May 12, 2016

Can honey become heart of Yemeni culture again?

Yemen Honey training 2016

Yemeni honey is known throughout the world for its high quality and is considered some of the finest and also the most expensive in the world. Many rural farmers have relied on beekeeping as a main form of income for generation, passing on traditional production methods which have remain unchanged. However, since 9/11 international trade in this product has declined. For this reason SPARK, in collaboration with the Yemeni Foundation for Developing Yemeni Honey and Agricultural Products, conducted a workshop on Marketing High Quality Yemeni honey for local producers.

The Deputy Minister of Agriculture Dr. Mohammed Al Humeari also emphasised the importance of the trainings for youth engagement. He confirmed the ministries interest in supporting follow up programs for bee keeping as: ‘protecting the bees means to protect the Yemeni honey quality’ and the importance of Yemeni honey as a strategic product which has related to the Yemeni identity since ancient time.

Knowledge sharing

The workshops were carried out in two specialised honey bee units in Sana’a’s Agriculture College, with guests from Dhamar University. Over four days two-hundred beekeeping enterprises, with a good mix of male and female business owners, took part along with others who were interested in the Yemeni honey sector such as business leaders, owners of honey projects and traders. The wide interest showed how many groups have a stake in the production of this local product which is traditionally a symbol of peace in Yemen. The purpose of the workshop was to strengthen and share the participants’ skills and knowledge of honey production along with updating their knowledge of modern therapeutic uses for Yemeni honey. Quality control requirements and business administration were also covered in order to introduce an industry standard.

The program also included training on the risks of chemical pesticides to the health of the environment, to human and to bee colonies and how pesticides can be replaced with safer alternatives. Each aspect of the honey supply chain was studied from quality to marketing both locally and international.

Local commitment

After the training several notable attendees stepped forward to show their renewed commitment to this important industry. Mr. Abdulsalam Mohammed Albakri, executive director of the Yemeni Foundation For Developing Yemeni Honey confirmed their readiness to protect this important wealth and preserve the quality of Yemeni honey because of its international reputation. He also appreciated the efforts of SPARK to support the local producers, bringing benefits to the wider community by creating new jobs for people who work in this industry.

Mr. Fuad Alhamadi, head of the Honey Unit at Sana’a University pointed out the importance of this workshop for qualifying the farmers and building their skills to grow their business. At the same time it provided them with all the information to support and build their administrative skills. He appreciated SAPRK’s efforts to further train and qualify producers in the honey & bee keeping sector, especially considering the difficult circumstances in the recent time.