Billions Trees Honey Program is started by Prime Minister Imran Khan in an effort to cut down poverty in the country.
With the start of winter season, the consumption of honey products have increased manifold in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa where most people made the world’s famous Pakistan’s ‘Bair and Palosa’ honey part of their diets to keep themselves healthy and warm besides avoiding chest related infections.
As chilly and misty conditions started prevailing in most parts of the province, especially in rural areas around rivers Sindh, Kabul, Panjokra, Swat, Kunhar and Kurram, the honey’s demand has also increased where one kilogram Bair honey was being sold at Rs1,500 to Rs2,000 per kilogram and Palosa at Rs600-700 per kg.
“For the last five years, I am coming to Tarnab to buy my favourite honey and send it to my married sisters living in Peshawar as ‘winter’ gift,” he said, adding Rs50 per kg increase has been witnessed this year as compare to the last year that needed to be checked by the district administration.
Being a home to four famous honeybees including Apis Cerana (small bee), Apis Dorsata (wild bee), Apis Flori (little bee) and exotic Apis Mellifera, Pakistan is producing over 7,500 metric ton honey from about 300,000 colonies per year.
After the decrease of population of Apis Flori and Apis Dorsata commonly known “Swat bees” due to erratic patterns of weather, 2010 floods and climate change, Apis mellifera was imported to Pakistan from Australia in 1977 owing to her speedy growth and increased honey production’s power.
A research project was launched at Agriculture Research Institute (ARI) Tarnab, Peshawar, Faisalabad and National Agriculture Research Centre (NARC) Islamabad in 1979 to analyse Mellifera’s properties, adoptability, colonization, Queen’s characteristics and breeding potential. The exotic species was later distributed among Afghan refugees and local beekeepers in 1981-82.