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Forest department set to brand Sunderbans honey

Forest department set to brand Sunderbans honey
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Kolkata: The state Forest department is all set to brand honey found in the Sunderbans and make it more popular and readily available to more and more people in the state. The responsibility of developing the branding has been taken up by the West Bengal Forest Development Corporation Ltd (WBFDCL).

"A large section of people in the Sunderbans earn their bread through collection and sale of honey. People have a belief that honey collected from bee hives in the forest are more nourishing. If we can create a branding following proper procedure then it will surely boost the income prospect of those associated with the honey business," a senior official of WBFDCL said.

The department will train the villagers about the modern and scientific process of manufacture of quality honey.

The finished product will then be tested by Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) who will give certification. "These are essential parameters for creating a proper branding," the official added.

The WBFDCL will video the entire process of the honey production and make arrangements for showcasing it in different resorts both in South and North Bengal.

"This will make people more convinced about the quality of honey and with the products being made available at all these resorts it will boost the income of those associated with the honey collection," said the official.

It may be mentioned that the state Forest department has already started taking steps to stop villagers from the Sunderbans venture into the core area of the forest for collection of honey, by encouraging the villagers to take up apiculture right in their native villages.

People, roaming around in deep forests for honey collection or fishing in the creeks of the river, are very often mauled by tigers. As per estimates of researchers every year, around 50 fishermen or honey collectors are killed in tiger attacks.

"We want to bring down the number of human deaths due to tiger attack to zero. Keeping this in mind, we will help villagers in taking up apiculture in all possible forms right in the villages so that they do not need to venture into deep forests. We are taking assistance from experts of Bidhan Chandra Krishi Viswavidyalaya," said a senior official of the Forest department.

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