Honey production is common practice in a number of provinces in Afghanistan. Traditionally, indigenous species including Apis cerana and Apis dorsata have been used. During the 20th century the European bee Apis melifera was introduced and has since become widespread. The market for honey in Afghanistan is relatively small with much of the produce exported to Pakistan and India.
Mostly farmers sell honey at farm gate to households in the community or to contractors visiting from central and provincial markets. CARD-F is currently working in two provinces of Afghanistan on apiculture i.e. Badakhshan and Helmand provinces covering 6 districts in the target provinces. 150 bee farms are in Kishm and 75 bee farms are in Khash district of Badakhshan province. Each farmer in this district has been provided with 10 operational bee hives and 5 empty boxes. 50 farms are established in Helmand provinces. Each farmer has been provided with 5 full boxes; in each box 10 operational bee hives and 5 empty boxes. These apiculture packages also include the supporting toolkits for farm management, operations, extraction and packaging of bee products. Altogether 275 farmers directly engaged in the bee-keeping under the program. CARD-F ensures sufficient market and marketing facilitation support is provided to farmers in order to make its interventions commercially viable.
Under the apiculture components, CARD-f provides the following support to the target farmers;
Inputs: CARD-F is supporting honey value chain in 6 targeted districts of Badakhshan and Helmand provinces by providing the local farmers with bee hives, honey extraction and safety kits, trainings and market linkage facilities.
Establishment of farmers’ groups and associations: In order to organize and increase the bargaining power and lower the transaction costs, CARD-F has established farmers’ groups and associations.
Trainings: CARD-F Provides full training packages on technical and soft areas; this includes bee keeping management, hives multiplication, swarm capture, diseases control, winter management, the market and marketing concept, demand and supply and packaging techniques and best practices to increase market base for apiculture products i.e. honey and bi-products.
Production: CARD-F has distributed 275 packages of bee keeping to locals in targeted districts of Badakhshan and Helmand provinces, resulting massive yield of 22 tons honey in aggregate.
Processing: CARD-F provides beekeepers with honey extraction toolkit along with necessary guidelines and trainings. The kit contains, beekeepers suit, mesh helmet, smoker, gloves, extractor, etc.
Packaging: CARD-Fprovides packaging tools and basic packaging equipment’s such as glass jars, labeling and sealing materials.
Marketing: CARD-F provides market facilitation through exposure visits, market linkages, trade fairs and business to business meetings.
Marketplace: So far these 275 bee keeping farms have yielded 23 tons of pure honey, creating a net income of 213,574 USD.