Wild and Forest Honey – Boosting Health through Centuries
Over the past few years, as more people around the country have become health conscious, honey, especially the wild and natural varieties, has increased in popularity. Consumers are becoming more aware of the fact that the honey, golden and shiny, in bottles in supermarkets is actually pasteurised and hence has no nutritional value; instead of nutrients, it is rich in added preservatives! Not surprisingly more so in these times of the pandemic, wild and forest honey is becoming increasingly popular. Emerging as an alternative to the pasteurised honey, the benefits of wild and forest honey is spreading far and wide and more consumers are opting for the same.
What is Wild Forest Honey?
It is the purest form of honey; Collected from beehives sited deep within the forests, it is therefore enriched with nutrients and brings with it immense benefits. It is an unprocessed and unheated variant of honey. As opposed to the golden hue of the pasteurised variants of honey, wild forest honey is usually dark and cloudy.
As an organic product, honey brings with it immense health benefits. Rich with phytonutrients, its antifungal, anti-bacterial and anti-oxidant properties help enhancing and boosting one’s immunity – a much needed protection in these times of the pandemic. It is an effective cure when it comes to respiratory conditions – cough, cold, sinusitis. Its anti-inflammatory properties help treat various skin and hair conditions, enhancing both the skin and hair! Through the centuries, wild forest honey has been used in the base for many traditional forms of medicines like Ayurveda, Siddha etc.
The Indian subcontinent has been blessed with a vast and varied range of natural topography.
The deep and rich forests of India are a proven source of raw and wild honey. Made by the wild bees from the nectars of medicinal flowers, there is an abundance of unadulterated and pure wild forest honey in our country.
Needless to say that as a part of its efforts to enhance the incomes of the tribal food gatherers (among whom bee farmers are also a part), TRIFED has been sourcing the various kinds of wild forest honey from across the different states of India. Among the various types of honey are the Rockbee, Cerana, Khamri and Nagaland Raw Honey from the North-Eastern parts of the country, Bastar, Rajvan, Mixed nuts honey from Chhattisgarh, Tulsi and Karanj honey from Jharkhand, Van Tulsi, Cardamom, Cinnamon, pepper, florea, ginger and shatavari honey from Karnataka.
During the course of the pandemic, a distinct surge in its demand had been witnessed. This surge has thus prompted the government to address the entire gamut of Beekeeping. Beekeeping has been recognized by the Government of India as an important activity that needs promotion and development to enhance the income of bee farmers and honey gatherers.
In this connection, in the recent past, TRIFED has joined hands with Ministry of Agriculture and National Bee Board, to accelerate the implementation of such new and key initiatives that will go a long way in empowering the underprivileged tribals. One of the key initiatives of TRIFED that was launched by Shri Arjun Munda, Hon’ble Minister of Tribal Affairs in December, 2021, was the formation of 14 Honey Producer Organisations in States of Chhattisgarh, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Odisha and Gujarat. These 14 Honey FPOs are a part of the central scheme “Formation and Promotion of Farmer Producer Organizations (FPOs)” of the Ministry of Agriculture & Farmers Welfare.
Under this scheme, special emphasis has been laid on beekeeping by the formation of FPOs in identified potential Districts/States. The National Bee Board (NBB), under the National Beekeeping & Honey Mission (NBHM), has planned to develop the scientific bee-keeping value chain for honey across 100 clusters in the country. TRIFED has been made the implementing agency by Ministry of Agriculture to undertake the formation of 14 Honey FPOs alongside NAFED and NDDB in the states of Chhattisgarh, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Odisha and Gujarat. It is hoped that the formation of Honey FPOs will prove to be a boon for tribal beekeepers and honey gatherers by bringing a Madhu Kranti” or a Sweet Revolution.
TRIFED has been implementing several noteworthy programmes for the empowerment of the tribals. In a short span of two years, it has sanctioned 3225 Van Dhan Kendras comprising of 55036 Van Dhan Self Help Groups (VDSHGs) covering 9.263 lakh beneficiaries in 28 States/UTs. These Van Dhan Kendras are at different Stages of development and many success stories have emerged till date. The Kendras in Maharashtra, Manipur, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Odisha, Kerala, Tripura, Gujarat, Sikkim, Andhra Pradesh, to name a few, have begun producing many varieties of products. Under Retail Marketing, a total number of 119 Tribes India Outlets are functional as on date. Besides, two TRIFOOD Projects at Jagdalpur and Raigarh (Maharashtra) are under implementation for undertaking value-addition of various forest produces being procured by beneficiaries of Van Dhan Kendras. They are likely to be commissioned in the next few months.
Striving to transform the emphasis of the Hon’ble Prime Minister on Vocal for local and building a Atmanirbhar Bharat through various initiatives aimed at augmenting the income and improving the livelihood & lives of the tribal communities, while preserving & promoting their way of life, culture and heritage, TRIFED marches on tirelessly.