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PESHAWAR: Beekeepers and honey exporters have expressed concern over increase in customs duty on temporary shifting of honeybee boxes to Afghanistan during rough weather and demanded of the federal government to reverse the hike otherwise the honey business in Pakistan will suffer.

Talking to mediapersons here on Tuesday, Pakistan Beekeepers Association president Naeem Qasmi said that every year the beekeepers shifted bee boxes from Pakistan to Afghanistan due harsh weather conditions and used to stay there for a few months. He said that in the past the customs duty was up to Rs75, but now it had been increased to Rs1,300 which the business community could not afford.

The honeybee boxes, he said, were temporarily exported to Afghanistan from May to July due to unfavorable weather conditions here and they had to return the boxes till Sept 15 because of beginning of the business season. He said the collection of such a high tax on temporary export of honeybee boxes was unfair, which should be reversed immediately.

The association president said that around 100 beekeeping farmers had so far temporarily exported honeybee boxes because of weather conducive for beekeeping in Afghanistan. He emphasised that the movement of honeybee boxes was important from Afghanistan to Pakistan till Sept 20.

Mr Qasmi, who is also chairman of Honey Standing Committee of the Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Industry, said that over 500-700 containers of honeybees were exported to gulf countries annually which generated hefty revenue for the national exchequer. He said that the Sarhad Chamber of Commerce and Industry through a letter had requested the customs authorities for early revision of the tax and bringing it back to the previous level.

Published in Dawn, September 12th, 2018