World Bee Day: Raising awareness through art and training
To align the theme of World Bee Day, 2023 – ‘Engaging in pollinator-friendly agricultural production’, M S Swaminathan Research Foundation organised a rangoli competition for women in Mangalam village, Puducherry, on May 19.
The women participated passionately in the competition; they showcased their creativity by using intricate designs with messages that underline the significance of bees in agriculture.
The next day, an awareness programme was held at the Government High School in Mangalam, Puducherry, where over 70 farmers from three villages joined. Mrs Uma, Agricultural Officer – Villianur Commune, Puducherry, and Deputy Director of Agriculture – Horticulture, Puducherry, Dr Shanmugavel attended the event.
Mrs Sundari from MSSRF welcomed the participants, and Ms Girija DS, Development Coordinator at MSSRF, gave an introductory message. Emphasising the necessity of pollinator awareness among farmers,Sundari added that insect pollination produces two-thirds of the world’s food, which is currently declining due to various factors including urbanisation and climate change.
She explained the outcomes of Project Superfarm through which Bhindi is intercropped with marigold and bordered with sunflower. “Paddy crop bordered by black gram attracted more pollinators. This way of cultivating enhanced the overall productivity of both Bhindi and Paddy crops,” she said.
In his presidential address, Dr Shanmugavel described the National Bee Mission plan that provides farmers with beekeeping and entrepreneurship training by facilitating access to install bee boxes with a subsidised charge. Mr Uthaman, afarmer who had attended an MSSRF beekeeping training programme earlier, said he began with three cartons of Apis cerana and now has several boxes. He sells honey and also engages in migratory beekeeping.
Ms Indu, a Research Scholar with MSSRF, presented the different types of pollinators and listed bee-friendly plants as a take-away for farmers, sparking a lively discussion among them. A handout on pollinators, their types and the dos and don’ts of pollinator conservation was released.
Mrs Dhanalakshmi was awarded the best performer at the previous year’s beekeeper training course and was presented with a wooden bee box. The Rangoli competition winners received gifts sponsored by Vanitha Women’s Club. Mrs Pakkirichi, Branch Co-ordinator, Innuyir Grama Sangam, Pillayarkuppam, gave the vote of thanks.
M S Swaminathan Research Foundation (MSSRF) established in 1988 is a not-for-profit trust. MSSRF was envisioned and founded by Professor M S Swaminathan, agriculture scientist with proceeds from the First World Food Prize that he received in 1987.