Pakistan’s tree-planting push has a sweetener: more honey

Sandra Loyd

LAHORE: When authorities began planting millions of trees in the Changa Manga Forest 5 years earlier, the concept was to revive life to forest land that had actually been ruined by unlawful logging, water shortage and fires.

Now that the trees have actually grown, they are having an even sweeter side- impact– assisting to enhance the regional bee population and honey production in the location.

As part of Pakistan’s efforts to balance out the effects of environment modification by restoring forests, saving soil and enhancing water management, 3.5 million trees were planted on 6,000 acres in Changa Manga, called among the world’s biggest manufactured forests, near the city of Lahore.

Beekeepers in the plantation stated they are now collecting as much as 70 percent more honey than prior to the greening project began in 2014, as the trees supply a environment for bees and produce conditions for a growing variety of flowers and plants.

“As more of the plantation has been created, our honey production has kept on increasing,” stated Bilal Hussain, a beekeeper in Changa Manga whose dad runs the forest’s honey operations.

“We will get even more income over the next four to five years,” Hussain stated excitedly, as he drawn out honey from a piece of honeycomb to load into bottles to cost his store.

The quantity of honey gathered by beekeepers in the 12,500- acre forest nearly doubled from 725 kilogrammes in the 2018-2019 to about 1,300 kg in 2019-2020, stated forest officer Shahid Tabassum.

And the quantity of sticky things coming out of Changa Manga is approximated to keep increasing to about 2,000 kg in the next , Tabassum added.

The old forest had 3 main types of trees, to which a minimum of 7 have actually been added, he kept in mind.

“The forest cover plays an important role in the increase of honey production because honeybees get shelter, shade and water from the trees,” he informed the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

Worldwide, there has been a extreme decline in bee numbers, mainly due to extensive farming, pesticide usage and environment modification, ecologists state.

A research study released in the journal Science in April discovered that the world’s population of land-dwelling pests is falling by nearly 1pc every year.


The increase in honey production is sweet relief for cash-strapped Pakistan, which got a $6 billion bailout plan from the International Monetary Fund in 2015.

The nation has seen a drop in its exports and foreign remittances considering that the start of the Covid-19 pandemic in March, according to independent economic expert Vaqar Ahmed.

He anticipates to see a even more decline in the money entering Pakistan as European and Gulf countries continue to battle with the financial results of the break out.

The Majority Of Pakistan’s remittances originate from Gulf states, while European Union countries are the main markets for its exports, he discussed.

Pakistan’s exports dropped from $201 bn in July-April 2019 to about $196 bn in the exact same duration this year, information from the State Bank of Pakistan shows.

However market specialists anticipate honey to buck that pattern.

In the financial year 2018-2019, Pakistan exported honey worth Rs966 m ($ 5.8 million), about Rs260 m more than the year prior to, according to the federal government’s Honeybee Research study Institute (HBRI) in Islamabad.

Figures for this year’s honey exports are not readily available.

However market experts anticipated they will keep increasing, as the nation’s beekeepers gain from the trees in Changa Manga in addition to Pakistan’s continuous push to reforest the nation under its “10 Billion Tree Tsunami” project, introduced in 2015.

Pakistan has 7,000 business beekeepers caring for more than one million beehives however has enough space for double that number, according to information from the HBRI.

And while planting trees broadens the environment for bees, the pollinators, in turn, aid to naturally restore more forest locations with a range of flowers, plants and trees, stated Noor Islam, the bee institute’s senior clinical officer.

“Honey production and forestry are interrelated because the honeybees get their food from trees, while trees, as a result, maintain their biodiversity,” he stated.


Malik Amin Aslam, the environment modification consultant to Prime Minister Imran Khan, stated that supporting the relationship in between bees and trees is a top priority for the 10 Billion Trees project.

He informed the Thomson Reuters Foundation that in numerous honey- producing locations the project is planting bee-friendly trees such as the native bari tree– likewise called ziziphus mauritiana or jujube.

The tree’s honey is searched for for its low glucose material, that makes it less most likely to crystallise, he stated.

However Syed Mahmood Nasir, head of the Islamabad-based Nature Clicks Organization, a non-profit concentrated on the environment and sociology, alerted that growing Pakistan’s honey market is not as basic as planting more trees.

Authorities need to be clear on whether they desire a replanted forest to produce farmed or wild honey, with each needing various management and resources, discussed Nasir, who was previously the federal government’s inspector-general of forests.

In any case, “they should ensure that no pesticides are used within at least 10 miles of the forest”, he added.

For Changa Manga beekeeper Hussain, Pakistan’s bee-boosting reforestation efforts make him positive he can continue the business his dad has been running for the last 45 years.

Hussain fondly remembered a youth invested enjoying his father extract honey directly from the beehives to provide to clients.

“My biggest motivation for this work is that my father has had a special affection for honey since he was a boy and he doesn’t want this fondness to end,” he stated.

“We will do it generation by generation. As long as the forest is there, honey is there.”

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