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Thursday, February 15, 2024

Honey production increased: IK’s billion tree project bears fruit

Apart from significantly improving the environment, Prime Minister Imran Khan’s Billion Tree Project has helped increase honey production by 70%. According to reports, beehives were auctioned in 2016 for Rs.729,000, but now the amount has increased to Rs1.3 million. Read details here.

The production of honey has increased by 70% due to the plantation of thousands of trees under the Billion Tree Project in the Changa Manga artificial forest. This is the result of Prime Minister Imran Khan’s Billion Tree Project. The massive reforestation project added 350,000 hectares of trees both by planting and natural regeneration, in an effort to restore the province’s depleted forests and fight the effects of climate change.

Experts at World Wildlife Fund-Pakistan, which monitored and conducted an independent audit of the reforestation drive, say the project has been an environmental, economic and social success, VOA news reported.

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Inger Andersen, head of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), the NGO in charge of administering the Bonn Challenge, described it as ‘a true conservation success story’.

According to the latest report, beehives were auctioned in 2016 for Rs.729,000, but now the amount has increased to Rs.1.3 million. Forest Department’s officials said complete implementation of Prime Minister Imran Khan’s Billion Tree Project can lead to increasing the amount received from the auction of honey in Changa Manga to Rs.10 million.

Forest Officer Shahid Tabassum said 85% of the forest had been planted in the past few years, due to which there had been an unusual increase in bees.

“Hundreds of beehives can be seen in the Changa Manga forest,” he said. “In the financial year 2016-17, the honey was auctioned for Rs.729,000 and in 2017-18 for Rs.1.15 million,” he added. Similarly, in 2018-19, the honey was auctioned for Rs 1.252 million, while during the current financial year the auction fetched Rs 1.3 million.

Local people of Changa Manga said that along with the use of pesticides and fertilisers in crops, trees had been brutally cutting down from forests, agricultural areas and along canals and roads, due to which honeybees were finding fewer places to make hives, while flowers were also not available.

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The flowers from which the bees get nectar also became toxic because of the pesticides and fertilisers, due to which the bees died. Hence the production of natural honey was declining and people were forced to buy the processed varieties. Dozens of people are seen selling fake honey with wrong labels at Changa Manga nowadays.

Forest Officer Tabassum said that four types of bees are found in Pakistan, named Domna, Pahari, small and European. Domna, Pahari and small are local bees, while the European species (Apis Mellifera) was brought from Australia.

Experts say that about 400 tonnes of honey were imported annually to Pakistan, which is only two per cent of the total demand. Most of the need for honey is fulfilled from local production. Wild honey is rare, while farm honey is found frequently.