CropLife India has partnered with the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) and one of its extension facilities, Agricultural Development Trust (KVK) Baramati.
This pilot project, called “Madhu Sandesh” (meaning “honeyed message” in Marathi language), consists of providing subsidized beehive rentals and training in both Integrated Pest Management (IPM) and the responsible use (RU) of crop protection products to pomegranate growers and onion seed producers. It aims to improve crops by promoting awareness and utilization of pollination services as well as good stewardship.
In many cases, farmers who are dependent on pollinators for crop production do not fully realize the benefits they yield. Through this project, CropLife India is promoting a holistic understanding of the need for crop protection products and the environment to co-exist. It is also incentivizing farmers to use these products responsibly.
By establishing an apiary and starting a hive rental program with crop-specific training in one of India’s leading farmer institutes, this project has made pollination services available to farmers planting pollination-dependent crops. It has also promoted the tangible benefits of pollination and RU/IPM to the broader farming community.
Pomegranate farmers who rented beehives saw their yield increase by 35 percent, while the training they received helped them reduce inputs, resulting in higher margins. Additionally, 90 percent of farmers reported a better quality crop with more even maturation. Fruits with even coloring and shape fetch a higher market price, boosting farmers’ income. As a result, the net income of pomegranate farmers has increased by 42 percent. Onion seed producers who participated in the project also saw their yields increase by 17 percent, increasing income overall by more than 18 percent.
An impact assessment also found that farmers involved in Madhu Sandesh have better knowledge of pollinator benefits and of RU/IPM. They are more willing to rent beehives in the future and pay for protective equipment.