beebox stall

Exhibition at Reliance Foundation in Beej Bhandar

Utmt spreads sweetness by being a part of Reliance Foundation Exhibition in Beej Bhandar.

At an exhibition held by Reliance Foundation in Beej Bhandar, Gonavadi, Chhindwara district, Madhya Pradesh, we are happy that UTMT’s stall garnered much interest. Seeing the displayed beebox, honey and colourful posters, many farmers enquired about beekeeping and its benefits for crops. It was an excellent platform to showcase our achievements with the communities we work with.

UTMT’s Master Trainers at the stall with a beebox and exhibits

beebox stall

Curious visiting farmers fascinated with beekeeping posters

beekeping posters

A huge turnout at one of the stage shows

utmt stage show

Raw honey freshly extracted from a beebox on display

raw honey

An annual calendar explains season-specific activities needed to be undertaken by beekeepers

utmt annual calendar

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Two women master trainers join our beekeeping team

Maharashtra’s beekeeping trainings for the new season have begun. It’s the first time 2 women Master Trainers Suman Baris and Ripka Kuwar from Dhule taught new trainees. Main topics covered were basics – the process of putting colonies from nature into a beebox and maintenance methods.
Theory lessons dominated the first day while colony transfer practicals took up the second day. We are so proud of how far our women beekeepers have come, their confidence is exemplary! Shout out to RBL Bank for believing in us and supporting us!
Ripka welcomes the group to her village, and introduces the schedule for the next two days.
Two women master trainers join our beekeeping team
Dismantling a beebox to explain its components. Understanding the mechanics of a box is the most basic yet crucial lessons for a new beekeeper
training 2
There are 8 wooden frames inside a box, within which bees build their honeycombs
training 3
Time for some outdoor action: Suman carefully handles an A.cerana honeycomb found inside the ground. She wears a bee veil to protect her face from potential stings
training 4
Everyone is fascinated seeing Ripka and Suman fearlessly transferring the bees into a beebox. The exercise was an eye opener for all especially the women present – they had never heard of, let alone seen, a woman handle wild bees.
 the process of putting colonies from nature into a beebox
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Welcoming our beekeepers to the city of dreams!

It is said that the future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams. So let us welcome our beekeepers to the big city. A city of dreams surely for those who believe that a dream does’nt become a reality by magic; it takes sweat, determination and hardwork! 6 beekeepers, four of them women from Maharashtra and Gujarat, visited Mumbai to share their journey with supporters and friends of UTMT at a small celebration-cum-fundraiser in October. It was something they had only dreamed of – reaching Mumbai, the city of dreams.

Sujana, Executive Director (far right) welcomes an excited team to Mumbai.

Sujana welcomes mumbai team

The first of many selfies in the city. The Dhule team relishing a refreshing cutting chai.

Dhule Team having tea

Mumbai Darshan starting at the Gateway.

Mumbai Darshan

Marvelling at CST’s architectural beauty.

CST station Visit

Star beekeepers Sumantai and Shardatai say they will never forget their first train ride – a rush of colour, sounds and emotions. 

Star beekeepers Sumantai and Shardata

The team at Mount Mary Church.

The team at Mount Mary Church.

A No Bees, No Food exhibit at the entrance of the event. Without bees we would not have all the foods we love – tomato sauce, fruits, vegetables, pulses, coffee, chocolate and lots more. 

no bees no food

Our Board members moderate a panel discussion with the beekeepers. Proud of the confidence with which they expressed themselves, despite it being their first urban experience. 

panel discussion with beekepers

Grateful to all the guests who turned up to show their support. Our beekeepers enjoyed sharing their stories and interacting with you !

beekepers interaction with utmt team

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A learning initiative at Cathedral infant school

It is truly said that it takes a big heart to shape little hearts. We are fortunate and happy to see our bee box and honey photos at Cathedral infant school’s gardening show. We believe this is a notable educative effort taken by the school, children and parents. An interactive session where groups of happy children from other schools participated in Mumbai and learned about nature, pollinators and gardening through creative exhibits, crafts and demos. A very nice effort of spreading the sweetness of knowledge in form of learning.

Beebox decorated with paper-and-peg bees made by the kids. They loved holding the wooden frames, peeking inside, and asked many clever questions.

Beebox decorated with paper-and-peg bees

Welcome to Upper 1 B’s corner !

bee corner

Mimicking a beehive: queen bee sitting pretty while worker bees collect pollen and nectar

Mimicking a beehive

We have an audience!

bee hive audience

Fascinated to see pictures of honey being extracted from a honeycomb inside a beebox

drawing of honey bee

One of many colourful bee crafts

colourful bee crafts

Butterflies, beetles, bugs also pollinate plants in our gardens

drawing of pollinate plants in our gardens

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Visit to out beekeeping sites in Dhule

Honoured to have Dr. Barbara Smith, Senior Research Fellow at the Centre for Agroecology, Water and Resilience, Coventry University, UK, visit our women beekeeping sites in Dhule. Barbara’s research in agroecology for sustainable habitats and food systems holds valuable insights for beekeeping, we’re looking at exciting times ahead ! Also joining in was a team from BioRe, an organic cotton organisation working with farmers in Madhya Pradesh.

Understanding the Dhule programme from UTMT staff at the field office.

UTMT staff at the field office.

Interacting with our women beekeepers, who were in turn very interested to know of Barbara’s bees back home.

Interacting with our women beekeepers

Barbara with her favourite insects

Barbara with her favourite insects

Nikhil from the Dhule field team familiarizes Mr Lokendra with bees.

Nikhil from the Dhule field team familiarizes Mr Lokendra with bees.

Mungyabai narrates how bees have been thriving in her box since a year, improving bottle gourd and pumpkins growing nearby.

Mungyabai narrates

Sharing experiences in Master Trainer Sumantai’s house  

 Master Trainer Sumantai's house

Christelle, a Ph D student at BioRe and an avid beekeeper, shows an excited group of beekeepers their pictures on her camera

Christelle, a Ph D student at BioRe and an avid beekeeper,

Saying “bees”! 

say bees

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UTMT wins an international award for ‘Bee keeping for rural development’

UTMT was represented by its Executive Director, Sujana, at an international conference on ‘Honeybees and Honey for Food Security and Ecological Balance’ organised by the Asian Apiculture Association (AAA), HARDEN, WWF (Nepal) and Dept of Agriculture, Govt of Nepal at Kathmandu on October 24.
The conference gave us an opportunity to present our model to a distinguished  gathering of apiculture experts from Asia.
Our work, with its focus on the indigenous bee Apis cerana indica and its pollination benefits for small farmers  was appreciated widely. UTMT was given the Beekeeping for Rural Development award – our first international award by AAA and HARDEN.  We’d like to say a big Thank you to all our supporters and members of Team UTMT, who with their hard work, commitment and dedication have made this possible!
Sujana making the presentation at the Conference
Sujana making the presentation at the Conference
Prof. Siriwat Wongsiri, President of AAA, Prof.Cleofas Cervancia, President, Apimondia Regional Commission for Asia and Prof Xiaoqing Miao, Fujian agriculture University, China.
 President of AAA
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New cycle of training around the corner.

We’ll be busy bees soon with a new cycle of trainings beginning in a few weeks! Atar Singh Kaintura, our Technical Expert, was in Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh in September to help us plan for a strong season. Associated with UTMT since its founding days, Atarji was the technical resource person who laid the foundations for UTMT’s fieldwork.

  1. Atarji gives trainees tips on handling a beebox in Seoni, Madhya Pradesh

1

  1. Checking for signs of new queen cells, signalling the onset of a new growth season

2

  1. Using posters depicting important seasonal maintenance measures.

3

  1. Beekeepers all ears for Atarji’s advice on making the most of the upcoming season.

4

  1. With women beekeepers in Dhule

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  1. Observing bees in a field of flowering niger, an oilseed. Niger is an important monsoon crop in the area, cultivated for oil.

6

40

Welcoming Simant Verma in his journey of exploring rural india

The journey of spreading sweetness is not so easy. But the joy of spreading sweetness is a priceless experience. Let us welcome Simant Verma in the journey of spreading sweetness in the UTMT Madhya Pradesh team. It is a pride to see young Indians taking a step forward in contributing their bit to the society.

Drumrolls –  An India Fellow, he will be with us for a year, working with farmers and bees in the Jamai block, Chindwara district. A Delhi lad, Simant’s keen interest of the outdoors and passion for exploring rural India led him to sign up for the adventurous assignment. For him, today is the start of something new. For us, its an added spoon of sweetness to our jar. Just like an added feather to the cap.

We hope that this journey helps him achieve everything he desires. All the best

Checking on a beebox

simant_1

Listening to teammates Saurabh (left) and Santosh (center) during the routine monthly planning meeting in UTMT’s Bhopal office.

simant_2

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UTMT Team Meeting in Gujrat- Welcoming new recruits.

UTMT staff from all three states – Gujarat, Maharashtra and M.P – congregated for a 2 day joint team meeting at a beautiful campus in Navsari, Gujarat. Rarely do all three state teams get a chance to meet together! The new recruits bonded with older team members and planned with their leaders for the year ahead!

1: Rhea and Christina planning for Mumbai head office!

Lachakadi_1

  1. Manilalbhai, Field Coordinator, Gujarat team, makes a point to his colleagues in the 5 year plan discussion

Lachakadi_2

  1. Dhara, Team Leader, Gujarat, explains their ambitious expansion plans

Lachakadi_3

  1. Maharashtra team came up with a fun illustration on their vision for their projects

Lachakadi_4

  1. Sujana Krishnamoorthy, Executive Director, has been with UTMT since its inception 7 years ago! Here she is, motivating the teams to push their limits

Lachakadi_5

  1. Enjoying yummy dabeli at the local market

Lachakadi_6

  1. Spoilt for choice with colourful, freshly ground masalas !

Lachakadi_7

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Our new initiative toward contributing to agricultural productivity

We recently distributed saplings of a variety of local crops and fruits across several project villages. This was the first time we piloted the initiative, aimed at increasing agricultural productivity and providing an additional source of food for our bees.

Needless to say, our farmers were thrilled ! Snapshots from our women beekeepers’ project in Dhule:

 Coconut1: Coconut saplings waiting to be planted. Bees love coconut, and studies show that yields improve vastly by bee pollination.
Coconut1
Coconut2: The village children were more excited than their parents! Simple joys in life
Coconut2
Coconut 3: More coconut!
Coconut3
Coconut4: Work doesn’t stop even on a grey, wet rainy day. Kalpesh, UTMT staff, distributes saplings.
Coconut4
Lemon saplings: Lemon trees being commonly grown in home gardens in the villages, it was decided that lemon saplings should be included in the flora
Lemon saplings
Drumstick1: The women happily pose with their drumstick plants, alongwith Jayshree, UTMT staff (right)
Drumstick1
Drumstick2: Women beekeepers attaching a support to their drumstick plant. Bees also love drumstick, several farmers have reported huge increases in drumstick yields after keeping beeboxes.
Drumstick2
Drumstick3: Looking forward to more healthy beeboxes, more greenery, and better incomes for the farmers!
Drumstick3