The Telangana government enhancing the procurement price of honey from ₹14,000 per quintal to ₹15,000 has brought cheers to honey hunters in the erstwhile Adilabad district, an important centre for honey procurement.
The increase in price was possible with the honey processing unit at Nirmal, the only one in the State, going operational in January this year. The Telangana State Girijan Cooperative Corporation procures almost all the honey harvested and packages it at the Nirmal unit before selling the same in the market.
The prolonged flowering season of palash or moduga tree this season, also known as the flame of forest, would ensure more honey than the usual 450 quintals and this would bring supplemental income to the hunters. There are 234 of them, mostly Adivasi Raj Gonds and Kolams from Kumram Bheem Asifabad and Adilabad districts, who collect honey regularly, according to GCC’s Utnoor Divisional Manager G. Prathap Reddy.
“We had a stock of 500 quintals from last year which could not be processed as the Nirmal unit was not operational despite its inauguration in October 2016. So far we have sold over 100 quintals of the stock and have made arrangements for procurement of the latest arrivals,” the GCC official said.
The honey processed by GCC is sold at a maximum retail price of ₹330 a kg though the Corporation supplies it to distributors at a price 25% less than the MRP. The distributors get a margin of 9%.
Hyderabad and other urban areas in the State are the main markets for GCC marketed honey. “People in urban areas are more aware of the benefits of honey and therefore the high demand,” Mr. Reddy pointed out.
While the rural population in general does not consume honey, even the aboriginal people do not eat it. Not that the ethnic people are unaware of its benefits, but honey seems to be out of place in the regular menu in tribal homes.