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Begnas farmer calls for more govt support to expand beekeeping

Begnas farmer calls for more govt support to expand beekeeping

Surya Prasad Lamichhane, a resident of Begnas Lake area in Pokhara-31, has gained global recognition for his remarkable ability to cover his body with live bees for hours. He drew the attention of the Guinness Book of World Records in 2016 when news spread worldwide that he covered his body with 30,000 live bees continuously for two hours.

Surya’s care, nurture, and interest in bees have established him as a renowned beekeeper. He has trained beekeeping to some 15,000 youths and farmers over the past decade. “About 20 percent of those who learnt beekeeping from me are foreigners,” Surya shared with ApEx during the 20th anniversary celebration of his farm recently. During the ceremony, Surya distributed honey produced in his farm to all the participants and other stakeholders. In an interview with ApEx, Surya shared insights into his farm and beekeeping as a profession. Excerpts:

Please tell us about your farm.

I produce almost 1,500 kg of honey every year. I have set up 300 bee hives in fields that I have taken on lease from other farmers. You can see my hives in the mustard fields. Honey is not only beneficial for health but also has the potential to attract foreign investments. It serves as a medicine for numerous diseases as it has anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidant, and antibacterial agents. In cold weather, it is highly beneficial when consumed with hot water.

Why are you distributing your honey for free today?

I have observed a lesser interest in locals compared to people of other countries when it comes to consumption of honey. I want to increase the value of honey for locals and express gratitude to my neighbors, stakeholders, and acquaintances for their support extended to me. That is why I distributed honey free of cost to celebrate 20th anniversary of my farm

 You are known world over despite coming from a small village. What do you think are the reasons behind your success?

One needs to have a willpower to succeed. I did not conduct any feasibility study before starting my business. I dedicated myself fully to my farm, making decisions based on my own assessment of whether to continue the work. The area where I keep my hives is recognized for its wetland and abundant biodiversity with medicinal plants. Honey produced here is of high quality. My dedication led me to gain global recognition, and I did not give up despite facing challenges initially. I have provided training to youth volunteers from various countries, and the global demand for organic honey has increased. This has prompted people to learn the indigenous beekeeping techniques.

How do you see beekeeping contributing to national development?

Every sector can contribute to the national economy if managed well. Beekeeping can attract significant capital, but unfortunately, the government's response to this sector has been disappointing. No research has been undertaken to measure the potential of beekeeping among diverse natural plant species. Local farmers are not getting due recognition. People from different parts of the country have invited me to learn beekeeping. But not a single local unit is taking initiative to expand beekeeping. The government's indifference to this sector has led to a scarcity of technicians to guide and innovate in beekeeping.