Khulna: Honey collected from the Sundarbans has started earning foreign currency with its export to India from the last fiscal year.
According to the Export Promotion Bureau (EPB), honey worth about Tk20 lakh was exported to the neighbouring country in the five months from February to June of the fiscal year 2013-14.
Of the total, honey worth Tk three lakh was exported in February, Tk nine lakh in March, Tk five lakh in April-May and Tk one lakh in June.
The sources said India is the only country where Bangladesh’s honey is being exported.
Sundarbans west forest department official Zahir Uddin Ahmed said initiative will have to be taken to send Sundarbans’ honey abroad under a certain brand.
Otherwise, there will be no benefit from selling Sundarbans’ honey.
He added about 2,100 honey collectors (moual) collect honey from the Sundarbans every year.
In 2013-14 financial year, about 554 quintal honey was collected from the world’s largest mangrove forest.
In the previous year, the amount was about 1,700 quintals.
Besides, from the East Division of the Sundarbans, about 550 quintal honey was collected last year.
Besides, a huge quantity of honey is sold in the local markets of the country.
But the price of honey in the local markets is low.
If honey could be processed and exported in larger quantity, it would contribute to the national economy.
Honey trader Mustafizur Rahman said it is difficult to create honey market outside the country.
After a lot of efforts, he could start exporting honey to India last year.
He said, “The big problem in our country is that there is no system to ascertain the authenticity of genuine honey.”
Sometimes it was found that honey collectors mixed sugar with honey.
This may create a big obstacle to sustainability of Bangladeshi honey in the foreign markets.
Another trader Anwar Hossain said there is demand for honey abroad for preparing medicines.
He added Bangladeshi honey may create good impact on global market if appropriate steps are taken and opportunity made.
Sundarbans’ honey now a forex earner