On Monday, Prime Minister Imran Khan launched the Billion Tree Honey initiative aimed at increasing local honey production through tree plantation and generating more jobs and income.
This initiative will formulate a mechanism to ensure quality honey production and livelihoods for beekeepers. Plantation of several bee florae including Phulai, Kao, Ber, and Kikar will be encouraged under The Ten Billion Tree Tsunami Programme (TTBTTP), reported Radio Pakistan.
Despite hosting a variety of honey, Pakistan falls short when it comes to honey exports. The premier is hopeful that this initiative would open various employment opportunities for locals. “When local people see they will make money and earn income, they will protect forests more than anyone,” Khan said.
Imran Khan is a strong advocate for curbing climate change. This project is another addition to his ‘Clean and Green’ vision for Pakistan. “We have 12 climatic zones which are very unique; 12 different zones mean 12 different habitats so we can make honey of different varieties,” he added. “We want to leave a better and greener Pakistan for generations to come.”
Khan further assured that the government will be keeping a check on the production quality before approving it to be exported.
The Billion Tree Honey Programme will encourage Pakistan’s ability to produce 70,000 metric tonnes of honey annually, said Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Climate Change, Malik Amin Aslam. He further revealed that through proper training of beekeepers, the quality of Pakistan’s honey will be recognized internationally through quality certification and branding.
“It is estimated that about 10,000 bee-keepers are using 300,000 colonies for producing 12,000 metric tons of honey annually,” revealed Radio Pakistan. It further revealed that using modern techniques and beekeeping gears could enhance the production to 70,000 metric tons, which could potentially generate 87,000 green jobs and an income of 43 billion rupees.
In Imran Khan’s speech at the launch ceremony, he reiterated that his government has always aimed to reverse Pakistan’s environmental degradation and improve air pollution, forests, and rivers.
“We decided that one billion trees will be planted and we were made fun of,” said Khan. “Even now our opponents don’t admit that this can happen because no one has thought of this; no one has thought about what will happen beyond five years,” he added.
The premier also noted that Pakistan is the fifth most vulnerable country likely to be affected by climate change. It is imperative to think about future generations and their wellbeing instead of fixating on the next election, said Khan.