The Sweet Cause – Enactus India
An idea is a powerful weapon. And an idea that spreads a smile on the sweat streaked face of a man, after a hard day’s work can do wonders.
In a country where agriculture is the mainstay of 47% of the population (read 56 million people), every year, seasonal unemployment and heavy dependence on rainfall leads to over 3 lakh farmers commiting suicide. This year the students of Hans Raj College resolved to put an end to this terrible loss of life through their campaign- ‘Project Mithaas’.
Project Mithaas was targeted at the rural population of the country. Through this, they aimed to empower farmers as potential beekeepers. After heavy research work to find sustainable sources of income, they decided to encourage bee-keeping among the farmers because of 4 main reasons –
1. Only 1 million colonies out of the capacity of 120 bee colonies have so far been utilised in India.
2. Most farmers possess no skills for the secondary and tertiary sector.
3. Beekeeping does not require large areas of land. Better yet, it can even be adopted by landless farmers.
4. Apart from honey, which has a reliable market, a lot of valuable by-products like propolis, royal jelly and beeswax are created during the process.
These students firmly believed in the saying ‘If your cause is noble, there is nothing to fear’. Through their grit and determination (much like the bees) to make farmers economically independent they were motivated to approach the Ministry of Agriculture and Ministry of Horticulture, UP and identified Nagla Gajju as the first village they could help.
Collaboration with the National Bee Board was a shrewd move as it not only made their expertise available to them but also helped reduce the heavy investment required by farmers.
To ensure that the farmers were aware of all the complications and nitty-gritties of the project, intensive training sessions were organised with the farmers. These sessions showed tremendous results. The cooperative of farmers who took up beekeeping was able to earn 48,000 in 2 months and could break even in just 6 months.
This project has created a huge environmental impact in terms of a larger crop yield, due to increased pollination by the bees. This is of a much greater significance than we can imagine, as bees are the largest pollinator and are responsible for one in every three bites of food we eat. Project Mithaas has helped farmers become independent by creating a sustainable source of livelihood for themselves.
ENACTUS Hans Raj continues to expand its project and make more farmers connect to the bee colonies.