Srinagar: Twenty-five-year-old Asiya Jan of Gangoo, Pulwama had dreamt of becoming financially independent ever since she completed her secondary school education.
Not just herself, she wanted to employ other women of her village in her startup to empower them financially.
It was this thought that she forayed into beekeeping. “It was a very unique idea since our area had no such unit before. I was trained by the experts from Jammu and Kashmir Rural Livelihood Mission (JKRLM) and eventually, my business grew with good returns,” she said.
Asiya currently produces over 50 kilograms of honey apart from quality bee wax. “Although there were quite a few challenges initially, I gradually learned the entire bee farming. My honey is highly organic and has surpassed all the tests done to prove purity,” she said.
Such has her idea of bee farming worked that she has almost 20 women working under her.
“Now our village has many bee farming units which are solely run by the women. They embraced the art of beekeeping, gaining valuable knowledge on modern beekeeping techniques, hive management, and honey extraction methods. They followed my model and are getting good returns out of bee farming,” she said.
As the bees diligently pollinated the local crops, the village witnessed an increase in agricultural productivity, which further strengthened the bond between the community and her.
“Till April 20, our bee colonies migrate to hotter places . Afterward, we come to the valley till December,” she explained.
She said the extraction of honey is done four times a year. Now Asiya’s transformation from ordinary woman to a successful beekeeper is nothing short of a remarkable success story.
She currently trains over 1000 women to set up different units in her district. “ I work as a cluster coordinator for JKRLM as well. There are around 1000 women who get training from me regarding setting up business units. Many among them have already set up their bee farms and others grow mushrooms to earn money,” she said.