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Suprajit Raikar’s venture, Raika & Co. is intent on creating a sustainable beekeeping industry in Goa

Raika & Co is a social enterprise that promotes beekeeping and organic farming in-order to increase agricultural productivity and provides market access to enhance income and improve livelihoods of marginal farmers in Goa. Suprajit Raikar, a software engineer turned beekeeper is the proprietor of Raika & Co, which sells locally produced honey under the brand name Raika Honey.
Suprajit was passionate about helping the local farmers and tribal people and began teaching them beekeeping, while also trying to save honey bees for sustainable development. Initially, bee-keeping started as a hobby for him, but after learning and understanding scientific and natural beekeeping techniques, it turned into a full time career for him. He says, “Organic Farming has various health benefits, which is not only limited to humans but our honey bees, as well. As a beekeeper, I make sure our bees get the best quality nectar source from flowers.”
Right up from inception till date Raika and Co.’s main objective was to create a social impact rather than making profits. Their main goal is to promote beekeeping and organic farming in order to increase agricultural productivity and provide market access to enhance income and improve livelihoods of marginal farmers in Goa. 
In 2016, Suprajit registered the company as an MSME and began selling organic honey under the brand name Raika Honey.
Their main products are raw organic honey, filtered honey (especially for children), stingless bee honey, beeswax lip balm and body balm, beeswax candles, beekeeping tools and equipments, and cold pressed coconut oil. They have a flagship outlet in Benaulim and Raika Honey is available on Amazon.
They have a pan-India presence with their e-store and their products are stocked at select Ayurvedic pharmacies in Goa like Dr. K K Sanzgiri, Campal Trade Centre, Panjim, and Oorja Wellness Centre, Comba, Margao (Dr. Pranav Bhagwat).
Suprajit stresses on the importance of honey bees which is vital to the survival of the ecosystem. “Scientists estimate that one out of every three bites of food we eat exists because of animal pollinators like bees. We teach farmers the importance of honey bees for our ecosystem. Secondly, honey bees are the only insect that produce food for humans i.e. honey. Hence honey bees are very important for the agriculture and farming industry.”
He further adds that beekeeping has lots of potential in Goa. “Till date we have installed more than 150 beehives in Goa. Under the ‘Bees for Sustainable Development’ program we regularly conduct beekeeping awareness sessions in Benaulim. We also conduct a special session (free of cost) for children above 5 years so that they understand importance of honey bees during early years.”
Many enthusiasts attend the beekeeping training sessions which are held at Krishi Vigyan Kendra, North and South Goa respectively.
Raika and Co. is associated with various organisations like Central Bee Research and Training Institute, Pune; Khadi and Village Industries Commission, Department of Agriculture, Goa; and National Beekeeping and Honey Mission. Ten percent of their profits are diverted towards social activities in Goa like providing solar lamps and book donations to various institutions.
A major concern in beekeeping is the weather and impact of pesticides on these pollinators. “Another challenge is to educate the people about bees and convince them not to destroy beehives. Over the years we have rescued many beehives and have even relocated some to forest areas so that they are not destroyed,” adds Suprajit.
At Raika and Co, Suprajit and team intend to install 500 beehives in Goa and want to promote a healthy pollinator population, while maintaining a sustainable beekeeping industry. They are committed to create sustainable and long-term markets that empower and improve the lives of marginal farmers

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