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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90-minute British DnaNudge COVID-19 test is accurate, Lancet study finds

Updated 18 September 2020

90-minute British DnaNudge COVID-19 test is accurate, Lancet study finds

  • Health Secretary Matt Hancock told LBC radio that Britain was rolling out the tests across hospitals
  • Hancock said the machines could also be deployed at other locations such as schools

LONDON: A British COVID-19 test known as DnaNudge that gives results in just over an hour and which requires no laboratory was accurate in almost all cases, an academic review in the Lancet has found.
Faster testing could allow more people to return to work or permit testing on entry to hospital, thus slowing a second spike in coronavirus infections.
The new test, based on the design of a DNA test developed by a professor at Imperial College London, received approval for clinical use by the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) at the end of April after successful trials.
In a study in The Lancet Microbe, the test was found to have an average sensitivity – the ability to correctly identify those with COVID-19 – of 94.4% and a specificity – correctly identifying those without the disease – of 100%.
“These results suggest that the CovidNudge test, which can be performed at a patient’s bedside without the need to handle any sample material, has comparable accuracy to standard laboratory testing,” Professor Graham Cooke, lead author of the study from the Department of Infectious Disease at Imperial College London, said.
The Lancet paper described the test, which requires one nostril swab, as “a sensitive, specific, and rapid point of care test for the presence of SARS-CoV-2 without laboratory handling or sample pre-processing.”
Health Secretary Matt Hancock told LBC radio that Britain was rolling out the tests across hospitals.
“The critical thing in terms of usefulness is that the machine doesn’t need to be in a lab — it is about the size of a shoebox — therefore you can put one, say, in an A&E (accident and emergency) department and they can know whether people coming in have got the coronavirus or not,” Hancock said.
Hancock said the machines could also be deployed at other locations such as schools.
Each box can run one test at a time so could process about 16 tests per day, said a spokeswoman for the company that produces the tests.