Mamun’s fortunes have been changed by honey farming in Kushtia’s Mirpur and adjacent areas.
He is also exporting 100kg honey to as far away as Australia every month, besides selling them in this country.
This correspondent found that honey bee boxes were placed near mustard plantations. The honey is collected from the bee boxes once every week. Each of the boxes are home to hundreds of bees, who collect honey from the mustard flowers.
Mamun started his business in 1997 by investing Tk2,600 in buying four honey bee boxes for collecting honey from mustard flowers. After passing his masters degree in 1998, he started his honey cultivation business commercially.
At present, he owns 200 boxes, each of which is worth around Tk8,000. Eight workers are working in his honey farm, producing around 10 tons of honey every year.
According to Mamun, he collected nine tons of honey in 2015-2016 fiscal year and 10 tons in 2016-2017.
He is optimistic about collecting the same amount of honey this year as well.
He said that honey was being collected from mustard flowers in Kushtia’s Bittipara and Mirpur’s Dhubail, from kalijira (black cumin) flowers in Shariatpur and from lychee flowers in Natore’s Gurudaspur since November. Also, 535kg of honey was collected from 20 honey bee boxes set up on Dhubail field alone in a two-week period.
Last year, he sold honey at Tk300 per kg to local companies. Mamun alleged that many companies add chemicals to his honey and sell them at exorbitant prices to customers, thus reducing quality of the product by 40%.
Mamun said more revenue can be earned from honey farms if the government arranges a way to sell the honey.
He also said that more farmers like him would be benefited if the government supplied honey bee boxes and gave loans to the farmers at low interest.
Agriculture Extension Officer of Mirpur Upazila Ramesh Chandra Ghosh said many people in the area were inspired by Mamun’s success and have expressed interest in commercial honey production. “We have a project to produce and distribute pulse and oil seeds to the farmers. Similarly, we are also providing training on honey cultivation and transportation costs to take the honey farm to various places.
“Due to increase of flower pollination, yield of crops has increased by 20% and honey can be collected from there as well,” he said.
Ramesh also said cultivated honey was being sold through the agricultural department locally.