Adv. V.S. Sunil Kumar, Minister for Agriculture and Farmers Welfare,
Shri R. Srinivasan, Chief General Manager, NABARD,
Shri Y.K. Baramathikar, Joint Chief Executive Officer, Khadi and Village Industries Commission, Govt. of India,
Shri Justin Mohan IFS, Director, State Horticulture Mission,
Shri J. Sajeev, Managing Director, Horticorp,
Shri M.R. Sajayakumar, President, Federation of Indigenous Apiculturists [FIA],
Dr. Stephen Devanesan, General Secretary, FIA,
Shri Abdul Kalam, Patron, FIA,
Dear farmers involved in Beekeeping,
Sahodaree Sahodaranmare,
Ellaavarkkum Ente Namaskaaram.
I am very happy to inaugurate the 11th National Bee Keepers' Meet and Honey Fest - 2019 organized by the Federation of Indigenous Api-culturists. 
Let me begin by complimenting the Federation of Indigenous Api-culturists for regularly conducting the annual conference of Beekeeping professionals to promote the production of honey.
As a non-governmental agency instituted for promoting sustainable beekeeping across Kerala and neighboring States, the Federation has won the recognition of the National Bee Board.  It has also succeeded in helping to increase productivity in the sector, thereby enhancing the income of farmers.  I am informed that with over 1500 life members, it has been   providing timely technical advice to bee keepers on value addition of honey, development of different honey products etc., and encouraging research activities on honey & bee health. 
Bee keeping and the production of honey are very popular in Kerala and Tamil Nadu. Today, Kerala contributes to 70 per cent of the annual production of honey in India.  As we all know, our nation enjoys a rich bio-diversity, with thousands of varieties of plants, insects and other living beings.  Kerala's unique biodiversity also supports a large number of medicinal herbs and insects. 
Interestingly, most of us are not aware of the importance of the role played by insects and honey bees in our bio-diversity. It is known that out of the 115 agricultural crops grown worldwide, 87 depend upon insects for cross pollination. And, among insects, the honey bees perform more than 80 per cent of the pollination job in Nature.  Besides, one third of the calories consumed by human beings comes from bee pollinated agricultural crops.  It is here that the role of the Honey Bee becomes important in our primary sector. 
Our Apiculturists in Kerala have rightly realized the value of honey, bees wax etc and the free ecological services offered by the Honey bees in boosting the productivity of agricultural crops through cross pollination. It s satisfying to note that they have commercially utilized three out of the five different species of honey bees found in the State, namely the Indian bee, Italian bee and the Sting-less bee. I hope our experts in agriculture would some day help our honey bee farmers to domesticate the rock bees and the little bees varieties also. 
It was after realizing the potential of Apiculture that our Hon’ble Prime Minister had announced the Sweet Kranti scheme to encourage scientific beekeeping practices for increasing the income of farmers and rural youth. Sweet Kranti also aims to promote cooperation among the beekeepers and to develop a market for products so as to establish beekeeping as an entrepreneurial venture. I hope our beekeepers have benefited from this scheme.
Our faith in the concept of rural economy would become stronger when we encourage every village of our country to become production centres of honey. Such an attempt would offer nutritional and financial security to every household, particularly women. As an aspirational effort to increase productivity of agriculture and to ensure sustainable development, the National Honey Mission has also been implemented through Khadi & Village Industries Commission, (KVIC) of the Ministry of Small and Medium Enterprises, Government of India.
All these schemes could be successful only if we promote beekeeping as an entrepreneurial venture. We need to make people aware that rearing honey bees in the homesteads of Kerala is neither difficult nor expensive. Earnest efforts must also be made for providing training for apiculture in our villages. I am happy that the Kerala Agricultural University, Federation of Indigenous Apiculturists (FIA), Khadi & Village Industries Commission, State Horticulture Mission, Horticorp and many other groups are now taking interest in helping the Beekeeping sector. Our researchers should also turn their attention towards improving the   technology used in Apiculture so that the quality of honey products also becomes better.
I understand that many honey bee colonies had suffered heavy damages in the last year's floods. I hope there will soon be liberal provisions to include beekeeping also in the farm insurance schemes of our country.
I must also draw your attention to value addition and measures to control adulteration of honey. I recall that the VAIGA - Krishi Unnathi Mela, held in the last two years had emphasised the need for value addition in honey and other honey products. Equal importance has to be given to ensure the quality of Honey that is produced by our farmers. I am told that it will be contained through the establishment of National Honey Quality Control Laboratory at the College of Agriculture, Vellayani, with the funding from Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojana  [RKVY], Govt. of India. However, our farmers should be made aware of the importance of adhering to the standards of quality.
I compliment the organizers for having conducted the  exhibition and sale of pure and natural honey collected by the beekeepers in different parts of the country so that people would realize the potential of bee keeping.  My best wishes to all the beekeepers who are attending this programme and presenting their products in the exhibition cum sale.
                                                                                                     Ellavarkkum Ente Aashamsakal
                                                                                                                Jai Hind