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Saturday, March 24, 2018

Department of Agriculture awarded Krishi Commendation Award 2015-16

Photo 1:  Minister of Agriculture, Meghalaya receiving the Award

The Ministry of Agriculture, Government of India conferred the Department of Agriculture Meghalaya with the Krishi Commendation Award for the year 2015-16, in recognition of the commendable foodgrains production achieved by the State.   The Award carries a citation, trophy and a cash award of INR 1(One) Crore. The award was received by the Chief Minister of Meghalaya, Shri. Conrad K. Sangma on behalf of the people of the State, from the Prime Minister of India, in presence of Agriculture Minister, Shri. Banteidor Lyngdoh, Shri.B.Mawlong, MCS, Joint Secretary Agriculture and Shri. R.Langstieh, Director of Agriculture(R&T).

The Chief Minister dedicated the award to the people of the State and especially the farmers. “It gives an immense pleasure that I have received the award on behalf of the farmers of the State, who have scripted a success story. It is just the beginning and we are looking forward to support our farmers in the best possible way”, said the CM. The Chief Minister thanked the Prime Minister, Shri. Narendra Modi and the Ministry of Agriculture for recognizing Meghalaya with this award, which was possible because of the hard work of the farmers and the officials of the Department of Agriculture and other stakeholders.

Addressing the gathering at the Krishi Unnati Mela held at IARI, Pusa New Delhi, the Prime Minister of India said that Unnati Mela play a key role in paving the way for New India. He said that today, he has the opportunity to simultaneously speak to two sentinels of New India- farmers and scientists. He said farmers and scientists have to work together to transform agriculture. The Prime Minister specially mentioned the State of Meghalaya, which received an award for its achievements in agriculture, in the period under review. The Prime Minister appreciated the spirit and the hard work of our farmers, for their achievements in agriculture since independence. He said that today, there is record production of foodgrains, pulses, fruits and vegetables, and milk. He said that there are important challenges in agriculture today, which reduce the farmers income, and increase his losses and expenditure. He said the Government is working with a holistic approach to deal with these challenges. He said the aim remains to double farmers incomes, and make the farmers lives easier.

The Prime Minister also said comprehensive steps are being taken for Agriculture Marketing Reforms. It is important to connect Rural Retail Markets with wholesale and global markets. He said that in the recent Union Budget, Grameen Retail Agriculture Markets have been envisaged. 22,000 rural haats will be upgraded with necessary infrastructure, and integrated with APMC and the e-NAM platform.

The Prime Minister also emphasized on the importance of Farmer Producer Organizations. He said Farmer Producer Organizations, would be given relief on income tax, on the lines of cooperative societies. He said a new chapter in Agriculture Marketing Reform is being added in this programme, with the e-marketing portal for organic products. He said that along with the Green Revolution and White Revolution, we must stress on Organic Revolution, Water Revolution, Blue Revolution, and Sweet Revolution. The Prime Minister said that the Government is working to ensure that adequate Agriculture Credit is available.

It may be mentioned that Meghalaya has received the Krishi Award from the Ministry of Agriculture for four consecutive years under the programme “National Food Security Mission”, a centrally sponsored scheme of the Central Government, which aims to increase production and productivity of foodgrains like Rice, Maize and Pulses in the country.

(This article has been reproduced and adapted from the official press release of DIPR, Government of Meghalaya)

Friday, October 20, 2017

Focus Group Workshop on 1917 iTEAMS

                                                                             - By Canning S Shabong

Smt.H.Lyngdoh, Director of Horticulture Meghalaya welcoming the dignitaries


The 1(One) Day Focus Group Workshop on 1917-Integrated Technology Enabled Agri Management System (iTEAMS), is the first workshop held with a section of stakeholders, in order to sensitize, inform and educate about the new program of the Department of Agriculture, which is being prepared for roll out in the State. The workshop invited stakeholders comprising farmer leaders, agro-entrepreneurs, KVK Subject Matter Specialists (SMS), Block Technology Managers (BTM) and Assistant Technology Managers (ATM) of ATMA's and Departmental officers. The Inaugural Function was attended by Commissioner & Secretary Agriculture, Shri. P.S.Kumar, IAS, Joint Secretary Agriculture Department Shri, B.Mawlong, MCS, Director of Horticulture, Smt. H.Lyngdoh, Director of Agriculture (R&T), Smt. B.N War and Officers from Directorate of Veterinary and Animal Husbandry led by Dr. Rijal, Director. The Chief Guest of the workshop is Dr. Mukul M. Sangma, Hon'ble Chief Minister incharge Agriculture & Horticulture etc.

Objectives:  The main objective of the workshop is to understand the views and opinions of the various stakeholders about the 1917 iTEAMS program, inform educate and sensitize the various stakeholders about the goals and objectives of this new initiative which is planned for roll out in a short time by the State Government, using a multi modal and multi sectoral technology platform.


Speaking at the inaugural function during the 1917 iTEAMS Focus Group Workhop, the Chief  Minister of Meghalaya incharge Agriculture & Horticulture, Dr. Mukul M.Sangma reiterated that the 1917- Integrated Technology Enabled Agri Management System (iTEAMS) is a very important initiative of the State Government for the farming community.  In the era of technology driven economy, the CM said that "there is need to ensure that we leverage upon  technology that is available and technology that is evolving, thereby ensuring that farmers have access to the latest scientific information in order to make farming more remunerative. Farming will become remunerative when farmers are able to realise optimal benefit from their land resources.

Further, Agriculture is the "On thing and will remain the On thing so long as this planet exist"  the Chief Minister told the participants of the focus group workshop. When farmers are empowered with knowledge and skills, only then the State will be able to overcome the challenge of food and nutritional security. Farmers are the most important stakeholders of our program and there is a need to involve them and connect them to this program from the very beginning, the CM opined.

iTEAMS is borne out of the fact that there is a huge need for creating a knowledge bank which is accessible to farmers as well as provide comprehensive support system to ensure farmer's produce reaches the nearest markets and ensure last mile connectivity. There is also an urgent need to minimise post harvest losses to optimise farmer's income. This 1917 iTEAMS program is a comprehensive, exhaustive and technology driven initiative, which needs domain specific expertise. The Toll free Number 1917 will ensure on demand evacuation service for farmer's produce from their villages to the nearest markets.  

Through this Program farmers will have comprehensive information about their land, the nutritional status of the soil, the moisture content, the micro climatic condition around their area, the sunshine duration etc. Today with the help of technology platform, we are now in a better position to provide these information to farmers.  

Nations who focused on agriculture are able to come out of poverty level as well as job and unemployment related issues. Farming has to be designed to attract the younger agro entrepreneurs in order to make agriculture more remunerative, attractive and sustainable. We need to create extensive awareness and educate the people about the magnitude of opportunities that agriculture sector can provide, including the quantum of entrepreneurship that can be generated in the agriculture value chain.

We want the World to know that we are creating an enabling environment and we want all friends to partner and participate in this program to show the World that we can grow and prosper, even in the midst of adversity. Agriculture will ultimately determine our future and we need to have the courage to dream big and also empower the farmers to dare to dream big, the CM concluded and set the tone for the workshop to deliberate and brainstorm. 


The Focus Group Discussion was chaired by the Commissioner & Secretary Agriculture. Shri.B.Sohliya, OSD Meghalaya Institute of Enpreneurship gave an overview about the 1917 iTEAMS program through a power point presentation. He explained about the key concept, rationale, the program objectives and the architecture of the program, which is planned for roll out by the department.

A Q&A session followed thereafter where the stakeholders representing each group were given opportunity to share their opinion and raise questions about this program. Some of the stakeholders also give suggestions on integrating Village Level Entrepreneurs (VLE) from Common Service Centres (CSC) into the program. The VLE present also expressed their willingness to join as franchisees. The consensus that emerged from this workshop is that the program, will indeed be very useful for the farmers of the State and can potentially be a game changer in the agriculture development of the State.

Saturday, September 16, 2017

Celebration of World Honey Bee Day- 19th August 2017

                                                                                         -By Canning S Shabong
Shri.R.V.Lyngdoh, Hon. Minister Speaking at the Inaugural Function


The Directorate of Horticulture, Meghalaya and Meghalaya Small Farmer’s Agri Business Consortium,(MgSFAC) which is the nodal agency for implementing the centrally sponsored scheme 'Mission for Integrated Development of Horticulture' (MIDH) in the State observed the World Honey Bee Day on 19th August 2017 at the Integrated Agriculture Training Centre,(IATC) 7th Mile, Upper Shillong. The theme of the observation was “Bee Keeping for Livelihood and Sustainable Development

The day long function, which was participated by 500 farmers from across the State, include the Inaugural session, Exhibition cum Sales of Honey products and bye products, Seminar for farmers and entertainment by the local band “Colors”.  The event was also participated by Department of Commerce and Industries, Government of Meghalaya, Meghalaya Institute of Entrepreneurship (MIE), Khadi and Village Industries Board (KVIB), Rural Resource Training Centre (RRTC) etc.  
The event was inaugurated by Shri. R.V. Lyngdoh, Hon’ble Minister of Arts & Culture, Soil & Water Conservation & Urban Affairs, Government of Meghalaya. The Minister also inaugurated the Exhibition cum Sales of honey and honey products, which were put on display by State Government undertaking like Khadi and Village Industries Board (KVIB), NGO’s like Rural Resource Training Centre(RRTC), entrepreneurs, farmers and local startups. The prominent exhibitors are Ms. Eva Lyngdoh, Bee keeper and Mr. Vijay Byrsat from the Centre of Learning Knowledge & Services (COLK), Shillong which displayed its "BIE" brand of honey products.


The Inaugural Function was attended by Smt. M.N.Nampui, IAS, Secretary to the Government of Meghalaya, Agriculture Department, Shri. R.S.Gill, IFS, Addl. PCCF, Forest Department and Smt. D.Syiemiong, Director of Horticulture.

Speaking during the function, the Secretary Agriculture informed the gathering that the Government of India through the Ministry of Agriculture has seen it fit to honor these small insects that hover around us, bringing life and pollination. She also underlined the importance and role played by the honeybees for livelihood and agriculture development in the State.

Shri. R.S.Gill, IFS in his brief speech said that "honoring the honey bee is like honoring our own life, our capacity to live healthily, think healthily and to contribute to our society". Therefore, the honeybee is a part of our personality, our society and our country.

During the Inaugural Function, the Chief Guest, Shri. R.V.Lyngdoh said that this humble insect is so important and crucial to our survival that its extinction will also ensure extinction of mankind. He also expressed his happiness to see that many other departments are also taking part in this observation of World Honey Bee Day. He also informed the farmers that in United States there was a period where the crop production had fallen and Research Scientist attributed that this to the decrease in bee population. He therefore said that it is appropriate that we should observe this day to remind us of the important role played by bees in pollination and agriculture production.

Others who spoke during the function were Smt. D.Syiemiong, Director of Horticulture,  Shri. G. Shylla, District Horticulture Officer, Ri-Bhoi and Shri. Crosspillar Marak, District Horticulture Officer, West Garo Hills.

Honey Bee products on display by Department of Agriculture

1.      Department of Commerce and Industries, Meghalaya
2.      Khadi and Village Industries Board (KVIB), Shillong
3.    District Horticulture Offices, East Garo Hills, East Khasi Hills, West Jaintia Hills, Ri-Bhoi, South West Khasi Hills, West Khasi Hills.
4.      M/s COLKs Enterprise
5.      Ms. Eva B. Lyngdoh
6.      M/s H.L/ Candles (Bee Wax Candles)

The observation of World Honey Bee Day on 19th August was the first of its kind event held in the State, which witnessed participation by 500 farmers, bee keepers, honeybee product entrepreneurs, Scientist, Practitioners, NGO’s and department officials from all over the State. The event also attracted visitors, buyers to the exhibition and most of the honey on display was sold out on the day. Buyers were also given a free specially ordered "honey bee bag" with every purchase of honey. The Department of Agriculture, Meghalaya expresses its heartfelt thanks to the Ministry of Agriculture for deciding to observe this event, to create awareness about the role played by honey bees in pollination and as a means of livelihood for farmers.

(The Writer currently works as Assistant Director of Agriculture (info & IT), Department of Agriculture Meghalaya and can be reached at

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Angela Shangoi- A Successful Model Woman Farmer

Fig.1: Smt.Angela Shangoi receiving the Award at New Delhi
        Smt. Angela Shangoi is one of the leading female progressive farmer from Umyiap valley, Mawkynbat village of West Khasi Hills district, who has made a mark in farming. Owning farmland of 4 hectares, she uses to grow local paddy variety which yield only 1.5- 1.8 MT per hectare. After the introduction of the centrally sponsored scheme, National Food Security Mission(NFSM) scheme, she started growing HYV paddy, variety MEG II which was procured from the District Agriculture Office. From the crop cutting experiment, her paddy field yielded about 3.8 MT of paddy per hectare. She is also a paddy registered seed grower with the district and shares the variety along with other fellow farmers of the village.
            Being a progressive farmer, she also grows Maize, field pea on her land which fetches very high returns even in the local market. Besides she also grows carrot, beetroot,bean and other vegetables. She is also able to market her marketable surplus in the market fetching regular returns.
            She is incidentally, one of the pioneering farmer who have taken the lead to grow large scale Pea Cultivation in her paddy field usually left fallow during the winter months. With assured irrigation from the nearby hill,  in a 1(one) hectare land, she planted around 75 kg of pea seed during the 2nd week of December and harvested during the first week of April fetching a total yield of 4 Metric Tonnes. This timing has been well calibrated to take advantage of the lean period of supplies from the plains of Assam, thereby able to fetch an average wholesale price of Rs. 40-50 per Kg in the wholesale market in Shillong. This fetches her gross profit of around Rs. 90,000-1.00 lakh per hectare.
            Her next winter vegetable that earned her good returns is Carrot which she planted during the month of January and harvest by 3rd week of April. She is able to get Rs. 30-50 rupees per Kg in wholesale market. From Carrot she is able to earn around 50,000/- of gross return.
Besides Pea and Carrot which she grows in large scale, she also grows Color Capsicum in a 250 Sq.Metres Greenhouse provided by the District Horticulture Office. Other vegetables that she grows in smaller scale are Coriander, Beetroot, Cucumber, Brinjal and Tomato.
            During the year 2012-13, she formed a Self Help Group (SHG) called “Iatreilang SHG” with 10 members. She is the President of the SHG and under her leadership; all the members are emulating her footsteps and collectively work for the benefit of the group. On March 2015, the Office of the District Horticulture Officer also provided her group with a Bolero Pickup Jeep for transportation and evacuation of her produces to the wholesale market in Shillong. With this transport vehicle, she is able to swiftly market her produce to the capital city Shillong on market days. She also subscribed to the wholesale market prices SMS provided by the department of agriculture, which she receives on her mobile phone and rely on this free information service before taking her vegetable to market. 
Fig. 2: Smt Angela Shangoi at her village at Mawkynbat
          Smt. Angela Shangoi inspite of all odds and supporting a family of 8 school and college going children, through sheer hard work, strong determination and leadership qualities has set a fine example for the district of West Khasi Hills and has endeared herself even to the higher ups in the Department who knows her by name and acknowledge her hard work by recognising her in State and district level crop competition.
Usually, its very difficult to grow any crop during the winter months due to stray cattle and horses, which are let loose to feed and graze on the field after harvesting of paddy. Angela and her group members had to build a fence made from locally available materials, to protect their winter crop from grazing by cows and horses. Though this effort, she could protect her pea crop from the animals and hence fetch a good price as she got to harvest and market the crop during off-season in the plains of Assam.
On March 2016, she was conferred the Agriculture Minister’s Krishi Karman Award as outstanding farmer and received a cash prize of Rs. 2.0 lakhs along with a citation from the Prime Minister of India. On reaching back home from New Delhi, instead of spending the cash award money on buying consumer goods, she invested the award money on buying a brand new Power Tiller to further her farming enterprise. This shows the outstanding quality of the lady to improve her farming through technology induction. 
The exemplary example of this woman farmer has made her village of Mawkynbat and Umiap take up to Pea cultivation in a big scale and today the entire fertile Umyiap valley is dotted with pea and carrot cultivation, after seeing the successes of this lady farmer. 

(The Writer works as Assistant Director of Agriculture, Department of Agriculture Meghalaya and can be reached at

Thursday, April 14, 2016

UMLAKRO FARM – Model for Sustainable Horticulture Tourism Development


A View of Umlakro Farm at Jirang, Ri-bhoi District

During the British rule when Meghalaya was part of undivided Assam, Khasi Mandarin Oranges were reported to be growing in abundance in the hill tract under Jirang C&RD Block of Ri-Bhoi district. However, lack of adoption of scientific procedure for cultivation and management practices caused poor productivity and these trees began to decrease vigorously thus leading to citrus decline and dieback. The District Horticulture Office begun to explore ways and means how to regain back the past glories and today Umlakro Farm has emerged as a model of sustainable horticulture development combining modern hitech horticulture technology with horti-tourism.

The genesis of this story took roots when the Department of Agriculture was gifted 7 hectares of land from the Syiem of Jirang and his Durbar in the year 2004, with the expectation that the land could be used for the overall development and upliftment of agriculture in the region under Jirang C&RD Block.

During 2009, this land was transferred to the Directorate of Horticulture to develop but it was only in 2012 that the office of the District Horticulture officer, Ri-Bhoi could start work on the project for setting up a horticulture farm. Thus Umlakro farm was created to not only re-nurture Khasi Mandarins, but also to experiment with other citrus varieties like Nagpur Orange, Assam Lemon, Sweet Orange. The farm also aims to provide farmers of the district with high quality seeded and budded plants. Furthermore, the farm will also facilitate students of Horticulture to conduct in-depth study on the functional, productivity, efficiency and a holistic understanding of oranges, mandarins and lemon. Students will also be able to learn from the farm through hands on approach which will enhance their personal development.

In the past, the life of a farmer is dictated by the weather gods -when the rain god, the sun god, the god of the earth are favourable on them, the farmer can begin to rejoice and thank the heavens for their season’s harvest. But apparently all the rituals practiced by our farmers and their sacrifices have become futile with the changing time and technology has taken over many aspects of farming. With the aim of bringing development closer to the people in the villages, creating basic infrastructure to provide gainful employment opportunities for the people and empower them so that they may have the liberty to work as employers rather than employees, the Directorate of Horticulture released fund of Rs. 6.25 lakhs for developing basic infrastructure construction of shade  house, overhead water tank and land development to develop Umlakro as a model horticulture farm.

A Birds Eye View of the Farm 
Furthermore, after conducting adequate studies on the land, soil and climate of the area, the horticulture development officer in-charge of the farm opted to raise mother plants in order to  produce quality planting materials of different citrus crops  such  as  the famed Khasi Mandarin, Assam Lemon, Sweet Orange etc. The Office began to treat Umlakro Farm as a future hub which would provide quality planting  materials  to neighbouring  villages and  their  farmers.  A model Floriculture Centre was also set up during the year 2013-2014 as the area was found suitable for the cultivation of flowers such as Dendrobium, Phalaenopsis and Blue Vanda.

Before these intervention by the District Horticulture Office Nongpoh, Jirang was known for  widespread jhum cultivation practices broom grass cultivation  and timber logging. The forests in the State are major carbon sinks and home to agro-biodiversity which needs to be protected  adequately. Jhum cultivation leads to removal of tons of biomass, higher rate of run-off of rainwater leading to drinking water shortage and even drought.

Today the farm has managed to integrate horti-tourism elements alongside establishment of modern nurseries for citrus, poly houses, mother blocks, hi tech green houses, water harvesting structures, power generators, vermi compost units, root stock blocks etc.  

(The Writer works as Assistant Director of Agriculture, Department of Agriculture Meghalaya and can be reached at

Saturday, February 27, 2016

Meghalaya State Agricultural Marketing Portal wins in eNorth East Award 2016


Team Members receiving the Trophy from Dr.C. Lyngdoh, Chief Guest

Meghalaya State Agricultural Marketing Portal (, an online web based Agriculture Market Information System (AMIS), which was designed, developed and hosted by NIC Meghalaya in collaboration with the Directorate of Horticulture, Meghalaya and Meghalaya State Agricultural Marketing Board was awarded the RUNNERS UP place in the eNorth East Award 2016, under the category e-Governance and Citizen Services Delivery, which witnessed 11 nominees presenting their projects before a 3 member panel of eminent experts as Jury Members. The Experts were from IT Department, Government of Meghalaya, IIM Shillong and IT department Govt of Sikkim. 

The Meghalaya State Agriculture Marketing Portal was first launched in the year 2005 and then again revamped in 2014 with Microsoft .NET framework and MS Sql Server 2008 as the back end RDBMS database. The portal is hosted in NIC National Data Centre, New Delhi which is a 3 tier datacentre. The site has received more than 31000 web hits and is being used regularly by the farmers and the traders from the State as well as other parts of the country. 

All the finalist team had to give a five minutes presentation in front of the jury members who then awarded points under several parameters like Innovation Challenge, Implementation Plan, Timelines, People Benefitted, Scope of Replication and Revenue Model.  The 5 minutes presentation was followed up by another 2 minutes of questioning by the jury members. After the score were compiled, the Winner and Runner’s up were selected from each category.
Our team was represented by C.S.Shabong, Assistant Director of Agriculture, Directorate of Agriculture, Meghalaya and Aiborlang Wanswett, Principal System Analyst, NIC Meghalaya who gave a power point presentation in front of the jury members and also replied to all the queries and questioning by each jury member.

Given below is the list of Challengers under the category: E-GOVERNANCE & CITIZEN SERVICES DELIVERY which comprised of 11 nominations having the largest number of nominees under the category.
-Online Monthly Expenditure Reporting System, National Informatics Center, Mizoram
-Mahanagar, District Administration ,Kamrup (Metro), Assam
- Common Portal to Send Bulk SMS(s) to citizens by Multiple Departments,NIC Mizoram State Centre
- Nagaland Police SMS Based Vehicle Monitoring System,  - WINNER
- Meghalaya State Agriculture Marketing Portal, Directorate of Horticulture, Government of Meghalaya - RUNNERS UP
- MIS for State Finance Commission, Assam, National Informatics Centre
- Project E-Tendering/e-Procurement system for Govt. of Assam/Arunachal Pradesh and Meghalaya- Nexprocure/NPX, Nextenders,
- DRISTI, Ofce of the Commissioner, Panchayat & Rural Development, Assam
- Online Payment of Road tax, Passenger and Goods tax in Mizoram Transport Department, NIC Mizoram State Centre
-Assam Secretariat e-Pass Application, NIC, Assam
- APDCL e-Services, Assam Power Distribution Corporation Ltd., Assam

The 6th Edition of the eNorth East Award 2016 is organised by NEDF, Guwahati and Impulse NGO Network, Shillong in collaboration with MITS, Meghalaya and was held on 26th February 2016 at the NEC Auditorium, Nongrim Hills, Shillong.  The event witnessed a participation of 71 Finalists under various categories where one Winner and one Runners-up  was declared from each category, which was adjudged by eminent jury members comprising experts from the IT field, media, educational institutions and industry.

The Inaugural function was graced by a host of dignitaries comprising of Shri.R.Muivah, IAS, Secretary NEC, Shri.R.M.Mishra, IAS, Principal Secretary Planning Department, Meghalaya, Shri.D.P.Wahlang, IAS, Commissioner & Secretary IT, Meghalaya, Shri, Amitabh Singhal, Board Member, Public Interest Registry etc.

The eNorth East Award platform is an effort to mainstream the North East region by bringing the progressive digital initiatives into national and international focus, recognize good IT practices from the region and felicitate these practitioners and projects for their innovations.

(The writer is Assistant Director of Agriculture(Agro)in the Department of Agriculture Meghalaya and can be reached at

Sunday, August 2, 2015

Apiculture Mission – A Vital Component for Improving Horticulture Production in Meghalaya

                                                                                                         -By C.S.Shabong
Fig1:  A Schematic of a Honey Value Chain (Source MBDA Website)
Mawpran a sleepy village near the Indo-Bangadesh border has been transformed as the strawberry village of East Khasi Hills, next to Sohliya village in Ri-Bhoi district which has become a tourist destination. With the formation of the Mawpran Strawberry Association in the year 2008-09 and through the intervention by the State Horticulture Mission under the National Mission for Horticulture Development for North East India and the Himalayas (Now a component under the MIDH), farmers have been nudged towards taking up commercial scale horticulture to improve their livelihoods. As part of the intervention, the farmers were also encouraged to take up apiculture and bee rearing to improve the production of strawberry. Bees are known to improve the amount of fruit harvested by about 10% in field trials conducted in UK. Pollination by bees is also found to improve the shape and size of the strawberry fruits thus translating to better marketability.

Food security is also intrinsically linked and supported by pollinators, of which the humble bee is one of the most important.  Many fruits, vegetables, plantation crops, nuts and seeds depend on animal pollination of which the honey bee and the bumble bee are well known for their roles. Many wild species of bees are also captured and reared by farmers and bee keepers in Meghalaya mainly for honey extraction. But the indirect beneficiaries are the vast stretches of horticulture and fruit plantation especially in the villages of Nongtrai, Tynger, etc. situated in the Indo-Bangladesh hill tract in which a single bee keeper is able to produce as much as 20 kg to 125 kg of honey per year. (D.Marngar and R.D Lyngdoh, 2014)
Bees are diligent pollinators of fruits and seed crops. All plant reproduction requires the transfer of pollen from the anthers, or male part of the flower to the stigma, or female part of the flower either on the same plant or on separate plant. During a single day, one bee may visit several thousand flowers, of one plant species, collecting nectar and pollen and at the same time continuously transferring pollen grains from one flower to the next. Many variety of fruit trees need cross pollination and specially hybrid crops for commercial production creates a special need for cross pollination by insects/bees. Some crops are self pollinated but nonetheless give better yields through pollination by insects or bees. Adequate pollination by insects/bees also ensures that early flowers set seeds, resulting in uniform and early harvest .

In India, the National Bee Board is the nodal agency for registration of bee keepers and farmers for traceability, formulating standards for honey and bee-hive products, capacity building, training and advisories. It also provides free registration of bee-keepers and well as provides assistance and support through various agencies like Khadi Village and Industries Board (KVIB), Indian Council of Agriculture Research (ICAR), State Agricultural Universities (SAU), State Horticulture Mission (SHM) etc.

Bees sustain horticulture by allowing crops and wild plants to reproduce. A world without these pollinators would lead to the breakdown of the vital function of reproduction or fruit plants and crops, thus leading to extinction of many plant species. The Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) has recognized pollination as a key driver in the maintenance of biodiversity and ecosystem function. The system of hiring and renting honeybee colonies for apple pollination is being practiced in Himachal Pradesh to improve production.

As bees fly from one flower to the next, not only do they collect nectars from flowers but also  through their pollinary activities ensures future sustainability of generation to come for food and crops. Pollination is the one significant economic value derived from bees. Plants and bees are interdependent and need each other for survival and procreation.

The Ministry of Agriculture, Government of India has started a restructured centrally sponsored scheme, Mission for Integrated Development of Horticulture(MIDH) during the 12th Plan for the holistic development of horticulture sector covering fruits, vegetables, spices, flowers, aromatic plants etc. One of the mission support component of MIDH is “Pollination Support through Bee Keeping” as one of the mission intervention. Honey bee will be used in the mission as an important input to maximise agriculture/horticulture production. The responsibility for co-ordinating the bee keeping development program in the State will be vested with the State Designated Agency, in this case which is Meghalaya SFAC. National Bee Board(NBB) will be responsible for providing technical support, implementation of promotional programs relating to bee-keeping and co-ordinating bee-keeping activity in the State. Assistance will also be available to the state on development of nucleus stock of bees, bee breeding, distribution of bee colony hives and bee keeping equipments.

Table 1.  Cost Norm and Pattern of Assistance under MIDH during XII Plan

Sl. No.
Pollination Support through Bee Keeping
Cost Norms
Pattern of Assistance
Production of nucleus stock(Pubic Sector)
Rs.20.00 lakhs
100% of the cost
Production of bee colonies by bee breeders
Rs.10.00 lakhs
40% of cost for producing min. 2000 colonies per year
Honey Bee Colony
Rs.2000 per colony of 8 frames
40% of the cost limited to 50 colonies per beneficiary
Bee Hives
Rs. 2000 per hive
40% of the cost limited to 50 colonies per beneficiary
Equipment including honey extractor(4 frame), food grade container(30kg) nett including complete set of bee keeping equipment
Rs.20,000/- per set
40% of the cost limited to 1 set per beneficiary

 In a case study No. 10 by Uma Partap, ICIMOD, Nepal titled “Cash Crop Farming in the Himalayas: The importance of pollinator management and managed pollination”, it reported on the impact of honey bee pollination on fruits and vegetables.

The findings above that bee pollination increased yield and fruit quality in Apple (Dulta and Verma, 1987; Gupta et al., 1996), Peach, Plum, Citrus, Kiwi (Gupta et al., 2000) and strawberry (Partap, 2000; Partap et al., 2000). Bee pollination did not only increase the fruit set but also reduced fruit drop in Apple, Peach, Plum and Citrus (Dulta and Verma, 1987; Partap, 2000; Partap et al., 2000). Reports have also indicated an increase in fruit juice and sugar content in citrus fruits (Partap, 2000). In strawberry, bee pollination reportedly reduces the percentage of misshapen fruits (Partap, 2000).
Studies have shown that honeybee pollination enhanced seed production and quality of seed in various vegetable crops such as cabbage, cauliflower, radish, broad leaf mustard and lettuce (Partap and Verma, 1992; 1994; Verma and Partap, 1993; 1994). These results confirm the usefulness of bee pollination and its role in increasing crop productivity and improving the quality of fruits and seeds.

Besides producing honey, bees can increase crop production to the tune of 10-25%. Crops in the State like peach, plum strawberry, limes, oranges and vegetables like cucumber, cauliflower, pumkin, pepper benefit from this insect. Under MIDH and Apiculture Mission under the IBDLP, there is great scope to increase adoption of apiculture by farmers both as a livelihood option as well as improving the production of various horticultural crops in the State.  The bee has been rightly called the farmer’s friend and with the State moving towards organic practice, organic honey produced from Meghalaya may be the next sought after product in the near future.

 (The Writer is working as Senior Agriculture Development Officer (Information), Department of Agriculture, Meghalaya and can be reached at