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FEATURE STORY

Local Honey Finds Its Place in the Domestic Market

May 11, 2015

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Season Corporation oversees production from 400 of its own hives, and also buys honey from 300 independent beekeepers in Nangarhar Province.

Rumi Consultancy/World Bank

Story Highlights
  • Afghan beekeepers are finally getting recognition within Afghanistan for the high quality honey they produce.
  • Helped by the Afghanistan Rural Enterprise Development Program (AREDP), honey producers are able to process and properly package honey and offer their products locally at reasonable prices.
  • AREDP, supported by the World Bank and Afghanistan Reconstruction Trust Fund, provides technical support to rural enterprise groups and small and medium enterprises.

JALALABAD CITY, Nangarhar Province – Despite a long history of beekeeping and honey production, Afghanistan’s eastern provinces have only recently received recognition for their honey production. With support from the Afghanistan Rural Enterprise Development Program (AREDP), Afghan beekeepers are now getting credit for their honey within Afghanistan.

According to beekeepers in Nangarhar, they would, in the past, collect honey from the hives and then ship it to neighboring Pakistan for processing, i.e., to purify and bottle the honey and, often, the shipments ended up in Pakistani markets.

“Most of the honey was transported to Pakistan and sold at a very low price,” says Ashuqullah, 36, the director of Season Corporation, the only company to produce, purify and package honey in Nangarhar Province.

Season Corporation is based in Jalalabad city, the provincial capital, and has branches in Herat, Kabul, and Mazar-e-Sharif cities. “During the first year or two, our operations were uncoordinated and we had no knowledge of how to run a business,” Ashuqullah says. “The AREDP supported us and provided us with exposure visits to India, where we learned how to produce, process, and properly package honey. This was the starting point, where we learned the importance of this business and how to run it effectively.”

Started in 2010, AREDP works towards strengthening market linkages and value chains for rural enterprises by providing technical support to 1,400 Enterprise Groups (63 percent female) and over 500 (14 percent female) Small Medium Enterprises that have been selected for their potential as key drivers of rural employment and income generation.  

AREDP, implemented by the Ministry of Rural Rehabilitation and Development and supported by the World Bank and Afghanistan Reconstruction Trust Fund (ARTF), also seeks to enhance economic mobilization and activities by organizing the rural poor into Savings Groups, Village Savings & Loan Associations and Enterprise Groups. 


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Afghan bee keeper

Rumi Consultancy/ World Bank

" “The AREDP supported us and provided us with exposure visits to India, where we learned how to produce, process, and properly package honey.”  "

Ashuqullah

Director, Season Corporation

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Through exposure visits to India, Afghan bee keepers have learned how to produce, process, and properly package honey.

Rumi Consultancy/ World Bank

Products showcased at rural exhibitions

Season Corporation oversees production from 400 of its own hives, and also buys honey from 300 independent beekeepers in Nangarhar Province. Each beehive contains between 35,000 and 50,000 honeybees, which produce approximately 10 kilograms of honey each year.

“Independent beekeepers bring hundreds of hives full of honey to us. We then process these hives and send them to market,” explains Ashuqullah. “The market has recently improved, and honey is no longer exported to Pakistan for processing.”

The AREDP has not only supported the company through training, but has also helped to showcase their products in rural industry exhibitions. “Through the exhibitions, we have the chance to introduce our products and increase our popularity across the country,” Ashuqullah points out.

With the help of the AREDP, Season Corporation’s income has increased by 30 percent, and it has been able to expand and hire more workers, according to Ashuqullah. Currently, 12 people work with Season Corporation in Jalalabad, all of whom are trained to deal with issues in honey production.

Khurshid, 20, is a recent recruit to the corporation. He has never been to school, but underwent training at the company before beginning his job in honey purification. He receives a monthly salary of about $200. “The work load has increased since I came to Season Corporation a year ago,” Khurshid says. “On a daily basis I purify and then process about 700 to 800 kilograms of honey.

Customer Zabiullah, 23, praises this brand of honey as he purchases a kilogram from a city shop. “Pure honey with this quality and price, it is great,” he says. “My family always buys this honey, and it is a pleasure to be able to use our own products, made within Afghanistan.”


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