Busy bees

Jasvir Kaur, 47, of Bhangar village in Ferozepur district of Punjab has become a source of inspiration for many women. She started bee-keeping about 12 years ago without any formal training. Her husband used to drink a lot then and did not share his farming income. She was worried because she had to raise a son and a daughter. It was then that her nephew gifted her two honeybee boxes and encouraged her to take up bee-keeping for economic self-dependence. She learnt bee-keeping from a book.

'My husband never supported this work, and I had to face a lot of criticism from him. But I continued because I needed money to run the house. At that time, I had no machine to take out the honey from the box and used to do it manually with great difficulty. I got stung many times. Gradually, the number of boxes grew to 50. My nephew used to sell the honey in the market. This improved my financial condition and also changed my husband's attitude."

Jasvir's husband, Sukhbir Singh, also joined her about two years ago. Both went to Krishi Vigyan Kendra (KVK) at Ferozepur for training. Today, they manage 65 boxes. "I had reached 200 boxes but sold off 100 last year. I am happy with this much. We sell the honey to companies at Malerkotla and Doraha. Income is good, as much as from 30 acres of agricultural land. What more can I ask for?"

Jasvir's example is often cited at KVK training camps to encourage women. Hers, however, is not the only example. Shinam Rani of Danewala village in Fazilka district too manages 100 boxes. Her husband, Mandeep Kumar, a contractor of kinnow farms, says, "At times, I help her in transporting the boxes, but mostly she manages on her own." Shinam says, "I started work about three years ago to become self-dependent. I began with 10 boxes and today the progress is great. I am selling at Rs 90 a kg to the dealers at Abohar who sell it further to companies. I can't do any marketing, so I am happy with this much." Though she has a daughter and a son, she manages to find time for bee-keeping.

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