Beekeeping, a profitable business in Azad Kashmir. The demand of Pakistani honey is always on the rise in Gulf states, particularly Saudi Arabia and UAE due to its better quality and low sugar contents. The three essential principles for the success of an industry viz., availability of raw material, skilled labour and consumer demand of the product are fully met within the Azad Kashmir. Kashmir particularly is known for its floral gaieties where numerous varieties are cultivated and wild plants bloom from early spring till late fall. This provides sufficient raw material (nectar and pollen) to the honey bees, for the production of honey and bees wax for commercial purposes. This industry is of considerable national importance. It provides gainful employment to the thousands of rural families and can provide extra income to unemployed youth. It does not compete with agriculture but is complimentary to it. It does not require costly equipment tools. Tools used in this industry are fabricated locally and are within the reach of common man with little financial support.
HONEYBEES are social insects that live in hives and feed on pollen and nectar. Bees carry pollen thus enabling plants to produce seeds. Honeybees travel as far as 55,000 miles and visit more than two million flowers to gather enough nectar to make a pound of honey. The insects perform several ecological and economic functions without competing for scarce land resources. The best time for beekeeping is from October to November and in the spring season. Pakistan is now able to export prime quality produce at competitive price. Around 240,000 colonies of honeybee are available in all the four provinces and Azad Kashmir. The yield of honey per colony has increased from 4kg to 21kg, while the total production has increased from 250 tons to 2,500 tons. Honey production is a profitable business. The NWFP produces some of the world’s best quality honey.
In the Northern Areas and the NWFP there are over 6,000 honey colonies. The NWFP region is a focal point in the origin and evolution of honeybees. Honey is taken as medicine, food or as an ingredient in various food recipes. It is an excellent medium for vitamins and contains all vitamins necessary for health. It is composed of sugars fructose and glucose by providing the calories. Honey improves food assimilation and is useful in intestinal problems such as constipation, duodenal ulcers and liver disturbances. It is a remedy for cold, mouth, throat or bronchial irritations and infections. Honey is also used in moisturizing and nourishing cosmetic creams and is directly applied on wounds, sores, bedsores, ulcers, varicose ulcers and burns.