Certificated Pakistani honey to triple its value
"Our honey is sold for merely USD 20 or USD 25 per kilogram, but the price can rise to USD 100 per kilogram when it is packaged at other countries. The situation will improve if we can establish labs and certification systems and implement management and supervision policies." Dr. Muhammad Azeem Khan, Chairman of Pakistan Agricultural Research Council (PARC), expressed the urgency of upgrading the Pakistani honey industry.
Following a report on the China-Pakistan cooperation potential to boost honey production in Pakistan, China Economic Net released the second report of the China-Pakistan honey cooperation to explore Pakistani honey prices.
Various kinds of honey at Tarnab Honey Market in Peshawar, Pakistan. (Photo/ China Economic Net)
OEM Service Floated Terminal Prices
“Due to quarantine, the Pakistani honey has to undergo OEM service in Arab countries before exported to Europe and the US.” said Zohaib, a Pakistani honey distributor. According to the National Bank of Pakistan, Pakistan exported 6.351 million US dollars of natural honey from July to November 2020, most of which were exported to Saudi Arabia, reaching 4.275 million tons and accounting for 67% of Pakistan's total honey exports.
Export-oriented Pakistani jujube honey (Photo/ China Economic Net)
The lack of honey detection technology will also take a toll on Pakistani beekeepers. “Beekeepers do not have honey testing kits, and Pakistan does not have a laboratory that issues honey testing certificates. When beekeepers export uncertified honey, they may face losses such as seizure.” said Nasreen Muzaffar.
Ending the OED service and enhancing product value have become tough and urgent issues.
Honey Laboratory: Potential China-Pakistan Partnership
The Pakistani industry has been unanimous in establishing a large-scale honey laboratory with an international certification for honey testing and certification. “The NARC is trying to establish an international certification similar to the ISO. Once our honey is certified, it can be exported to high-end markets such as Europe." added Dr Muhammad Azeem Khan.
Nasreen Muzaffar said, "Pakistani honey is cheaper and tastes better than New Zealand’s honey, but the latter’s certification has been recognized by 4 international companies. If we work to establish an internationally recognized modern laboratory, our honey will be among the best."
"China boasts a refined certification system and laboratory infrastructure. Pakistan can establish joint ventures with Chinese companies to promote the implementation of Pakistani honey laboratories as soon as possible. Our current honey production arrives at 20,000 tons and it could be even higher if the export certification is passed." said Dr. Muhammad Azeem Khan.
Honey Processing Plants: China Willing to Share Technologies
Another way to upgrade Pakistan's honey industry is to establish large-scale honey processing plants. "Although the Pakistani has a large honey market with many varieties, the honey production still follows the most traditional method. China and Germany have already adopted advanced filtration technology and packaging, so why don't we cooperate with China?" suggested Naeem Qasimi.
Packaging of Pakistani honey. (Photo/ China Economic Net)
The honey processing technology is said to feature the honey raw material processing, including honey filtration, sterilization, and temperature control. China is the world's largest producer and exporter of honey. Mr Li Dingshun, Chairman of Beijing Aojinda Bee Products Cooperative, illustrated multibox beekeeping to the reporter. "The honey collected by bees is full in the hive, but it is high in moisture. So we remove the moisture by a honey dryer, in which the honey is put on the upper chamber and the empty container on the lower chamber. This technology is very mature and is recognized by our customers."
Automatic honey production line. (Photo/ Provided by Beijing Aojinda Bee Products Cooperative)
"We are very willing to provide honey production and processing technology if Pakistan needs it." he said.
In addition, China also has a demand for bee product imports such as propolis. "China's propolis production is too low to satisfy the domestic market demand. We have to export propolis from Brazil, Turkey, and Iran each year. If Pakistan's beekeeping industry can develop rapidly with government support, the raw materials of Pakistani propolis will be very attractive to the Chinese market in the future.” commented Yang Rong, president of the China Bee Products Association. (Written by Chen Jiaqi, Shi Yu, Guo Caiping, Translated by Xiong Weisheng)
Muhammad Waseem, Usman Umer, and Ji Jing also contributed to the article. The Pakistani honey photos were taken by Liaqat Mayo, Jawad Ahmad, Nadeem Ashraf, Muhammad Ashraf, and Babar Shahzad.