Ten Billion Tree Forest and Honey Initiative
Few countries have 12 unique climate zones with 12 different natural habitats.
Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan sees this climate zone diversity as an excellent opportunity to produce many different varieties of honey.
The Prime Minister launched Plant for Pakistan (Plant4Pakistan) or 10 Billion Tree Tsunami Initiative at a ceremony in Islamabad. This five-year project is a cornerstone of his broader vision, Clean and Green Pakistan and will create a greener Pakistan for future generations.
Pakistan’s Ten Billion Tree Plan is aimed at encouraging honey production throughout the country, according to Malik Amin Aslam, the Special Assistant on Climate Change to Prime Minister Imran Khan.
There are currently about 10,000 beekeepers in the country with 300,000 bee colonies, and they produce about 7,500 metric tons of honey annually. There are several exotic types of honey in the country, including wild olive, Rubinia, Shesham, and many more.
The Prime Minister believes that production can be enhanced to 70,000 metric tons of honey from the same harvest by improved training on the newest techniques, using modern beekeeping gear, standardization and certification of the products coupled with intense marketing.
This will be a huge boost for the country’s economy, creating approximately 87,000 green jobs for locals and income between Rs35-43 billion. The population of the country is 220 million. As more people realize they can earn money from the forests in this way, they will develop more respect for forests and protect them.
This 2:20-minute video shows how Pakistan has hired people who are unemployed due to Covid-19 to work on the tree-planting project:
The Ten Billion Tree Plan is restoring Pakistan’s lost forests. In phase one 3.3 billion trees are being planted. All 10 billion trees will be planted by 2023. In a country with one of the lowest levels of forest covering, this green reforestation revolution will ultimately cover approximately 5.5 million hectares, a cause for celebration for the future.
This drought-ravaged country is planting trees that need little water. The neem tree, azadirachta indica, is a fast-growing mahogany that doesn’t need to be watered after the first five years. Other species that are being planted in Pakistan only need watering for the first few months.
Although there is a wide variety of honey produced, Pakistan has fallen short when it comes to exporting it. Honey production is part of the plan so plantations of saplings such as Kao, Ber, Kikar, Phulai, acacia, moringa, mulberry and indigenous bee flora are planned. Other potential trees are olive and avocado, which could also create an edible oil export market since both olive oil and avocado oil are popular globally, while helping to cut down on imported edible oils.
This 2:40-minute video by Naya Pakistan TV shows the 10 Billion Tree Tsunami unfolding and how it will help avert natural disasters:
Training and technical support will be provided to selected beekeepers by the National Vocational and Technical Training Commission, and the honey produced under the program will be certified by The Ministry of Science and Technology. Certified beekeepers will receive financial support.
One option regarding certified quality honey products is that they will be purchased by a public limited company, the National Agriculture Technology Park (NATP), and then branded and marketed as “Billion Tree Honey,” providing an end-to-end solution encompassing marketing and promotion nationally and internationally.
This could be an excellent model for other arid countries to follow, reclaiming their land, forests and creating a honey-producing economy that brings prosperity to the people.
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