Despite untrained operators, beehives thriving in Ghor
FEROZKOH (Pajhwok): The number of beekeeping farmers has more than doubled and quality of the honey produced in western Ghor province has improved, an official and residents say.
“About three years ago, there were a fewer number of beekeepers in Ghor, but currently they are in hundreds. Beekeeping is a profitable and job-creating business,” said the acting Agriculture, Irrigation and Livestock director.
Juma Khan Bakhtari told Pajhwok Afghan News on Wednesday that people’s interest in beekeeping had increased due to a high yield.
They distributed 150 beehives to farmers in Saghar, Tolak, Dawlatyar and Ferozkoh districts three years ago when a box cost 10,000 afghanis, he said. “Now the number of beehives has reached almost 4000.”
He said Ghor was a mountainous province and that was why the quality of honey was much better than that of imported honey or brought from other provinces.
Each beehive produced 15 to 20 kilograms of honey a year and this year’s production was 7.2 tonnes in total, he said.
He added some people in the provincial capital and Dawlatyar district had purchased beehives from Sang Takht district of neighboring Daikundi province and had started the profession.
A shopkeeper in Ferozkoh, Mohammad Khan, said he sold a kilo of Iranian honey for 600afs and the same quantity of local variety for 1200 afghanis due to its high quality and taste.
“Although the production can’t meet the demand, honey from Saghar district is sold as soon as it arrives to the market,” he said, adding government officials and friends used to order shopkeepers to save honey for them.
“The honey produced in our own province is pure and the honey imported from other countries is mixed with sugar,” Mohammad Wali, who purchased four kilos of honey from a shopkeeper, said.
Beekeepers say they are happy with their profession. Abdul Ghafoor, who purchased a beehive last year to produce honey for own consumption, said now the hives had increased to three.
“Keeping bees in winter is not a simple work. If the government trains beekeepers, it will help promote the beekeeping culture,” he said.
Another resident of Puzalech area on the outskirts of Ferozkoh, Abdul Ghafar, 47, started beekeeping three years ago.
Though happy with his job, he said they also faced some challenges like unfamiliarity with diseases in honeybees and not having a standard beekeeping system, leading to deaths among bees in winter. He asked the government to support farmers to properly run their profession.
The agriculture director said in addition to conducting training sessions for beekeepers, they would also distribute beehives farmers to improve the culture.
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