The bees of Oman

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As a result of the Khareef, the south west monsoon, in the green and flower coloured hills of Dhofar Mountain Range, bees fly in and out their hives. End of November the golden colour of the Khareef honey appears on the tables in the households. Dhofar offers also a cider honey in March and a production at the end of April of Luban honey from frankincense trees. Due to the varied landscape, bee keeping in the whole of the Sultanate of Oman is a century old tradition. In 2013, according to the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries statistics, the annual production of honey reached 595,5 tonnes. In the same year the number of beekeepers touched 3889.

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In 2012, Aliya Sawjwani, a PhD student biochemistry of honey and pollen at the Sultan Qaboos University, won the largest number of prizes in the National Honey Show held in London for the Omani honey she exhibited. At the exhibition, 1311 competing bee products of 270 various types were on display. Moreover, she was the only participant who won a prize for each type of honey she showcased.

In Oman, the Rural Development Unit at the Ministry of Agriculture is very active in promoting the local honey in general and women entrepreneurship in particular. In 2007-2008, a honey bee breeding and reproduction project in the whole of the Sultanate was established. Participation of rural woman was encouraged.  This year in July, the first four days ‘Honey Festival’ in Muscat took place and during the ‘Salalah Tourism Festival’ in August in Salalah, the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries launched the ‘Omani Honey Market Week.’ Besides promoting Omani beekeepers, their honey and honey products, the exhibition tried to encourage Omanis involved in traditional beekeeping business to use modern technologies, to market and package their products in an attractive way for the domestic and the international markets. At the first ‘Honey Festival’ in Muscat two tonnes of honey were sold in four days.

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