PESHAWAR: Pakistan has exported 440 containers honey to Gulf states during the financial year 2012-13 and it was expected in 2013-14 the volume would be much higher than the previous year.
President Honey Bee Keepers and Exporters Association Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Raza Khan Afridi said Pakistani honey has big demand in Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates (UAE), Kuwait and Bahrain.
The price of one kilogramme honey in international market in Pakistani currency is Rs 1000 and each container contains 20,000 kilogramme of honey.
He called for provision of facilities to honey exporters to increase the export of the commodity and stressed need for the establishment of Honey Board having representation of all stakeholders including the association and forest department.
For increase in the production of honey, Khan Afridi said the beekeepers should be given facilities as due to poverty his bees use to die. He said bee keepers are poor and they have bear a loss of Rs 160,000 colonies annually in head of transportation, feeding and working.
He especially complained of the police attitude with bee keepers at the time of the transportation of colonies and every truck have to pay an amount ranging from Rs 500 to Rs 1000 per truck. He in particular complained of the improper treatment of Peshawar and Kohat Police.
The variety of bees known as Apis-Mellaffera was imported from Italy in 1982 for Afghan refugees.
He said demand of honey in international market particularly in Gulf was manifold higher than the present supply. For increase in the production, he called for the plantation of berry plants in open places to provide feeding for the bees. In this connection, he especially stressed the active role of forest and agriculture departments and district administration should also cooperate with them.
He called for the establishment of a honey specific department to work for the promotion of investment in the sector under the supervision of public sector. He demanded making arrangement for the processing of the honey.
He said beekeeping is an informal emerging sector providing employment opportunity to thousands of people. He especially appreciated the efforts of Small and Medium Enterprises Development Authority for the development of the sector. After carpet manufacturing, beekeeping is the second potential export oriented sector of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, whose growth is stagnant due to the lack of facilitation by both federal and provincial governments.