The Billion Tree Project in Pakistan Is Helping Bees and Beekeepers
The Billion Tree Tsunami Project (BTTP) was launched in 2014 and planted 3.2 million plants across huge tracts of barren and deserted land, converting it into a vital green landscape. Between 2014 and 2019, one billion plants were planted in the province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP). The result is Garhi Chandan, a man-made forest. Trees and plants have grown up in that forest as well as in other areas covered by the BTTP.
The result is that beekeepers from Peshawar, who used to have to travel along with their hives lengthy distances to places like Azad Kashmir, Sargodha, and Chakwal to collect honey, are having a much easier time now. The new forest is providing beekeepers and their bees with abundant flora within the periphery of their home district. This is helping to increase honey production across the country in general. Another benefit to beekeepers is that their expenses have dropped considerably since they no longer must travel so long and so far away.
This 3:06-minute video by CGTN Global Watch gives an oversight of the project:
The PTI government of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) launched BTTP as an emergency response to global warming due to climate changes. The project was so extremely successful that the federal government has extended the project to cover the entire country and is calling it the Ten Billion Tree Tsunami. KP will receive approximately another one billion trees.
The BTTP specifically planted flora species that are rewarding beekeepers now that the fruits are maturing as well as those in the floral business. For instance, according to Rashid Hussain, 40% of the plants that ware planted were Acasia Modista (Palosa) which flowers in March, April, and May. Palosa honey is the most popular honey in the country due to its flavor and affordability. Other plants that were planted are Acasia Nitolitica (Kiker), Berries, Shesham, and Eucalyptus.
Now more beekeepers with their bees are starting to arrive at Garhi Chandan Forest to make honey. This forest is having many positive impacts on the community and the environment. Earning opportunities for beekeepers, and people who collect medicinal plants and flowers is growing. Honey production has risen already. Of the 20,000 beekeepers in the country, 98% of them live in KP, which means the forest has helped almost the entire beekeeping sector.
The next area of interest will be to train beekeepers to extract the other bee products such as royal jelly, beeswax, pollen and propolis, which will further increase local incomes as these can be lucrative export items.
We blogged about this project a while back, you can read about it here.
The future looks bright for beekeeping and economic wellbeing in the KP area of Pakistan. More trees will be planted, and improvements will be made in honey collecting procedures by scientific research and training of beekeepers by experts.
All this good news around beekeeping tells us one thing for sure. The honeybees in the KP area of Pakistan are happy, healthy, and productive bees.
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