PESHAWAR: Honey traders in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) said that honey industry in both Pakistan and Afghanistan has suffered after the Taliban takeover on 15 August.
They say that in the past honey was not only exported to Afghanistan in the winter, but Afghan traders would also invest in the honey business in Pakistan. But under the Taliban rule, the exports is halted while investors have stopped visiting Pakistani markets.
Sheikh Gul Badshah, deputy head of the Beekeepers’ Union, told the media that after the change in Afghanistan, some bee farms could not be brought back from Afghanistan which has affected the production. “Our beekeepers use to visit Afghanistan in June-July and return in September, but since August 15 farm owner is able to return. Besides, our honey production has dropped from 20 to 30 percent.”
According to the Honey Traders Association, there are between 15,000 and 20,000 bee farms in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.
Rahimullah, a Peshawar-based trader said that due to the uncertain economic situation in the neighboring country, they could not export honey, as a result, they are facing huge losses. “Since the end of Ashraf Ghani’s government, the business has been negatively affected because the supply and export routes are closed. Most of honey farms are stranded in Afghanistan.” Traders said that about 1.5 million people in KP and other parts of Afghanistan are involved are associated with honey business.
Rahimullah another trader said that they have purchased some 70 gallon honey in Badakhshan but due to the security and political chaos, they are unable to bring it to Pakistan. He said that they have to sell honey at 10,000 Afghanis as compared to the past when it was available at Rs18, 000 afghanis. He said that the number of buyers has reduced significantly.
According to the honey bee association, about 450 containers of honey, containing 20,000 kilograms of honey, are being exported from Peshawar to Arab countries and around 10 containers would be exported to Afghanistan in the past.