Honey! Even if you hear the name only once, everyone wants to taste it. And if there is honey in the Sundarbans, there is no question. This sweet has not only sweet taste, but also has many medicinal properties. Many species of honey are also collected naturally through cultivation in different parts of Bangladesh. But by the way, the honey of the Sundarbans, the largest mangrove forest in the world, is the best.
Huge quantities of honey are extracted every year from the Sharankhola Range in the eastern Sundarbans of Bagerhat. This year 612 quintals of honey and 214 quintals of wax have been extracted. Honey has increased by 32 percent compared to last time. The forest department has earned revenue of around Tk 9 lakh from honey and wax. About five beekeepers of Sharankhola Upazila have extracted this honey from Gahinban at the risk of their lives. About 30,000 people of Sharankhola are directly involved in this honey industry including Mouyal, their families and traders.
It has been found that five species of honey are found in the Sundarbans. Many people are also making adulterated honey with these honey. Having proper training in honey extraction is the traditional method used. The bees are suffering. On the other hand, beekeepers are at risk of drinking water crisis and health risks in the forest while extracting honey. Moreover, there are various complications in honey extraction, collection, transportation and marketing. Talking to the forest department, Mouyal and traders, Madhur Adyapanta has been known.
The beginning of the honeymoon
The honey harvesting season starts from April. Gone until June. The honey of the most delicious and expensive Khalisa and Garan flowers of the Sundarbans comes in the first month. This is followed by keora and gewar honey. In December and January, honey of Germanilta (Jessorelita in the local language) flower is available. For honey extraction, 15 days pass is given through the revenue fixed by the forest department. With the pass, the Mouals go to Dubla, Nilkamal, Vedakhali, Ambaria, Kalamia, Agun Jwala Khal and Khajura areas of Sharankhola Range.
Anwar Akon (50) of Dakshin Chalita Bunia village of the upazila has been extracting honey in the Sundarbans for about 30 years. This year, eight of them went to Dublar forest in a boat to collect honey. In three months, one person has received honey in three and a half parts. He said they burned torches to make smoke, drove bees and extracted honey from the hive. Some parts of the wheel are left and the rest is cut. So that later bees can make new wheels. As a result of cutting in this way, honey can be collected from each wheel three times.
The extractors said that they have no training in honey extraction. For this reason, many beekeepers are still seen breaking the honey by lighting a fire on the wheel. The bees are burnt to death. As a result of cutting the whole hive, many new hives are no longer made there. Moreover, while extracting honey, beekeepers in the deep forest have to face medical problems if they are injured due to water shortage and attack by snakes or wild animals. In the same way that forest tigers and deer are given importance, beekeeping is one of the major sources of revenue. Mouyals need to be trained. The area for honey extraction in the Sundarbans needs to be increased. The forest department will have to assist the beekeepers in moving the area from one area to another, transporting and marketing honey. This will make it possible to meet the country’s demand for honey and beeswax extracted from the Sundarbans.
Ways to make and recognize adulterated honey
Garoros is first made by burning the height pechini. Then 20 kg of honey is mixed with 20 kg of sugar juice. Again, by mixing alum water and sugar, it is possible to make adulterated honey with honey flavor. The way to recognize adulterated honey is to freeze it after keeping it in the fridge for a few days. If this honey is kept for a long time, sediment accumulates and bad smell is created. So adulterators sell it quickly at low prices. Many are being deceived into buying at a higher price without realizing it.
Russell Ahmed of Khuriakhali village adjacent to Sharankhola forest has been in a relationship with Madhur for almost a century. He also collects cultivated honey from different areas besides the Sundarbans. Finding the difference between the two types of honey, the taste-smell and quality-honey of the Sundarbans is considered the best for him and his customers. Russell said that at the beginning of the season, the mind is 20-22 thousand rupees. At present the demand for honey is huge. So now you have to buy honey for 30-35 thousand rupees per man. Honey is delivered to the retail customer through courier with online order. Moreover, Prakriti Online Shop in Sylhet, Mrinmoy Agro in Dhaka and Green Belt in Chittagong provide regular honey wholesale. He earns Rs 2.5 lakh to Rs 3 lakh from honey every year.
Russell added that the demand for honey in the Sundarbans is increasing day by day. So many times when you go to sell honey, you have to face questions about its quality. If the government or the forest department can set up labs for quality assessment in the forest adjoining areas, get BSTI approval easily, arrange loans on easy terms for traders and mowals, it is possible to make a name for the Sundarbans as a honey brand worldwide.
According to Wikipedia:
The honey of the Sundarbans in Bangladesh is famous for its taste, color and special aroma. It is an herbal liquid and supplement with high medicinal properties. Many people prefer honey to sugar because of its special flavor. Honey has more than 45 nutritional value. All of which are extremely beneficial for the human body. The unique quality of pure honey is that it never goes bad.
Commentary of Forest Department:
East Sundarbans Sharankhola Range Assistant-Conservator (ACF) said. Joynal Abedin said the forest department always cooperates in the safety of honey extractors in the Sundarbans. The use of modern technology in honey extraction and training of them is beautiful up front