Beekeeping and honey production are environmentally favourable non-farming business activities with a huge potential to deliver a diverse range of economic benefits in Pakistan, but unfortunately, this sector is underdeveloped due to a host of factors, including pesticide-damaged nectariferous plants, non-application of current technologies, and a lack of certification resulting in low production.
In Pakistan, each beekeeper produces an average of 11.7kg of honey in 2019, compared to the global average of 20.6kg. Keeping in view a whole range of benefits in this sector, the government has conducted an exclusive analysis to devise a mechanism for improving the quality of honey production, providing livelihood to beekeepers, and sustaining activity through provision of financial resources.
According to the Prime Minister’s Ten Billion Tree Tsunami Program, around 10,000 beekeepers are anticipated to use 300,000 colonies to produce 7,500 metric tonnes of honey per year. Using modern beekeeping equipment, training on the latest practices, standardisation and certification of the product, and intense marketing, the potential to generate 70,000 metric tonnes of honey from the same harvest could be increased. Pakistan is home to four different honeybee species, of which three are native to Pakistan and one western. Apis Dorsata, Apis Cerana, and Apis Florea are the native species found in a variety of biological zones around the country, while Apis Mellifera is a western species. Around 7,000 beekeepers are already raising Apis Mellifera in modern beehives. Pakistan expects to generate an income of Rs35 to Rs43 billion (around $218 to $267 million) and create over 87,000 green jobs from the sale of 70,000 metric tonnes of honey. The country’s pleasant environment and bee flora provide an ideal potential for expansion of the beekeeping business. Beehive flora can support over 1,000,000 honeybee colonies and can be found in all provinces, including Northern regions, FATA, and AJK. With the growth of the beekeeping sector, more people are turning to self-employment as commercial beekeepers to supplement their income. Honey production is planned for locations with a lot of wild plantations and agricultural farms.