Punjab’s honey farmers rubbish adulteration claims, say profits have only increased in Covid times
While this year has spelled misery for most businesses, it has ushered in profits for honey farmers in the state who are having a fruitful year. The farmers are undeterred by the recent study by the Centre of Science and Environment regarding adulteration and have only got busier with the increased demand.
The prices of honey have recorded an increase of ₹50 from what it was at this time last year. Farm-grown honey is available at a price of ₹145 per kg at this time while last year it was available at ₹95 (unbranded).
Simranjeet Singh, former President of Progressive Honey Bee Keepers Association who supplies honey to some major brands in the country said that adulteration is more with corn syrup imported from China which is being done by some brands at the processing stage. No farmer indulges in adulteration as it damages their reputation, he said.
“The government should first look into adulteration of imported corn syrup in honey. There is a huge increase in demand as more people are buying honey for boosting immunity amid the threat of contracting Covid-19,” he added.
Simranjeet is the young scion of a large extended family — 50 members are into beekeeping across the state. There are over 1,000 bee boxes that Simranjeet’s honey factory has placed across Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh and even Rajasthan.
According to Hardeep Singh, a Doraha-based honey farmer, who owns 500 bee boxes, the honey produced at the farms is the purest. “Demand from other countries is also huge in these times but exports are now very limited,” he said.
As per estimates, Punjab has around 20,000 bee farmers who are engaged with the production of 16,500 metric tonnes of honey annually in the state