The National Bee Board made the decision in October, after taking into account the potential Meghalaya has in beekeeping

Shillong: Meghalaya chief minister Conrad K Sangma laid the foundation stone for the Integrated Beekeeping Development Centre (IBDC), a first-of-its-kind project, at Sambrak Seed Farm in North Garo Hills on Tuesday.

The event was also attended by deputy Speaker Timothy D Shira, Kharkutta MLA Rupert Momin, Bajengdoba MLA Pongseng M Sangma and other dignitaries.

The project is estimated to cost Rs 10 crore and will be funded by the Union ministry of tribal affairs. The initiative is part of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s vision to develop the beekeeping industry for the overall growth of the rural economy.

Talking about the government’s mission to promote honey, Sangma said, “We have been working with different stakeholders with a sole focus on the preservation, propagation and scientific farming of the indigenous bee of the state.” Sangma informed that around 6,000 beekeepers in the state and a total of 7,000 plus people have been trained in beekeeping by the Meghalaya Institute of Entrepreneurship (MIE).

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Enlightening that Meghalaya has been rated as one of the best regions for beekeeping, considering the availability in terms of bee pasturage, he said, “The state has immense beekeeping potential, however, due to lack of knowledge and information about the scope, the farmers have not been able to reap the optimum benefits.”

Meghalaya envisages tapping the potential of about 5 lakh honey bee colonies, while the existing bee colonies are 16,728 — only 3% of the estimated potential. The setting up of the Integrated Bee Development Centre (IBDC) in the state will enable the state to further boost the honey bee industry.

The IBDC will help in the overall sustainable development of scientific and robust beekeeping in the state. The IBDC shall also function as information and demonstration units. The Centre will cover an area at least 20-25 acres of land.

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