Potential of Honey in Pakistan - An Analysis of the Global and Domestic Market

The study entitled ‘Potential of Honey in Pakistan: An Analysis of the Global and Domestic Market’ is published by The Pakistan Business Council (PBC) as part of its “Grow More/ Grow Better” pillar of “Make-in-Pakistan” thrust. To carry out this sector study, PBC conducted secondary research and discussions with the stakeholders. The study highlights the opportunity in the honey sector to increase production and export and makes corresponding policy recommendations.

Global demand for honey is growing due to increased awareness of its health benefits. The global market of honey is valued at USD 7.84 billion and the global exports have grown by 35 percent in the last decade to USD 2.3 billion. However, despite having a conducive environment and diverse flora for producing good quality honey, Pakistan has yet to become one of the major producer and exporter of honey.

The lack of an organized value-chain and growth constraints have prevented Pakistan to establish honey brands locally and access export markets. Poor pre- and post-harvest practices, inadequate training and certifications, and insufficient branding and marketing activities are prevalent across the entire honey value-chain. As a result, locally produced honey has yet to enter the international markets such as Europe, USA, and Japan, and exports are limited to the Middle East, primarily Saudi Arabia and UAE. These exports, mainly of the Sidr honey variety, stand at around USD 9.8 million only and are limited mostly to the wholesale markets, where it is sold in bulk packaging at a low price. Pakistan exports only about 24 percent of its annual honey production which is far less than the global average of 40 percent by other honey producing countries.

Pakistan’s domestic honey consumption is approximately 11,147 tons, with a per capita consumption of 50 grams as compared to the much higher global average of 150 grams. The high price (compared to sugar as a sweetener) and a lack of awareness among consumers regarding the health benefits of honey are major reasons for the low domestic demand. Despite the low demand, the honey market size in Pakistan is estimated to be approximately USD 50 million which includes imports of USD 1.8 million. Honey is imported for the affluent consumer segment, which prefers international brands to the locally produced honey. This proves that there is a commercial opportunity in the domestic market for food processing companies to enter, provided they can create efficiencies in the supply chain and ensure good quality and competitive prices.

To achieve success in both domestic and international markets, it is recommended that beekeeper unions/co-operatives are established to enable agglomeration, and benefit from economies of scale. Furthermore, farmers will need to acquire modern tools and techniques for harvesting and maintaining the quality of honey. Accredited testing facilities, which are easily accessible to the farmers should be established to enable buying and selling of honey based on quality metrics. Unless and until both demand and supply side constraints are overcome, the honey value-chain in Pakistan will remain scattered, unregulated and inefficient with limited potential for growth.


The PBC is a private sector not-for-profit advocacy platform set-up in 2005 by 14 (now 94) of Pakistan’s largest businesses. PBC’s research-based advocacy supports measures which improve Pakistani industry’s regional and global competitiveness.