Beekeepers in good spirit as Sundarbans sees honey boom

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Honey being extracted in the Sundarbans on Tuesday, September 23, 2020 Dhaka Tribune

Honey extraction in the Sundarbans starts from April 1 every year and continues for three consecutive months till June 30

The Forest Department has said that honey production in the Sundarbans, a Unesco World Heritage site, recently received a boost due to favourable environmental conditions.

Muhammad Belayet Hossain, divisional forest officer (DFO-East) of Sundarbans, said the density of trees and sources of honey in the Sundarbans has marked a rise in the world’s largest mangrove forest.

“The number of flowers at different species of trees has also increased. Bees have found a favourable environment for making hives. That’s why honey production has increased in the Sundarbans in 2020,” he said.

Compared to 2019, an additional 478 quintals of honey and 137 quintals of wax have been produced in 2020.

Belayet Hossain is hopeful that more honey will be produced in the Sundarbans in the future.

Local beekeepers said the amount of extracted honey is more than ever.

According to the Sundarbans East Division, 1220.50 quintals of honey and 366.15 quintals of wax were extracted from the area under the Sundarbans East Division in the fiscal year 2019-2020.  Of this, an amount of Tk915,375 came in revenue from honey and Tk366,150 from beeswax. In all, the revenue of the forest department is Tk1,281,525 from honey and beeswax.

In the financial year 2018-2019, 742.50 quintals of honey and 229.50 quintals of wax were extracted from the area under the Eastern Division of the Sundarbans. The revenue income from honey and beeswax in the last financial year was Tk7,86,475.

Honey extraction in the Sundarbans starts from April 1 every year and continues for three consecutive months till June 30.

The beekeepers of Bagerhat, Khulna and Satkhira districts adjacent to the Sundarbans have been extracting honey from the Sundarbans for generations.

They return to their localities with honey after depositing the revenue fixed by the forest department.

Ismail Hossain, 60, of Chaltebunia village near the Sundarbans in Sharankhola upazila of Bagerhat district, said he has been extracting honey from the Sundarbans for 15 years and this year he joined a team of 11 men to enter the Sundarbans to collect honey.

After collecting honey for 15 consecutive days, he returned home with three maunds of honey from the Sundarbans in two phases. Previously, he took Tk20,000 from a neighbour to collect honey.

When Ismail came back, he sold honey to the same neighbour at a price of Tk500 per kg.

Ismail Hossain added that the amount of honey in the forest was much higher in 2020 compared to previous years.

Jahangir Hossain, 50, of South Southkhali village near the Sundarbans, collected honey and wax from different areas, including Andharamanik, Choto Andharamanik, Meherali Char, Tier Char, Durba and Chhota Ambaria.

“Although honey has been extracted from the Sundarbans for almost 20 years, I’ve never seen so many bees in the Sundarbans like this year. The beehives were also full of honey. Due to the low human movement this year in the Sundarbans, bees made bigger hives and extracted honey from the flowers of different trees,” he said.

According to a 2018 survey, the number of different species of trees per hectare in the Sundarbans is 32,000 while a 2015 survey showed the number of trees per hectare in the Sundarbans was 28,000.

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