Apiculture, honey production significantly grow in Kandahar
KANDAHAR CITY (Pajhwok): Beekeeping has significantly increased in southern Kandahar provinceduring the current solar year,when farmers collected 8,000 kilograms of honey.
In the past, beekeeping in Kandahar had been a relatively new type of farming. But 14 bee farms are currently functioning across the province.
Abdul Bari, a resident of Dand district, had only two bee boxes in the not-so-distant past, but now he owns 104 and is making a handsome income from apiculture.
In an exclusive interview with Pajhwok Afghan News, he recalled his brotherwas suffering from some disease and doctors suggested him to consume pure honey.
“Doctors told me my brother could be treated with pure honey. Thus I started the business with two bee boxes and gradually collected honey that healed my brother,” he said.
He decided to continue producing honey and increased the number of bee boxes to 104. Despite the absence of government support, his business grew. The climate in Kandahar is ideal for beekeeping.
“I collect 60 kilograms of honey every year and sell it in the local market. Part of the harvest is sent to other provinces as well,” he added.
Another hiver from Dand district, Hamidullah, has 400 bee boxes -- the highest number of boxes owned by a beemaster at the provincial level.
He was provided only technical guidelines by the agriculture department. He confirmed there were only a handful of honeybee farms in Kandahar some few years ago. But now their number has gone up along with honey yield.
In the past, traders imported honey from Pakistan and Iran but the product was not trusted as pure. Kandahar is now self-sufficient and produces seven varieties of honey.
As international aid is gradually dwindling, Hamidullah asked the government to ban honey imports to help the Afghansboost their business and incomes from beekeeping.
Mohammad Ibrahim, a beekeeper from Arghandab district, has 40 bee boxes. He urged the authorities concerned to provide them with honey export facilities.
Many farmers use imported plastic boxes,in which they keep bees. “If these boxes are built inside Afghanistan I think, our honey yield will fetch more income,” he believed.
Lack of facilities,little government support and some bee infections are among the key problems facing the Kandahar apiarists.
Eng. Mohammadullah Noori, an agriculture department official who has a farm, said they provided only technical help to farmers on how to keep bees.
He added 14 honeybee farms registered with the departmentproduced 8,000 kilograms of honey, showing a 100 percent increase. The department has also set up a farm at Kandahar University.
Noori called Kandahar’s climatesuitable for beekeeping. Bees feedon different flowers, including almond and apricot. But basil flowers are known to give a six-time higher honey yield.
At the moment, seven types of honey -- acacia, orange, basil, cedar and some other flowers -- are available in Kandahar. A kilogram of honey costsabout 600 afghanis.
He confirmed some diseases were killing honeybees but farmers used different ways of treating them.Noori explained the use of Ampiclox syrup to cure an ailment yielded positive results.
Kandahar can produce a high amount of honey for export if more bee farms were set up in the province and the government providedmore facilities to farmers, he suggested.
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