The constraint of small land holding became a blessing in disguise for this marginal farmer who has now become a prominent honey producer of Doaba region.

Charanjit Singh of Kadiana village, near Adampur, owned less than one acre land (seven kanaal) and found it difficult to make both ends meet some two decades back. It was then when he started looking for other options. "It was in 2002 that I took to beekeeping, worked hard on it and that gave dividends soon," he told TOI.

Charanjit now provides employment to 20 persons and pays them a monthly salary of around Rs 1.5 lakhs.

Having 1,500 bee boxes, Charanjit and his wife Amandeep Kaur on an average annually produce around 300 quintal honey. "If season remains good in terms of weather and other factors, then the annual production touches 400 quintals," he revealed. The wholesale rate hovers at around Rs 150 per kg.

However to make the vocation more profitable, Charanjit has also opened three retail shops on the main road outside his village where they get better price of around Rs 250 per kg. "I supply to major traders who further supply to big companies which deal in honey retail," he said.

"His is a success story from a small farmer to be a prominent beekeeper of the area. With tough international market standards, we focus on maintaining quality and issues like presence of antibiotics while training beekeepers," said Satbir Singh, deputy director, horticulture department.

Motivated by him, a few others are also following in his footsteps. "We owed less than an acre. After I retired from Army, we found it difficult to make a living on just my pension. My son then joined Charanjit and three years back, we purchased 85 honey bee boxes by taking a loan of Rs 2 lakh. Now we have 130 boxes. Our economic condition has improved," said Amrik Singh, an ex-serviceman from Kapoor village in Jalandhar. "We work with Charanjit, help him and he reciprocates with his guidance," he said.

Source: 3 August, 2015, The Times of India