A taste apart, Bamyan’s honey in great demand
BAMYAN CITY (Pajhwok): More than 11 tonnes of honey worth nine million afghanis has been produced this year in central Bamyan, officials said on Wednesday.
The beekeepers from the capital of the province, Kahmard, Punjab, Shebar and Waras districts have their own association and a cooperative society.
He said 11,300 kilograms of honey was produced this year, with one kilogram accounting for 700 to 1,000 afghanis based on quality.
By a conservative estimate, he reckoned, an amount of more than nine million afghanis was earned from honey sales.
Attayee did not have a specific figures for honey production in Bamyan in 2014 because no cooperative society existed at that time. But he claimed the yield has almost doubled this year.
“Apiculture is a business that can help promote fruit production,” he argued, besides creating work opportunities for a large number of people, particularly women.
Khadija, a resident of the Fuladi area on the outskirts of Bamyan City, said: “Beekeeping doesn’t require much hard work; we have placed honeycombs near our home for bees.”
A mother of five, she purchased three honeycombs three years ago. However, the number of honeycombs has now risen to 18. This year she earned 80,000 afghanis.
Khadija put the price of one honeycomb at 5,000 afghanis, housing up to 60,000 bees. She sells most of her honey to local people and thereby ekes out an honourable living.
Zarin Gul, another beekeeper, received three honeycombs from a social development organisation last year. Her bees produced 26 kilograms of honey this year.
“I have decided to buy more honeycombs with my personal money in a bid to boost my income from beekeeping,” she said.
Mohammad Amin Zamani, head of Koh-i-Baba beekeeping farm, said: “The honey of Hazarajat area is very tasty and aromatic. Bees there feed on wild flowers.”
He claimed the quality of Bamyan’s honey was much better than the imported varieties and hence rising demand for it. Its sale has witnessed a considerable increase in recent years.
Honey is also imported from Iran and Pakistan. One kilogram of Pakistani honey costs 300 afghanis and the same quantity of the Iranian variety 450 afghanis.
But locally-produced honey, despite its higher price, is preferred by residents due to its quality and taste.
Rustam Ali, the administrative chief of Panjab district, said his town stood second in producing honey in Bamyan. The number of women in the beekeeping business is higher than men in the district.
“I am employing all available resources to encourage people to join the business and improve their incomes,” he added.
Kahmard is the largest honey-producing district, where 67 men and women are helped by the Agha Khan Development Network (AKDN) in beekeeping in Kahmard district.
Officials say the Society Development Organisation has distributed honeycombs to dozens of women free of cost.