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Honey Bee Farming

Female empowerment is the key driver of change in any society, and it is precisely why the Hashoo Foundation (HF) is putting so much emphasis on equitable access to quality trainings for women, particularly for those living in rural poverty where sustaining a decent living is difficult. We are empowering women through Honey Bee Farming- “Plan Bee” program which was started in 2007. Through this training and provision of beehives and production kits, we are able to start up a small scale business in the remote areas of Gilgit-Baltistan, Mansehra, Chitral and AJK. In order to complete the value chain, the Foundation also links them to local and national markets to maximize their profit. This is then invested, on their children’s health and education and also back into their businesses for scaling-up and expansion. Hashoo Foundation has successfully trained over 1,116 women in honey bee farming and has guided them set up 36 honey business groups. Some of these groups have developed their own honey brands and are operating as separate business entities. The rest of the honey is purchased by Hashoo Foundation, then processed and packaged under its own brand known as ‘Mountain Honey’, which is marketed and distributed to selected outlets across Pakistan, catering mostly to five star hotels. Hashoo Foundation’s involvement in strengthening the entire value chain cycle from production to distribution has allowed women beekeepers and their families to enjoy a lifestyle that they could not afford before. The program has served as a sustainable social-business model which uses a multi-sector approach and encourages women to become independent. Women that participated in the project have gone on to hold key leadership positions within the local Honey Bee Associations. They now feel more socially integrated in an otherwise male-dominated enterprise. This highly acclaimed intervention by HF has won international awards including the BBC World Challenge in 2008.

Social and Economic Drivers of the “Plan Bee”

  • Women were the most marginalized members of the society
  • Male dominated society
  • Literacy level of the female was very low
  • Community showed receptiveness and acceptance
  • Flora and Fauna were abundantly available
  • Potential for women to adopt this as an enterprise (cottage industry)

Plan Bee Model

Plan Bee Model

Key Achievements:

The project has served to bring about considerable improvement in the socio-economic status of the local communities, particularly women.

  • 1,116 women trained in honey bee keeping
  • 3,615 beehives and 1,116 production kits distributed
  • 90,000 Kg of honey marketed since 2007
  • 8,500+ dependents obtained better nutrition, health and education
  • 36 women honey business groups developed
  • 37 million PKR. (US$ 35,000) earned by honey producers
  • 1,497 Girls and boys are now attending school
  • Decreased dependency level
  • Won the prestigious BBC World Challenge award in 2008
  • “Plan Bee” recognized and highlighted in Clinton Global Initiative (CGI)
  • “Mountain Honey” brand established

Summarized Report of the “Plan Bee”

Geographic Zone Name of Program/Project Trainees passed out to-date Beehives disbursed Production kits disbursed No. of training conducted
Gilgit-Baltistan Women Empowerment through Honey Bee Farming “Plan Bee” 550 1,995 550 18
Chitral Women Empowerment through Honey Bee Farming “Plan Bee” 334 1,236 334 11
Kalash (Chitral) Indigenous people Empowerment through Honey Bee Farming 80 80 80 2
Manserah (KPK) Orchard Associations Empowerment through Honey Bee Farming 77 154 77 3
Azad Jammu Kashmir (AJK) Plan Bee Project 75 150 75 3
Total 1,116 3,615 1,116 37

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