Prime Minister Imran Khan has formally launched Billion Tree Honey Initiative to promoting tree plantation and honey production in the country under Ten Billion Tree Tsunami Programme.
Addressing the launching ceremony in Islamabad today (Monday), he said the TBTTP will help control environmental degradation, including enhancing forest cover, cleaning rivers and protecting ground water from pollution, and checking air pollution. He said it is responsibility of his government to hand over a clean Pakistan to younger generations.
The Prime Minister said Billion Tree Honey Initiative will also help improve environment, enhance exports, and create job opportunities for the youth. He said this initiative will benefit the local population of areas, where these forests will be grown.
Imran Khan said Pakistan has great potential for growing olive and avocado trees. He said by Olive plantation, we can be able to export olive oil and avoid import of edible oil. He said Avocado is full of nutrition and Pakistan's soil is very much suitable for its plantation. Imran Khan said that he has planted Olive and Avocado trees in his home garden.
Earlier, speaking on the occasion Minister of State for Climate Change Zartaj Gul said TBTTP created around 84 thousand jobs in the country while its scope will be enhanced in coming days.
The Minister of State said to achieve desired objectives of the initiative efforts are being made to ensure effective monitoring, reporting and verification of the program at all levels.
Prime Minister's Special Assistant on Climate Change Malik Amin Aslam said Billion Tree Honey program will help enhancing the country's potential to produce 70,000 metric tons of honey in a year.
He said under the program Bee Keepers will be trained and through proper branding and ensuring quality certification the value of country's honey will be increased in international market.
A Memorandum of Understanding was also signed among various organizations to promote bee-keeping and tree plantation in the country.
Accordingly to the Billion Tree Honey Initiative, plantation of plants including Kao, Phulai, Ber, Kikar and other bee flora is being encouraged under TBTTP. A mechanism has been devised for encouraging promotion of bee flora, improving quality of honey production, providing livelihood to the bee keepers and sustain the activity through provision of financial resources.
It is estimated that about 10,000 bee keepers are using 300,000 colonies for producing 7,500 metric tons of honey annually. The potential can be enhanced to produce 70,000 metric tons of honey from the same harvest by using modern bee keeping gears, training on latest techniques, standardization and certification of the product and intensive marketing. It is anticipated that marketing of 70,000 metric tons of honey will generate an income of around 43 billion rupees in the national economy and provide about 87,000 green jobs.
The existing forestry resource available in the Protected Areas and the new areas being planted and regenerated under TBTTP till 2022-23 is estimated to expand upto about 5.5 million hectares. The requisite forest resource shall be used by the bee keepers to produce honey specific to particular flora and shall be branded accordingly. The National Vocational and Technical Training Commission
shall provide training to the selected beekeepers along with technical support, follow-up of on-ground activities and product extraction. The certified bee keepers shall be provided financial support through Kamyab Jawan Programme. The Ministry of Science and Technology shall be responsible for certifying the honey produced under the programme. As an option the certified product, shall be purchased by the National Agriculture Technology Park, branded and marketed as 'Billion Tree Honey.'
NAP shall provide an end to end solution for promoting and marketing quality honey nationally and internationally. A pilot testing of the programme shall be initiated at selected sites during the upcoming Spring Season.