Honeybees Being Lost to Climate Changes in Pakistan
The remote Pallas Valley in Kohistan is beautiful and filled with rich flora, which makes the perfect home for honey bees. The honey that is harvested by locals in this area provide a livelihood for many people in the local community. While this seems like a very sustainable operation, the production of honey has dropped quickly over the last few years, this according to a post on Eco-Business.com.
One of the reasons being cited for the decline in honey production is the increased deforestation of the area. Local beekeeper Abdullah has expressed that he has seen the forested areas shrink right before his eyes. “In my experience,” Abdullah said, “the tree from which I collected honey one year was not there the next year. This happened over the last ten-fifteen years and during the same time my collection of honey reduced every year.” Even though deforestation may be the reason for decreased honey production, the unseasonable rains that have occurred over the last few years have destroyed it.
The increased rain has killed a number of flora blossoms that the honeybees use to collect nectar in order to make their honey. This means that even those who raise honeybees at home, such as beekeeper Surbland Qureshi, have seen their own honey productions decrease as well. “A few years back,” he said, “during the honey season I found my all my boxes full of honey and would get 80 to 120 kilograms of honey, but this year I found just 5 kgs honey from one box and other was empty.”
With the production of honey on the decline, it is not surprise that the price of honey has soared in the country. Wild honey is usually available between PKR 1,400 to 1,600 a kilo but is now selling for prices between PKR 2,200 to 2,600. Those home farm honey producers used to sell their products between PKR 800 to 1,200 per kilo and can now fetch prices between PKR 1,400 to 1,800 per kilo. A project director at the NGO Hashoo Foundation Pakistan confirms that honey production in the region has dropped by almost 40 percent which indicated that major changes in the environment have happened.
These observations closely correlate with the work that experts have been doing to prove that changes in biodiversity and habitat, paired with the increased use of chemical and pesticides have led to the quick decline in honeybee populations in the Hindu Kush Himalayan Region of the country.