ISLAMABAD, Nov 21 (APP): The Billion Tree Honey project under the massive afforestation Ten Billion Tree Tsunami Plantation (TBTTP) initiative will help boost the untapped apiculture potential of the country to fetch Rs 25 billion revenue and generate 87,000 green jobs for unemployed youth.
The pilot phase of the Billion Tree Honey (BTH) was launched in March, 2021 and concluded successfully after six months. Under the government’s flagship TBTTP project, the focus was laid on improving existing honey farming and beekeeping or apiculture practices on scientific terms for enhanced honey production to benefit from the increasing forest cover under the massive afforestation efforts, a senior official of the Ministry of Climate Change told APP.
The BTH pilot phase objectives were improvement in production capacity, quality and earnings of selected beekeepers, training of 35 beekeepers and follow up services up till honey harvest and organizing the Apiculture chain-specific networks to collaborate with BTH.
He said the country’s existing honey harvest potential was 7,500 metric tons per annum being produced by some 10,000 beekeepers using 300,000 colonies.
It could be enhanced to 70, 000 metric tons of honey produced from the same harvest by using modern bee keeping gears, latest techniques, standardization /certification of the product and intensive marketing, he added.
He said as per the estimates the marketing of 70,000 metric tons of honey would generate an income of around Rs 20-25 billion and generate some 87,000 green jobs.
During the pilot phase, unemployed youth and former beekeepers were targeted for training on latest beekeeping technologies and methods initially. However, the list of former beekeepers and unemployed youth was provided by the divisional forest officers (DFOs) of selected areas, and on the basis of that information, five most suitable persons were selected at each location.
The seven pilot locations for hive placement included Scrub Forest Jhelum, Mianwali plantation, Bhakkar plantation, Ban, Dino Park, PM House, President House, and Bani Gala Islamabad.
The BTH official informed that the selected beneficiaries were provided on hand trainings at each location for colony management, and five modern hives along with bees were shifted at each location.
He added that the TBTTP program has become the identity of the country at global level that helped promote unique environment-friendly entrepreneurship for unemployed women and youth of the rural areas, he added.
The country’s largest-ever tree plantation initiative helped generate some 85,000 green jobs during the pressing times of Covid-19 pandemic that helped provide livelihoods to Covid-idled youth including women which was an achievement.