Prajakta Admane is a native of Gadchiroli, a tribal district, in Maharashtra. Having completed her studies in Pharmacy and MBA, she had a well-paid and comfortable job in Pune. However, Prajakta was never satisfied with this and always wanted to do something more, something off-beat.
Coming from a Naxal infested area in Maharashtra, Prajakta was well aware of the infamy that her hometown had earned. But that is not all there is to Gadchiroli. The district also has a beautiful forest cover, and people like Prajakta who want to mark their hometown on the map for better, creative and more welcome reasons.
Her will to do something apart from a cushy job in a multinational company brought her back to her hometown, and this time, as a bee-keeper!
“Before I started with the bee-keeping business, I did some research and found out that it was important to undergo vocational training for this,” she told ABP Majha, adding that “I underwent training with the National Bee Board. This is how I got to connect with bee-keepers from everywhere— from Kashmir to Andhra Pradesh. I started learning the minute details of this business from them.”
Today, Prajakta rears honey from fifty boxes of bees. Taking inspiration from the floral variety in the Gadchiroli forests, she has also started manufacturing flavoured honey, and some flavours include berry, eucalyptus, litchi, sunflower, tulsi and sesame.
Each variety has its own benefits for the human body. The berry honey, for example, is excellent to fight diabetes while the sesame honey helps control heart diseases.
The eucalyptus honey is a good cure for common illnesses like a cough and cold. Similarly, ajwain helps digestion.
Prajakta sells these varieties of honey under her own brand, called Kasturi honey. Each bottle of honey sells between Rs 60 to Rs 380. Apart from bee rearing and honey production, Prajakta also sells bee venom. This venom is used in the medical industry to fight arthritis, nerve pain and multiple sclerosis.
The business has helped Prajakta earn about Rs 6-7 lakh annually. Although she invested about Rs 2-2.5 lakh in the business for packaging and distribution, she still makes a good profit at the end of the year. She has also been teaching the basics of beekeeping to unemployed youth and women of her village, helping them earn well.
“We are trying to bring more and more women’s self-help groups, farmers and unemployed youth in this business,” she told ABP Majha.
(Edited by Gayatri Mishra)