Minister K. Raju a week ago.
He said the honey collected from the hives of the stingless bees (‘cheruthaen’ in local parlance) was in very high demand and was priced around ₹10,000 a kg in world market. Kerala was a store house of this precious honey which had immense medicinal value.
The Minister said Kerala had got 1.5 lakh apiculturists and the corporation would soon begin a survey to collect their actual data in all districts.
Mr. Sunil Kumar said the proposed Kerala Honey Mission under Horticorp would produce and market a variety of processed natural honey with reduced water content as per international standards.
Mr. Sunil Kumar said a Banana Park with over 200 banana varieties was coming up at Kannara in Thrissur.
Banana was a fruit with a very high market potential, only next to natural honey, he said.