PESHAWAR: Despite earning millions of dollars in international market, the honey market in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) is deprived of basic facilities, lack of government’s patronage and is also unable to expand into new markets, forcing traders to close their businesses.
In the 80s, the Australian government provided bees to Tarnab Farms Peshawar, which was the root of honey business in the periphery of Peshawar. However, four decades have passed but modern technologies not have been used for extra production and the industry has not received government patronage.
While talking to The Express Tribune, the president of the bee market and of the Beekeeper’s Association Naeem Qasimi said that the bee-keeping business is still running on a private level, and despite them earning millions of dollars, it is still deprived of industrial status.
“The honey business in Tarnab market has been booming despite no privileges from the government side. Around 1,200 shops in the market are associated with honey trade, most of which are exporting to Gulf countries and earning millions,” stated Qasimi.
According to Qasimi, the K-P districts of Karak, Kohat, frontier region Peshawar, Nowshera’s Manki area, district of Attock in Punjab and Chakwal are the areas where beekeepers are producing high-quality honey, while raw honey has been exported to Gulf countries which have added to the public exchequer.
“Our only demand from K-P and federal government was to ink a treaty of exporting honey to the European Union and the United States so that we could enhance our market. It would also create job opportunities for unemployed youth.
“I along with few other beekeepers have laid the foundation of the Pakistan Bee Keepers Association in 1996, but beside the Australian help and financial and technical help, we didn’t get anything from the federal government,” he added.
Qasimi also stressed how the beekeepers have suffered in the war against terrorism.
“Military operation in the tribal district, a source for the beekeepers, has been hit the most. War in Afghanistan has also affected the trade of honey with Peshawar,” he said.
“We are working on a self-help basis for the expanding of our business, but we still need a state-of-the-art laboratory to test the honey so that it is up to the international market standards. Multinational companies are earning millions by buying honey from here, while we are still struggling due to lack of patronage,” Qasimi added.