Honey, beekeeping turn Afghan province into business hive

More than 590 large and small-scale honey farms are now operating in Badakhshan, data from the Ministry of Agriculture shows. (Shutterstock)
Updated 18 January 2020

Honey, beekeeping turn Afghan province into business hive

  • Badakhshan province is becoming increasingly famous for its high-quality products

KABUL: Zamanuddin Ahmadi started a beekeeping business in northern Afghanistan three years ago with just a few assets to his name. Now, he is one of the biggest honey producers in Badakhshan province and owns 160 hives.

“It is an easy, simple job, and you need only a little money to start this business. The money you earn from it is good,” he told Arab News.

The remote and impoverished province is becoming increasingly famous for its high-quality and healthy products. Last year, with others following Ahmadi’s example and joining the industry, Badakhshan produced 283 tons of honey.

The region’s climate, terrain and various types of wildflowers have proved to be especially conducive to beekeeping and the success, according to Ahmadi, has even prompted residents of neighboring Takhar province to turn to the honey industry.  

More than 590 large and small-scale honey farms are now operating in Badakhshan, data from the Ministry of Agriculture shows.

The total honey production in Afghanistan was 2,150 tons in 2019, said Akbar Rustami, a spokesman for the Ministry of Agriculture in Kabul.

“We see a 70 percent rise in honey production in Badakhshan and Takhar. The region produces the best quality honey,” he told Arab News.

Ahmadi sells a kilogram of top-quality honey, called Shengalak, for 800 afghanis (about $10).

According to Rustami, the price of Shengalak is around 4,000 afghanis in India and the UAE, which started importing it last year.

Iran and Pakistan are the main markets for Afghan honey, according to dealers.

“We are keen to promote this industry as it is profitable and you do not spend much energy and money,” Rustami said, adding that with growing domestic production, Afghanistan would seek to cut its honey imports.

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US to pay over $1 bn for 100 mln doses of J&J’s potential COVID-19 vaccine

Updated 05 August 2020

US to pay over $1 bn for 100 mln doses of J&J’s potential COVID-19 vaccine

  • The latest contract equates to roughly $10 per vaccine dose produced by J&J
  • This is J&J’s first deal to supply its investigational vaccine to a country

WASHINGTON: The United States government will pay Johnson & Johnson over $1 billion for 100 million doses of its potential coronavirus vaccine, its latest such arrangement as the race to tame the pandemic intensifies, the drugmaker said on Wednesday.
It said it would deliver the vaccine to the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA) on a not-for-profit basis to be used after approval or emergency use authorization by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
J&J has already received $1 billion in funding from the US government — BARDA agreed in March to provide that money for the company to build manufacturing capacity for more than 1 billion doses of the experimental vaccine.
The latest contract equates to roughly $10 per vaccine dose produced by J&J. Including the first $1 billion deal with the USgovernment, the price would be slightly higher than the $19.50 per dose that the United States is paying for the vaccine being developed by Pfizer Inc. and German biotech BioNTech SE.
The US government may also purchase an additional 200 million doses under a subsequent agreement. J&J did not disclose that deal’s value.
J&J plans to study a one- or two-dose regimen of the vaccine in parallel later this year. A single-shot regimen could allow more people to be vaccinated with the same number of doses and would sidestep issues around getting people to come back for their second dose.
This is J&J’s first deal to supply its investigational vaccine to a country. Talks are underway with the European Union, but no deal has yet been reached.
J&J’s investigational vaccine is currently being tested on healthy volunteers in the United States and Belgium in an early-stage study.
There are currently no approved vaccines for COVID-19. More than 20 are in clinical trials.