The honey from Kuttampuzha, a tribal hamlet near Kothamangalam, is all set to assume brand value as Kudumbashree plans to package it as a branded product to enhance its marketability.
The Kudumbashree Tribal Development Project has been running an initiative for tribal communities since mid-2019 by helping them make a livelihood through honey.
“We have set up nearly 170 bee boxes, enclosed structures used to raise honey bees, in the tribal hamlets of Kuttampuzha with the help of Haritha Keralam Mission under the United Nations Development Programme. There are around 40 beneficiaries of the project and each one has been allocated around five bee boxes each. Nearly 10 kg of honey can be extracted annually from each of the boxes over two seasons in a year,” said Ponni Kannan, district programme manager, Kudumbashree Tribal Development Project.
The honey, which is already being packaged and sold locally and through Kudumbashree’s district bazaar at Kolenchery has been evoking a good response. The product met with even greater response during the recent online sale when it had takers even from outside the State and the online demand only seems to surge.
“We were planning to convert it into a branded product as Kuttampuzha Honey to enhance its reach when the pandemic-induced lockdown put paid to that. We will be doing it during this financial year with more sophisticated and attractive packaging and labelling using our dedicated marketing team drawn of members from tribal communities,” said Ms. Kannan.
Initially, over 100 tribal beneficiaries were identified but their numbers were whittled down further based on the level of their interest. The number of beneficiaries, however, could be enhanced gradually considering that the number of bees in each bee boxes keeps on increasing, warranting a rise in the number of bee boxes proportionately.
“As the number of bees surge, they will have to be moved into new bee boxes and the existing beneficiaries can either keep the extra benefit or sell them to their community members who are interested. This way they can have double revenue source,” Ms. Kannan said.
Besides, Kudumbashree is also marketing raw honey collected straight from the forest. Both the freshly collected honey and that extracted from bee boxes are processed in the traditional ways of tribal communities. The honey is sold in packages of 250 gm and 500 gm though fresh honey collected from the forest is priced higher.