Billion Tree Honey project can generate great income, green jobs, and forest protection in Pakistan.
Pakistan ranks fifth on the list of countries which are being affected by climate change effects. So long-term planning is important for plantation and forest protection to ensure healthy living.
However, Pakistan is unique in terms of climatic zones; these zones provide diverse habitats for honey production.
Natural bee Honey is a sweet product made by honeybees by sucking the nectar of plants.
From long time, honey was an important source of carbohydrates and used as a sweetener.
Honey is a food suitable for humans of every age, On the account of the nutritional value (303 kcal/100 g honey) and fast absorption of its carbohydrate.
THERAPEUTIC PROPERTIES OF PLANTS HONEY
Because honey inherits plants properties, its color, aroma, flavor, density, physical and chemical properties depend on the flowers used by bees, although, weather conditions as well as processing also influences its composition and properties. As a result, the nutritional values and profiles vary accordingly and can thus influence the value of a specific honey for health promoting purposes.a
Honey is beneficial due to its antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory and antioxidant activities as well as boosting of the immune system. Various plant species are important to produce honey.
Acacia honey is derived from the nectar of the Robinia pseudoacacia flower, commonly known Rubina Honey. It has a flower-like aroma and sweet, delicate flavor.
Acacia honey remains liquid longer and crystallizes much slower than traditional honey. This is likely due to its higher fructose content.
Acacia honey supplies many important antioxidants, which may protect our body cells against damage caused by free radicals. So we can stay safe from many diseases as these free radicals cause diseases. Flavonoids are the main type of antioxidants in acacia honey. A diet high in flavonoids may reduce the risk of heart disease and certain types of cancer (lung cell cancer).
So, Acacia honey also contains Beta-Carotene. Eating beta-carotene-rich foods help in the improvement of brain function and skin health. Many of acacia honey’s healing abilities are due to its antibacterial activity. Thus, The honey contains components needed to produce and slowly release small amounts of hydrogen peroxide. But, Hydrogen peroxide is a type of acid that kills bacteria by breaking down their cell walls. Acacia honey is also effective against many types of bacteria and especially, two types of antibiotic-resistant bacteria.
Likely, Honey from Berries have the highest content of phenolic acid, Anthocyanin and Antioxidant thus, good for the eyes, fight against colon cancer and have cardiovascular benefits. Similarly, Raspberry honey remove fatigue, nervous tension and has beneficial effects on entire human body.
Likewise, Blueberry honey contains high levels of antioxidants; which help in the protection of body organs from oxygen free radicals, blueberry and buckwheat have the highest levels of flavonoids for immune and anti-inflammatory benefits. It’s like combining two super foods into one.
The honey also contains many other beneficial vitamins and minerals, such as vitamins B1, B2, B3, B5 and B6, iron, calcium, and manganese. And also, Blackberries offer many health benefits, including vitamins and minerals like C, K, and manganese.
Cranberry honey is a great source of natural antioxidants. It is can be used for urinary infections, digestive and respiratory conditions. (Berries Unlimited. http://www.berriesunlimited.com)
Oak and Cactus honey
Oak trees are considered best for the honeybees. There are dozens of different varieties of oaks. Russian oak trees are loved by honeybees.
Moreover, oak honey is very useful source of calcium. Two tablespoons of oak honey contain 274 mg of calcium. It is also good for urinary issues, prostate infections in men, digestion, purifying tonic, strengthens the liver and is an effective treatment for hemorrhoids. So, The oak honey is also known for its antibacterial and antiseptic remedies.
Cactus Honey is a rare and pure honey. Cactuses plants can grow in the absence of water. So, they can grow in arid and semi-arid lands. Its honey is anti-ageing, Boosts the immune system; Protects the gum health and improve eyesight.
Billion Tree Honey Project
Prime Minister of Pakistan Imran Khan launched the ‘Billion Tree Honey Initiative’ in December 2020 to increase the production of honey through the plantation of trees.
This project will expand the quality of honey and create jobs for beekeepers.
Under this plan, Plantation of different species of plants such as Berry, Cactus, Oak, Phalai and Acacia will be encouraged. Total 5.5 million hectares of land will be used for plantation of these plants
Billion Tree Honey Programme will improve the country’s potential to produce 70,000 metric tons of honey in a year.
Under the initiative, beekeepers will be trained and the value of the country’s honey will be increased in the international market through proper branding and quality certification.
It is concluded that marketing of 70,000 metric tons of honey will generate an income of around 43 billion PKR., in the national economy and provide about 87,000 green jobs in Pakistan.
Thus, legislative, and regulatory interventions should aim at encouraging adequate practices to get advantage from this initiative.
Authors: Dr. Maria Naqve, Dr. Muhammad Anjum Zia, and Dr. Athar Mahmood, University of Agriculture Faisalabad