Beekeepers make Saudi honey festival a sweet success
More than 50 beekeepers displayed 25,000 kilograms of honey products
More than 50 beekeepers displayed 25,000 kilograms of honey products during the 1st Jazan Honey Festival, which kicked off on Saturday. Visitors from all over the Kingdom flocked to the festival venue to buy the best and rarest types of honey, which include al-Sidr, al-Salam and al-Majrah.
The 10-day festival, which also has different shows catering to the desires of families and children, allows visitors to watch live demonstrations on how honey is extracted from honeycombs.
The volume of honey market has exceeded 23,000 tons per annum, according to Professor Ahmad Al-Ghamdi, supervisor of Bogshan’s Chair of Bee Research at King Saud University, Al-Watan daily reported.
“Each year the Kingdom imports 14,000 tons while it produces 9,000 tons locally by means of one million honey colonies in different parts of the country,” said al-Ghamdi during a workshop that was held Saturday on the sidelines of the festival.
According to al-Ghamdi, the Kingdom also imports 350,000 honeycombs every year at a total cost of SR50 million; however, most of them get lost or die within six months or a year because of the poor quality of honeycombs and the type of bees.
The only solution to avoid such a loss is to transform Jazan into a locally-produced honey reserve and ban the importation of honeycombs.
Honey experts called on the Ministry of Agriculture to set up a proper venue to raise queen bees and produce honeycombs in Jazan. They also recommended that Jazan Municipality plant lotus trees instead of neem trees on the street sides.
This article was first published in the Saudi Gazette on December 15, 2014.