Md. Mozammel Hossain: Apiculture is going on in full swing on vast tracts of mustard fields in Sreenagar Upazila of the district.
In the meantime, the members of Modhumoti Apiculture Project have started arriving at the local fields to collect pure honey. The project is approved by the Bangladesh Standard and Testing Institute (BSTI) and received national prize. The members of the project collect honey from different districts of the country round the year.
Sreenagar Upazila agriculture officials said, “Apiculture in mustard field is a profitable business since it increases mustard production to 10 per cent. To collect pure honey, people even from Dhaka are coming here.”
The members of the project came to Satgaon Village under Birtara Union in the upazila several days back after collecting honey from different areas of the country.
Last year, the project members collected two metric tons of honey from the mustard fields at Satgaon Village.
They install artificial bee hives beside the mustard fields where the frames inside the hives are kept for 10 to 15 days. A queen bee is kept at each hive which attracts other bees. Some holes are made in the hives through which the bees pass in and out.
The bees collect nectar from the mustard flower and keep it in the hives which turns into honey after six to seven days. Later, the apiculturists unload the frames from the hives and process the honey.
This year mustard flowers have grown well. So, the apiculturists are expecting more honey. As long as the flowers remain on the mustard plants, they will collect honey. The mustard farmers don’t have to pay for this.
Director of Modhumoti Apiculture Project Belayet Hossen said, “We have been producing honey hereditarily. My father Moti Mia got training in Uttar Pradesh of India and started the business in 1962. After my father, I have been running the business. I received the best apiculturist award at the conference organised by National Apiculturist Welfare Association at National Press Club.”
Another Director of the project Md Pabel Hossen said, “We collect honey from different areas of the country round the year. I learned the honey production from my father Belayet Hossen. This year the mustard grew well. We are collecting 12 to 13 maunds of honey in each seven-day. We sell per kg honey at Tk 500 to 600 from the fields.”
He further said, “As long as there would be mustard flower, we will collect honey. After this, we will go to Faridpur, Shariatpur and Gopalganj districts to collect honey from coriander and black cumin flowers. The bees will then go to the Sundarban. As the water of the Sundarban is saline, we do not go there to collect honey.”
The Modhunoti Apiculture Project members said they have so far collected several maunds of honey from Satgaon Village.
Sreenagar Upazila Agriculture Officer Kalyan Kumar Sarker said the local unemployed youths are getting interested to apiculture after seeing its huge progress.
Sources at the local Department of Agriculture Extension said, “Mustard was cultivated on 3,005 hectares of land in the district this year. Of those, 300 ha of lands have been brought under the cultivation in Sreenagar Upazila. Last year, around 5 metric tons of honey worth about Tk 20 lakh was collected from the district. This year, more honey is likely to be collected.”