Pakistan now self-reliant in honey (2006)

Pakistan has attained self-sufficiency in honey production and is now able to export prime quality produce at competitive price in the open global markets.

According to official sources, around 240,000 colonies of honeybee in all four provinces and Azad Kashmir were working with advanced technology.

Women can easily adopt the profession as an income generating activity, as it does not require big investments or infrastructure.

The sources said average yield of honey per colony has increased from 4 kg to 21 kg while total production of honey in the country has increased from 250 tones to 2500 tones since 1982.

The best time for beekeeping is from October to November and the spring season, however, honey can be produced throughout the year by planting some special species of plants. The beekeepers should encourage bees to get their food from natural sources like flowers and plants instead of using sugar in rainy or cold season.

Development of new bee management techniques, production and distribution of genetically superior honeybee queens are vital to achieve significant progress.

Honeybee Research Institute provides training to people in beekeeping through different courses because inexperienced people squeeze the unripe beehives and extract honey mixed with bee parts, which could be hazardous for consumption. “We are striving for promotion of use of honeybees for pollination of vegetables, seeds, fodder and fruit crops for higher yield and development of a low-cost comb foundation locally to replace costly and imported metal sheets,” an official said.

Besides, establishment of a processing unit is essential for demonstration and training in collaboration with provincial research and extension by providing colonies training.

The European bees were first introduced some 20 years ago and after consistent efforts now it has more than 150,000 colonies being managed by 11,000 beekeepers.

Virus cannot survive in the honey due to its quality to absorb water. Hundred grams of honey contains 303 calories, the official said.

The institute has organised 16 training courses at national level, 67 courses at regional level for farmers, professionals of agriculture and forest departments and workers of social-welfare departments besides women organisations.