NEW DELHI: A group of college students from Delhi University’s Hans Raj College has teamed up with the Department of Agriculture Cooperation & Farmers Welfare to promote beekeeping as an alternate source of income among farmers.
Project Mithaas was conceptualised by members of Enactus, a college society involved in developing social entrepreneurship models to help farmers, who earn less due to fragmented land holding or seasonal unemployment.
“We discovered apiculture or beekeeping to be a highly untapped alternative source of income for the farmers and a beneficial one, at a time when we hear about their ordeals every day,” said Apoorva Sehgal, an English (H) second-year student and the project head of Mithaas.
To execute the plan, the students of the college reached out to the National Bee Board (NBB) of Department of Agriculture Cooperation & Farmers Welfare and Haryana Agro Industries Corporation (HAIC) to get subsidised bee-boxes.
“The first step was to locate the farmers who were willing to undergo the training session. However, we did not stop at training alone. As the season of honey settles in, the team help the farmers sell the end product. Season lasts for four months — between January to April— and the students contact retailers to help farmers sell their product,” Sehgal added.
Every year, the Enactus society of the college conducts a test and based on the results, recruits students who help implement similar projects.
Mithas, launched in 2015, with farmers of Kaithal district of Haryana, is now in its third phase. In the first phase, about 10 mid-level farmers from the district showed interest and made an investment of `40 lakh. Revenue of `49 lakh was generated, each farmer gaining `90,000 of profit. In the second phase, the students contacted four small-level farmers and six mid-level farmers. An investment of `32 lakh was made and `39 lakh was generated.
This year, around 27 farmers showed interest and were trained by a rural self-employment training group. The students are now helping them get subsidised bee-boxes, for which they have contacted the Khadi Board of Haryana.