The Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation and Livestock (MAIL) on Tuesday said at an event to mark national “Honey Day” that production of the sweet substance has increased by 24 percent in the past year.
MAIL minister Nasir Ahmad Durani said Afghanistan produces over 2,000 tons of honey a year and that 6,500 people work in the sector.
Durani also said they will provide more facilities for beekeepers and urged them to produce high quality honey.
“Dear beekeepers if you do not keep the quality good then how can you have a domestic or international market; therefore my suggestion for you is to pay serious attention to the quality in order to not affect yourself nor the national economy,” said Durani.
A number of beekeepers from across the country attended Tuesday’s event in Kabul and said they need a solid market in which to sell their processed product. They said that because of this, they make very little money.
They also criticized MAIL for their apparent weak provincial departments, that they claimed do not cooperate with them.
They appealed to MAIL to provide them with technical support and to help market their honey.
“Fake honey or sugar honey from neighboring countries enters the domestic market at very cheap prices; no one uses pure honey, there is no diagnostic tests to differentiate between fake honey and real honey,” said Salahuddin, a beekeeper.
“Because we are new, if we are trained in the packaging and equipment section, it will be good for us to make better use of it,” Haji Mohammad, another beekeeper said.
The French cooperation office at the Ministry of Agriculture Irrigation and Livestock (FCOMAIL), that supports MAIL in the development of beekeeping projects, said a number of farmers put sugar in the honey adding that this is a challenge in terms of marketing the product.
“Today, bees are used to produce products such as honey, wax .... and so on, these products are known for being considered as valuable food and nutritional aids,” said Idris Rauf, the head of the FCOMAIL office.
MAIL minister meanwhile said although beekeeping is a new in the country, the achievements in the past few years has been very good.
According to MAIL statistics, Afghanistan has the capacity for one million bee hives, but currently there are only about 213,000 hives.