The northern areas of Pakistan are naturally blessed with the abundance of flora and honey bee farming has always ex-isted as a major source of income for many inhabitants in the area. The art of honey bee farming is not only practiced by the head of the family but also by a large number of female population. The unfortunate heavy monsoon rains/floods of 2010 created havoc in the lives and livelihoods of these beekeepers by either washing away their equipment or dam-aging it beyond repair in Ghizer, Gilgit, Hunza-Nagar and Chitral. The disaster affected more than 321 honey producers resulting in making these women dependent and helpless.
“These monsoon rains have ruined my daily income of PKR 150, I don’t know how I will feed my young children and myself, It’s extremely unfortunate to live in such desperate conditions,” sobbed Ameena Bibi, with a 4-year old child resting on her lap.
Hashoo Foundation, a local Support Organization actively involved in the facilitation of the people of GB since its in-ception, approached Small Grants and Ambassador Fund Program to assist them in their efforts of improving the standard of living of honey bee farmers. With USAID’s support, a 15-month grant of $250,010 under the Small Grants pro-gram was awarded to Hashoo Foundation from April 2012, to June 2013. With USAID’s support this project will im-prove the quality of life of 450 women and their families by enlightening them in the art of honey beekeeping, providing them with required inputs i.e. honey bee boxes & production kits and linking them with lucrative markets.
The project has benefitted 450 females in total by restoring production of 250 existing flood affected honey beekeep-ers and increasing income of 200 new women by involving them in beekeeping. An increase in income has been followed by a positive change in the standard and quality of life of the concerned women and their families in the region.