Number of honey harvesters in mustard farming fields is increasing gradually as the composite farming is being adjudged as lucrative means of boosting mustard yield in the region including its vast Barind tract.
Honey hunting is being expanded to many new areas every year contributing a lot towards employment generation side by side with boosting honey production.
Many people have become financially solvent through honey harvesting activities. As a whole, honey farming has gained popularity in the region as many people attained success through commercial honey harvesting.
Shasthi Paharia, 48, a farmer of Kashini Gongarampur village under Charghat Upazila, has been harvesting honey for long 10 years through rearing native bee species ’serena’ in 12 boxes.
Shasthi says both demand and market price of honey of native bee species are comparatively high. He is hopeful of selling 120 kilograms of honey valued at around Taka 50,000 with net profit of Taka 25,000 this year.
His success inspires many of his co-villagers for honey harvesting. Like previous years, Ataur Rahman, a farmer of Namajgram village under Godagari upazila, remains involved in honey harvesting in mustard field since 2000.
At the initial stage, he gained profit through setting up 10 boxes that encourages him to enhance the number of boxes in the following years. In this season, he has set up 265 boxes in different areas.
“I have harvested 16 kilograms of honey from every box in last 10 days,” Ataur Rahman said. He earns more than Taka seven lakh every winter season through his commercial honey harvesting.
“Honey harvesting makes me income-generator and self-confident,” said Ashraful Islam Sumon, another farmer of Hasnabad village under Godagari Upazila, adding that he has collected 14 kilograms of honey from every box in last 12 days.
“I got 38 mounds of honey from my 67 bee-colonies in Borobilla area under Paba Upazila. I sold 10 mounds to locals. Now I am waiting to sell the rest to a company at a good price,” said Habibur Rahman Babu, a farmer in Darusha village under the same upazila.
Mustafizur Rahman, additional director of Department of Agriculture Extension (DAE), said more than 225 tonnes of honey were produced in the region during the current season. He said this amount is five times higher than that of the last year.
Farmers of Rajshahi, Naogaon, Natore, Chapainawabganj and other adjacent districts have been engaged in honey extraction since mid November.