Production of bee pollen gaining traction in North

Farmers getting 3-4 times more price than honey

Production of bee pollen gaining traction in North

Illustration: Sandeep Joshi

Vijay C Roy

Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 19

The beekeepers in the Northern region, especially in Punjab and Haryana, have found a new avenue to increase their income. Considering the remunerative price and demand for pollens, they are domesticating bees not only to produce honey but also bee pollen. A kilogram of bee pollen fetches Rs 270-300 to a farmer when sold to aggregators as compared to Rs 70-90 per kg for honey.

What bee pollen granules contain…

  • Carbohydrates: 40%

  • Proteins: 35%

  • Water: 4–10%

  • Fats: 5%

  • Other substances: 5–15%

The produce not only caters to the demand in domestic market, but also in exports market, especially in European countries.

Bee pollen is a mixture of flower pollen, nectar, enzymes, wax and bee secretions. It shouldn’t be confused with other bee products such as honey, royal jelly or honeycomb. The pollens are collected from specially designed boxes from bees and then dried. These are then exported or sold in granule form.

Bee pollen has gained traction in the healthcare community as it’s loaded with nutrients, amino acids, vitamins, lipids and over 250 active substances. In Europe, it is used as super food by humans and also as a feed for bees, especially during extreme winters. However, the pollen’s nutritional content depends on the plant source and the season when it is collected.

“We are the only ones who are exporting the commodity to countries like Canada and Romania. For the past 3-4 years, mustard honey price has gone down from Rs 130 per kg to Rs 75 per kg for a farmer. In such a scenario, bee pollen has turned out to be an excellent source of income. We are providing patented design boxes to collect pollen from bees,” said Kamalvir Singh, proprietor, Kamal Enterprises.

Kamalvir, a marginal farmer from Sirkapra village in Patiala district, took to bee pollen exports in 2017-18 when he exported 900 kg of pollen to European countries. This year, he has already exported 3 tonnes of bee pollen. At present, over 1,000 farmers with an average landholding of 2-4 acres across Punjab, Haryana, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh are associated with him.

Besides India, countries such as the USA, China, Russia, Spain, Mexico, Argentina and Australia produce pollen. Experts said the bee pollen finds its use in medicines as well as highly nutritive dietary supplement in health clubs for muscle building.

“We are catering to the domestic market and procure pollens from farmers of Haryana, Uttarakhand, UP, Rajasthan where there is less presence of pesticides,” said Yogendra Punia, Director, Sunlite India Agro Producer Co. Ltd. According to experts, there are nearly 12 companies in India working with bee keepers to process the pollens.

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