PESHAWAR: The Honey Processing and Packaging Common Facility Centre (CFC) established in Mingora under the federal government-funded Public Sector Development Programme has formally began function to process 2000kg honey daily and generate revenue for the national kitty.
The Rs38.17 million project is sponsored by the industry and production ministry and executed by the Small and Medium Enterprises Development Authority, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. The executing agency will also be responsible for the project’s ownership and management.
CFC project director Mohammad Ishfaq Afridi told reporters here the establishment of the modern honey processing plant was proposed by Smeda on the basis of honeybee cluster studies and analysis to facilitate the production of refined high quality honey that could be utilised for bulk consumption in the pharmaceutical, cosmetics or food processing industry or can be sold in the lucrative international market.
He said the plant had sophisticated equipment with adequate capability to process apiary as well as forest honey on a large scale.
Facility to process 2000kg honey daily, or about 1.5 million pounds a year.
“The CFC established on one kanal land has collection centre, processing zone, bottling and packing unit and a warehouse. Established in coordination with the All Pakistan Honey Beekeepers Traders and Exporters Association, it will provide facility of modern processing at Rs6 per kg and packaging at Rs3 per kg to local stakeholders,” he said.
Mr Afridi also said the revenue generated by the project would directly be deposited to the treasury account of the federal government.
“The centre has the capacity to process around 2000kg honey in eight hours shift daily and pack 1500-2000 bottles (1kg) on daily basis. It will also be operated and maintained by staff hired for the purpose with institutional support, monitoring and implementation of Smeda through project manager and his staff,” he said.
The CFC project director said the objectives of the initiative was to provide proper honey extracting, processing facilities, honey cleaning and packing facilities to the honey bee farmers, honey traders and honey exporters at their door steps.
He said the project would also support to add value through better bottling and packing, improve quality of the product through state of the art technology, increase profitability through lower transportation costs and to open up new markets and increase export of honey by providing the international standard facility to the cluster stakeholders.
“This facility will play a vital role in the development of honey bee cluster in Mingora, which due to natural beauty and pleasant climate is famous for tourism across the globe,” he said.
Mr Afridi said tourists used to come and spend their seasonal vacations in pleasant and natural environment and natural honey of Swat is a famous gift for the tourists because of its natural taste and purity.
“It will enhance the productivity, quality and branding of honey and honey by-products. In addition, more than 1200 beekeeping farmers can be encouraged towards commercialisation of their product with international techniques to bring more employment and business opportunities to Swat,” he said.
Mr Afridi further said KP was self-sufficient in honey production and had become able to export prime quality product at competitive price in the open global market.