Peshawar’s honey market sweetens the lives of millions in the Arab world

1 / 3
People in a shop selling different varieties of honey at the Pak International Honey Market. (AN photo)
2 / 3
The outside view of the honey market in Peshawar. (AN photo)
3 / 3
Peshawar’s Tarnab Farm has hundreds of shops that sell locally produced honey. This picture shows just a few of them. (AN photo)
Updated 02 September 2018

Peshawar’s honey market sweetens the lives of millions in the Arab world

  • Every year, the market exports honey worth Rs 2.8 billion to Arab countries
  • Exporters claim the honey produced in Pakistan is preferred by people in the Middle East because of its taste and quality

PESHAWAR: Peshawar’s Tarnab Farm is home to Pakistan’s biggest honey market, which exports about 4,000 tons of the commodity worth nearly Rs 2.8 billion ($0.023 billion) to Arab countries every year.
Senior Vice President of the All Pakistan Beekeepers Exporters and Honey Traders Association, Sheikh Gul Bacha, told Arab News on Sunday that about 200 containers, each carrying about 20 tons of honey, are exported to various Arab states, mostly to Saudi Arabia.
“We export bair (jujube) honey, which is produced in September and October, to Saudi Arabia and other Arab countries in huge quantities. Most people in that region like the product since it does not solidify. Arabs also use honey more frequently because Islamic teachings emphasize its medicinal properties,” he added.
Hajji Nauroz Khan, a honey trader, claimed that while the Arab countries also imported the commodity from other parts of the world, most of their residents preferred honey produced in Pakistan because of its superior quality and taste.
“The honey produced in this country is pure. Arabs like bair honey, and Pakistan supplies it in its purest form. Other countries produce a mix of bair and other plants,” he said.
Khan also informed that honey produced in Punjab, Azad Kashmir, Sindh and Balochistan was also brought to the Tarnab Farm market for sale.
“Although honey is also produced in other parts of the country, nearly 85 percent of the people associated with this business are Pashtuns.”
He recalled how the Tarnab Farm market was initially set up with the funding of international donor organizations that were working for Afghan refugees who had migrated to Peshawar after the Soviet invasion of their country. Back then, the market could boast only of a few shops. However, the business expanded and there are hundreds of shops in this vicinity now.
Talking to Arab News, Sher Zaman, a honey exporter, said the government should also help honey traders to export their product to Central Asian markets.
“We don’t have a proper market in Central Asia,” he said. “This is despite the fact that our palusa (rosemary) honey can make a huge impact in the region. This variety of honey is usually people’s first choice in cold countries.”
Zaman said there were four main kinds of honey sold in the market: “bair honey, orange honey, palusa honey and clover honey.” The types of honey varied since honeybees gathered nectar from a variety of different plants in different parts of the country.
Assistant Director of the Trade Development Authority, Zahid Khan, told Arab News that his department periodically organizes workshops and exhibitions for the promotion of local products. “We are not responsible for regulating the honey business,” he added, “but we facilitate the traders.”
He pointed out that the honey business was owned and operated mostly by Afghans, adding: “The ongoing repatriation of Afghans to their native land has also affected this trade in Pakistan. However, local traders have now taken control of the situation and stabilized the honey business.”

WaCafe an example of how Saudi Arabia’s coffee culture is evolving

Updated 22 July 2019

WaCafe an example of how Saudi Arabia’s coffee culture is evolving

  • WaCafe’s menu includes beans from around the world

JEDDAH: Nowadays, in Saudi Arabia, almost every neighborhood has dozens of coffee shops to choose from, each offering something different — whether a specialty blend of espresso, or a unique setting. 

Coffee shops have turned into a social hub in the Kingdom, where people gather to share ideas and stories. They have become part of many people’s daily routine, and residents of the Kingdom are becoming increasingly aware of the importance of social interaction and exchange in such places — which offer space for dialogue, art and culture.

A good example is WaCafe in Al-Ahsa. Founded by Eissa Althaqib and Hamad Almaglouth, WaCafe is firmly in touch with the city’s roots, something that is evident not only in the shop’s authentic interior, but also in its coffee, and its activities.

WaCafe’s menu includes beans from around the world, but one special drink stands out: The Wacafe latte. It’s a signature drink with a twist. It has dates in it, incorporating a Hasawi staple into your brew.

The owners are committed to encouraging people to share their experience and knowledge, and host regular weekend coffee hours where a guest speaker — perhaps an artist or writer — will talk about their experience and answer questions from the audience. There are also free weekly workshops on painting and coffee brewing.

Althaqib and Almaglouth are also keen to ensure that their coffee shop is environmentally-friendly. The coffee cups are made from recycled remains of coffee beans and plants. For its founders, WaCafe is more than just a place to buy coffee: It is a reflection of its location, a place that encourages discussion between friends and strangers, a place for artists and thinkers to meet. It is an example of how the Kingdom's coffee-shop culture is evolving.