Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Honey harvest turns bitter in State

Thiruvananthapuram: Climate change has a direct impact on the production of honey from rubber plants in the State, recent research carried out by a team from the College of Agriculture, Vellayani, has revealed.

The team, led by S. Devanesan, analysed the incidence of rainfall and honey yield in different districts. They found that untimely rainfall affected the production of honey, resulting in severe economic loss to beekeepers. The results of the study were presented at an international workshop on climate change and rubber cultivation held at Kottayam in July.

Dr. Devanesan said unseasonal rainfall resulted in fungal infection of tender leaves, resulting in unnatural leaf fall. �Commercial production of honey in Kerala is totally dependent on rubber plantations. The honey flow in rubber usually begins during the period from January to February in northern Kerala and March to April in the southern districts.

He explained how rainfall affected the honey production. �On the one hand, it washes away the nectar from the leaves, leaving nothing for the bees to collect. Unseasonal rain also leads to powdery mildew and consequent shedding of the young leaves that secrete nectar.�

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