Honey production decreases by 60% in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa
Traders in Afghanistan have inked agreements with Iran and India for honey instead.
- Beekeepers from KPK have reduced honey production by 60% this year.
- The reduction was mainly due to COVID-19 lockdowns.
Honeybee keepers in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KPK) have been hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic, leading to a 60% reduction in honey production.
According to Sheikh Gul Bacha, the Vice President of All Pakistan Beekeeper Exporters & Honey Association (APBEHA), the provincial honey business suffered due to lockdowns across the state.
“Beekeepers couldn’t transport bees to areas with more flowers to collect nectar due to which 20% of them died while 40% weren’t able to produce honey due to poor health,” he explained.
He said that all medicines needed to cure bees were imported from China. However, imports had stopped for several months, which also affected honey production.
Similarly, exports to the Gulf states, which usually take 80% of KPK’s honey, were reduced to 40% due to lockdowns that incurred losses to the people involved in the business and the national exchequer.
The second-largest export market for KPK’s honey is Afghanistan, where exports were also harmed due to administrative and border management issues and border closures.
Now, traders in Afghanistan have inked agreements with Iran and India for honey instead.
Bacha said that KPK used to produce around 30,000 to 35,000 tonnes of honey annually, yet production reduced to 12,000 tonnes due to deforestation and lack of seasonal and flowering trees.
“The price of honey has now reached Rs. 20,000 per maund,” he added.
The APBEHA official said that although several projects had been launched with international organizations’ help, only limited people could benefit from those projects.
At the same time, nothing changed for the sector as a whole.
Moreover, he said that despite spending billions of rupees on the Billion Tree Tsunami Project in KPK, flowering trees were not planted by the concerned authorities.
The authorities had earlier given assurance to plant flowering trees during a meeting with beekeepers.
Bacha lamented that although 1.2 million people are employed with the honey business in KPK, the government has not granted it industry status.
“No one in the honey sector has even been considered for the provision of relief to mitigate the losses incurred by the coronavirus lockdowns,” he added.
He demanded the government plant flower trees in all provinces to increase honey production in the country.
He also requested that industry status be granted to the honey sector and build training centers for people associated with the industry to increase the state’s honey exports.
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