Honeybee Tourism in The Himalayas: That’s a New One!
With proper investment, many believe apiculture can provide jobs for thousands across the Himalayan region and allow ‘api-tourism’ to thrive.
Srinagar, Kashmir — At the onset of every winter season in the Kashmir region, Ishfaq Ahmad Mir, 27, heads to Jammu armed with bee boxes.
Ishfaq, who completed a master’s degree in political science, took a keen interest in beekeeping three years ago.
Amid Covid-19 pandemic, which has wreaked havoc across the globe, Ishfaq wants to set an example for those in the region who have seen their economic plight worsen.
“We bring beehives here [in Jammu] in November and remain here till mid-April. It is an arduous journey but filled with joy to be with honeybees for the pollination [drive],” he said.
Over the last few years, the Indian-administered state of Jammu and Kashmir has been a major player in honeybee tourism — and youngsters like Ishfaq have taken pride beekeeping in his countryside home of Sheeri, in the district of Baramulla.
Ishfaq who started beekeeping as a hobby, eventually ended up as a full-time honey-maker. He learned the hard way after starting his beekeeping business with 25,000 INR ($335), as his bee colony was initially hit by parasitic mites.
“I’ve around 40 beehives and I rely on producing the best quality honey and selling it in the local market. Early on, I faced some problems, but now all thanks to the Almighty it is turning out to be a good venture,” he added.
Despite having a relatively small farm at home, Ishfaq dedicates five to six hours by operating the apiary (a collection of hives or colonies of bees). He now lives his dream after the idea of doing something different struck him in 2015.
“I always wanted to do something different and this is what I end up on…there is a long way to go,” Ishfaq reiterated.