Honey Production and Exports in India : Making of the Sweet Medicine : Daily Current Affairs

Relevance: GS-2: Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.

Relevance: GS-3: Food processing and related industries in India- scope’ and significance, location, upstream and downstream requirements, supply chain management.

Key Phrases: National Beekeeping and Honey Mission (NBHM), APEDA, Sweet Revolution, Export promotions, Atma-Nirbhar Bharat, Honey Production.


  • To harness the export potential of honey and to provide thrust to the ‘sweet revolution’ through promotion of beekeeping and allied activities, Government of India has planned to organize a series of events across the country and one event is scheduled to be organized by APEDA in Chandigarh.


  • Due to its natural immunity booster characteristics and a healthier alternative to sugar; honey consumption across the globe has increased manifold in last few years in the aftermath of COVID-19.
  • APEDA is aiming to leverage on this increased demand by means of boosting honey exports through ensuring quality production and market expansion thus diversifying export markets and reducing dependency on the USA which accounts for about 80% of Indian Honey exports.

Honey Production and Exports in India: Challenges and Issues

  • Lack of technical knowledge and efficient management skills among beekeepers to generate high yields of honey.
  • One major challenge is of adulteration of honey using Chinese Sugar Adulterants and other harmful sugar syrup by big commercial brands causes great damage to beekeepers and their businesses.
  • Dearth of Availability of genetically superior bee species and hard Indian Climatic conditions to adopt for such species.
  • Lack of Infrastructure at the grassroots and national level and underdevelopment of forward and backward linkages in the supply chain.
  • Poor Quality control of honey production and insufficient resources for disease prevention and control among beekeepers.

Additional Information

Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority(APEDA):

  • APEDA was established by the Government of India under the APEDA ACT passed by the Parliament in December 1985.
  • It works under Ministry of Commerce and Industry.
  • It is headquartered in New Delhi with 12 regional offices across India.


  • Entrusted with responsibility of export promotion and development of the scheduled products such as Honey, Jaggery and Sugar Products, meat products, dairy, fruits, vegetables etc.by means of financial assistance, research and development etc.
  • Registration of exporters, improving marketing and packaging of scheduled products.
  • Carrying out inspection of meat and meat products, training of stakeholders and fixing inspection standards for scheduled products.
  • APEDA is also responsible for monitoring the import of sugar as well


  • APEDA is a multimember body which consists of members appointed by GoI, Academia, and Industry etc

National Bee Keeping and Honey Mission(2020):

  • The National Beekeeping and Honey Mission was announced by the Union Government as part of the Atma Nirbhar Bharat package in 2020.
  • The scheme is implemented by the National Bee Board (NBB) under Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers’ welfare and is approved for three years from 2020 to 2023.
  • This Central sector scheme is aimed at the overall development and promotion of scientific beekeeping in India to achieve the objectives of the Sweet Revolution.
  • The scheme will work in tandem with the various other schemes related to beekeeping such as KVIC’s Honey Mission, Mission for Integrated Development of Horticulture (MIDH), and the ministries of rural development, MSME, AYUSH etc.

NBHM has 3 sub-missions:

  • Mini Mission I: It focuses on production and productivity enhancement of pollination by adopting scientific beekeeping.
  • Mini Mission II: It will focus on post-harvest management of beekeeping, beehive products, including collection, storage etc.
  • Mini Mission III: will deal with research and technology for different states/regions and agro-climatic and socio-economic conditions.

Government efforts to promote Honey production and exports:

  • Under AtmaNirbhar Bharat initiative, the GoI has allocated Rs 500 crore for the National Beekeeping and Honey Mission (NBHM) for three years (2020-21 to 2022-23) to boost honey production.
  • APEDA has been facilitating honey producers in accessing export markets besides availing government assistance under different schemes, quality certification and lab testing.
  • India is also renegotiating the duty structure imposed by various countries for boosting honey exports.
  • KVIC has launched Mobile Honey Processing Van that will process beekeepers’ honey at their doorsteps and thus save them the hassle and the cost of taking the honey to processing plants in far-off cities for processing.
  • APEDA is working with exporters to address higher freight costs, limited availability of containers in peak honey export season, higher Nuclear Magnetic Resonance test costs and inadequate export incentives.

Data and Statistics: Where does India stand?

  • India, which started its first organized exports in 1996-97, has exported 74,413 metric tonnes (MT) of natural honey worth USD 163.73 million in 2021-22.
  • The USA has been the largest market for Indian Honey (~80% share), UAE, Saudi Arabia, Nepal, and Morocco being other major importers of Indian honey.
  • According to a report of KVIC Honey production in India which was estimated at 35,000 MTs for 2005-06 has almost doubled in 2020.
  • In 2020, total honey production was pegged at 1.62 million metric tonnes from all natural sources and the global honey export was recorded at 7.36 lakh MT.
  • India ranked 8th and 9th in the world in honey producing and exporting countries, respectively.
  • In India, North East Region and Maharashtra are the major natural honey producing areas in the country
  • About 50 percent of the honey produced in India is consumed domestically, while the rest is exported across the globe.
  • As per the DGCIS, APEDA has achieved a growth of 30.8 percent in honey exports in April-June 2022 vis-à-vis previous year.

Way forward

  • As per a report by IMARC the apiculture (rearing of honey bees for the production of honey) market is estimated to register a CAGR of 4.3% during the period 2020–25, with Asia–Pacific as the dominant producer and Indian apiculture market size to reach a value of about Rs 33 Billion by 2024 expanding at a CAGR of nearly 12%.
  • This is a golden period to leverage India’s potential of honey production and exploit the world markets for a better India.
  • This can be facilitated by dual synchronisation of Government efforts and using modern tech extensively such as:
    • IoT, AI, mobile sensors and smartphone apps can help beekeepers in raising healthy bee colonies and timely extraction of quality honey and other products.
    • Government should emphasise research in the fields of beekeeping, bee-behaviour, etc.
    • Demand for organic honey in the international market could be leveraged for promoting organic beekeeping guidelines.
    • India has diverse flora and fauna which can be leveraged in producing different types of honey such as seed/mustard honey, eucalyptus honey, lychee honey, karanj/pongamea honey, multi-flora Himalayan honey, and wild flora honey. This provides lucrative opportunities for beekeeping industries.
    • The development of cost-effective indigenous technology that enables farmers to raise healthy bees on farms.


  • Government should take all the stakeholders in confidence and should drive the “Sweet revolution” to its full potential because an organised and tech-driven bee-farming sector is an excellent initiative for generating employment opportunities, with skill-building projects.
  • It will also help attain Sustainable Development Goals 1 (No Poverty), 2 (Zero Hunger), 3 (Good Health and Well-Being), and 15 (Biodiversity and Vibrant Ecosystem).

Source:  PIB

Mains Question:

Q. How can India revolutionise its “Sweet revolution” in true sense? Discuss the challenges in Indian apiculture sector and suggest ways to address those. (250 words).