India’s first ever annual National Bee Day will be celebrated on February 5, 2012 at Maharashtra Nature Park, Dharavi. Under The Mango Tree, an organisation that promotes beekeeping with the indigenous bee Apis cerana indica to increase agricultural productivity, enhance income and improve livelihoods of marginal farmers in India, is organising this day with the objective of this celebration is to create awareness about bees and the role they play in the eco system, among people.
According to this organisation, in the UK, it has been estimated that the economic costs due to pollination by bees and other pollinators is approximately £440 million pounds a year (Source: BBC, 2010) but similar estimates do not exist for India. In beekeeping however, the hybrid Apis mellifera has been given more importance than Apis cerana indica, our indigenous bee which is in the environment all across India and is an excellent pollinator. With this is mind, Under the Mango Tree plans to focus attention on bees on Cerana Day which is on February 5.
This day would be celebrated with several activities like bee walks, cooking with honey, honeybee films for children and adults, kids crafts and games, an interactive session with Mumbai’s beekeepers, honey tasting, food stalls, face painting and bee costumes, bee photo exhibition and also a special panel discussion on bees and pollination. Also, the report of a study undertaken to assess the impact of beekeeping on local crops in Valsad, a district in South Gujarat, will be released by Usha Thorat, Former Deputy Governor, RBI, the study report. This will then be followed by a panel discussion on role of bees in pollination.