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Now, honey to suit your taste

B.V.S. Bhaskar


RAJAHMUNDRY: Honey - it's arguably the sweetest thing on the earth. Licking honey is quite an experience, but extracting and processing it is a tedious job.

For those who have a taste for honey, here is some good news. In a few months from now, you can choose uni-floral honey of your choice, received from same variety of flower pollen grains.

And the variety is wide -- niger (oilseed flower), soapnut, pongamia , red sandal, tamarind and myrobalans (local name karakkai). The Girijan Cooperative Corporation Limited plans to tap them all.

The corporation has two honey processing units - one at Rajahmundry and the other in Araku valley. But the main activity of purification -- removal of excess pollen and extraneous matter from honey, inactivation of yeast cells to avoid fermentation and moisture reduction -- will be carried out at the Rajahmundry unit only.

Market leader

There is great demand for organic honey, also known as rock bee honey, in the market. The GCC is a leader in the wholesale and retail honey market with Agmark certification.

The rock bee (its botanical name is Apis dorsata) is commonly know as wild honey bee and is a dominant species among honey bees available in the temperate forest in India. The collection of honey from this wild bee colony is the livelihood for a majority of tribals.

Till now, the GCC has only been selling multifloral honey, collecting it from Rampachodavaram, Chintapalli, Utnoor, Srisailam, Tirupati and Bhadarachalam honey-procuring divisions.

The GCC is all set to market unifloral honey, which is a big leap in the honey business.

"The taste of consumers keeps changing. So we are going to introduce unifloral honey, with different varieties of tastes," said J. Yustus, who heads the two honey processing units. The unit is processing 400 tonnes of honey per annum and it is selling 20,000 kg per month in Andhra Pradesh.

The Rajahmundry unit, which was established in 1992, is having modern technology for processing, bottling, cap sealing and other facilities.

Not only honey, the unit also procures bee wax and sells the same to the pharmaceutical industry, which uses the produce for capsule coating, ointment base. It is also used for preparation of shoe polish.

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