Q.1 How would you describe the market potential for the processing of Honey-based products and the opportunities for Honey processing at a micro food processing level?

The market for honey and honey-based products in India is still at a nascent stage and offers a huge potential for growth. Some independent estimates say that the honey industry in India is slated to report a CAGR of 10% between 2022 and 2027. Despite the demand for honey growing during the pandemic, the penetration levels of honey and honey-based products are still low in India. There is a vast scope for increasing its production based on demand in the local and international markets. The best-known primary products of beekeeping are honey and wax, but pollen, propolis, royal jelly, and bee venom are also fast emerging as marketable primary bee products.

Q.2 Could you please tell us about the support provided by India Honey Alliance to micro food processing enterprises?

India Honey Alliance is a focused platform for all stakeholders in the honey sector and has been working towards not just identifying issues faced by the beekeepers but also devising probable long-term solutions that range from technology, training and consumer awareness programmes. The alliance has also been playing a crucial role in supporting micro food processing enterprises. One of our key focus areas is to empower the entire Honey value chain by helping them derive benefits from the Pradhan Mantri Formalisation of Micro food processing Enterprises (PMFME) Scheme.

We have been driving awareness within the beekeeping community about various government schemes intended for the upliftment of MSMEs. To promote beekeeping in India and create a more enabling environment, the alliance has also organized a series of panel discussions and webinars to disseminate information on best practices for beekeeping and dispel myths about honey. These panel discussions have attracted over 2,000 beekeepers and experts.

Q.3 What are your thoughts on the scope of value addition in Honey processing?

While Honey continues to be the most important primary product from beekeeping both from a quantitative and an economical perspective, there is a nascent yet growing market for other by-products or value-added products too. We have been seeing value- added products like beeswax, pollen, propolis, royal jelly, and bee venom gaining demand in the developed markets. While there is a limited market today for such value-added products in India, we are confident that their demand would grow with time. These products can be used or consumed in the state in which they were produced by bees or they can be used as ingredients for other products, thereby adding value to these. Besides, Honey can be marketed in its liquid form as Extracted Honey, in the comb as Comb Honey, in a combined extracted & comb form as Chunk Honey, and in a crystallized form as Cream Honey.

Royal Jelly is already being sold at very high prices in the international market as a dry powder in capsules or as a formulation with honey. But commercial production of Royal Jelly is restricted to very few beekeepers today. Also, Bee Pollen is also considered a complete food for human beings and has been fetching good prices in the marketplace and there is vast scope for increasing its production based on demand in the local and international markets. I feel that promoting Indian honey at a global level will surely help increase the demand for these value-added products too. We need to work closely with regulators to build robust standards and specifications for such products.

Q.4 With the immense experience that you have gathered over the period, how do you think the PMFME Scheme would be able to empower micro food processing enterprises?

The PMFME Scheme is a well-conceived scheme that would go a long way in promoting the spirit of an Aatmanirbhar Bharat. This scheme would help to formalize the micro food processing enterprises across the country, besides upgrading and strengthening them.

With the technology and financial assistance provided under the PMFME Scheme, the micro entrepreneurs can empower their business by purchasing honey processing plants, packaging machines, etc. It will also add value to the processing and marketing of their other products.

Q.5 What would be your advice to aspiring food processing entrepreneurs?

One of the foremost advice would be to derive maximum benefit from the PMFME Scheme, which has been crafted to create an Aatmanirbhar Bharat. The budding entrepreneurs involved in beekeeping should keep themselves abreast with the advanced technology and various beekeeping equipment available in other countries. Quality of honey is foremost and no effort should be spared in ensuring that the quality of Indian honey is the best in the world.

About the Guest

Mr. Rahul Awasthi is the Chairperson of India Honey Alliance. With over two decades of corporate leadership experience, Rahul has had a long history of success in leadership roles with a demonstrated track record in the FMCG industry in strategic and executional roles. His previous leadership stints include Hindustan Unilever Limited.

About India Honey Alliance

India Honey Alliance has been formed to create a focused platform for all stakeholders in the honey sector to identify issues and their probable long-term solutions, ranging from technology, training, and consumer awareness programs.

(Content shared by India Honey Alliance)

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed are those of the above guest and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the Ministry of Food Processing Industries.