Manipur: Shingkap locals observe bee festival to promote indigenous apiculture
Kamjong: Residents of Shingkap village in Manipur’s Kamjong district on Wednesday celebrated the 11th edition of Khui Phanit, a bee festival, with complete adherence to SoPs for COVID-19.
The festival aims to uphold the traditional practice of the Tangkhul tribe of rearing wild bees for honey and bee larvae, a delicacy for the community.
As per the locals, the then village headman Solomon in 2009 had initiated the festival of bee (hornet) to signify inclusivity and oneness among the villagers, including the widows and elders.
The hunting of bee into the woods or apiculture is considered one of the hobbies of Tangkhul men since wild bees, especially giant hornet, also known as a killer hornet, were abundantly found only once a year. However, families without men were unable to find none, said acting headman AS Arun.
That was the main reason the former headman decided to organise a bee festival, and the whole villagers feast together from what the men collected from the wilds, he added.
Speaking at the festival, forest minister Awangbou Newmai stressed on the medical value and health benefits of honey. He urged residents of Shingkap and its neighbouring villages to focus on beekeeping for collecting of honey and not only depend on wild bees for larvae.
Assuring that his department will try to give all possible help to the Shingkap village and surrounding villages, minister Newmai who also holds environment and climate change portfolios said that he would prioritise the development of an eco-modern village under his department.
Stating that there are no other means other than Jhum cultivation in hills, he said that the state government can't continue with the practice in the future. He showed concern that the state will face an adverse effect in the future if Jhum cultivation and cutting of forest continues.
“Alternative farming policy other than Jhum cultivation needs to focus on,” added the minister.
Along with the chairman of Hill Areas Committee Leishiyo Keishing, minister Newmai also laid foundation stones of Cultural Hall and Primary Health sub-center in Shingkap village.