Training & Capacity Building Programme for Honeyhunters

The training programme for the honeyhunters was held on the 23rd and 24th of January, 2017. The
programme was organized in 2 places – Hasanur in Erode District and in Kotagiri, Nilgiris District.
Both the days were exceptional in the sense that the enthusiasm displayed by the community
members in attending the programme and taking part in the discussions, was noteworthy.

The morning session was dealt primarily by Robert Leo, who explained about the quality concerns
of honey while extracting, handling and then storage. At every stage, the care and effort involved in
making sure that the contamination from any external source was minimal, was re-emphasized. One
of the surprising elements was the strong participation by the youth. Many came and it was interesting that though the skills were there, the understanding of the ecological and cultural
importance was limited. Animated discussions ensued and many of their doubts were cleared.

Ms. Shiny Rehel then interacted with them on the understanding and importance of pollen. It was
important for them to understand the relationship of nectar and pollen sources to the taste and
properties of honey.

Mr. Miller Ashok then explained about the importance of the roles of Aadhimalai and Last Forest.
Aadhimalai, created as a producer company, about two years ago, is the focal point for the purchase
of honey from the community. There is a total membership of over 1600. The board is made up of
community members and they take most of the decisions regarding pricing, procurement quantities,
quality parameters, etc. Last Forest does the last mile link to the market and it provides support in
terms of branding, packaging, customer involvement, etc. This has helped that different institutions
are able to focus on their respective strengths.

Mr. Moorthy, the previous CEO of Aadhimalai spent considerable time explaining the work being
done and planned with the community through Aadhimalai and how it is important for the support
by everyone to make the venture success.

Apart from the training programme, a small kit consisting of a knife, nets for filtering and cans forcollection, were given to all those who participated.

To address the issue of moisture in the honey processing and packing section, dehumidifiers havebeen procured and they will help in controlling the quality of honey. Also, there has been an inhouse design and implementation of honey processing. It makes the activity much easier withoutthe need for physical effort.

Many thanks to EXIM Bank for making this possible.

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