The Future of Bees and Honey Production in Arab Countries
Moustafa A. EL-Shehawy

There is no doubt that Apiculture, is still primitive in most of the Arabic countrie, and that a great number of the honeybee races in Arab countries tends to violence and paucity of production. In the same time, we find that the Arabic country is rich in agriculture resources, blossoms and plants, that are prevalent in plains, valleys, and mountains. We have Nabk trees in Tohama and Aseer’s valleys, and camphor trees in Kuwait. We have various plants in mountains and pans of Jordan and Lebanon. We have citrus and cotton in Egypt, thyme in Libya and thorny trees in Yemen... etc.

All these plants and others produce different kinds of honey, but it is not used properly. For example, the opulent grasslands in Libya have 50.000 colony of bees, while Egypt alone has 200,0000 colonies. Hence. we say that there is a need to raise apiculture in certain Arab countries, so, prosperity will prevail all over the Arab countries.

Aims of the study
This study aims to present data and statistical information which are the basis of planning and developing the studies and research to improve the methods of apiculture and the production of honey. Consequently the proper investment in this field will be accomplished.

Pattern of Study
As there is no recent information about bees in the Arab countries since 1988, when the Arab Organization For Agricultural Development ( A O A D ) made a comprehensive cadastral of bees’ races in the Arab countries, I’ve updated this information either by collecting it during my field visits to some Arab countries or through research and reference books that have been offered to each country in this field.

Apiculture development in the Arab countries
The table number (1) illustrates the development of apiculture in the Arab countries. In 1988, there was 1,951,630 colony, which produced 13224.9 tons of honey, but now there are 4.263.070 colony which produced 27943.9 tons.

The number of colonies
We see that Egypt comes first in colony number, since it has two million colony of bees ( 2000000 ), presenting 48 % of the total number of colony in the Arab countries. Algeria comes in the second rank. It has 700.000 colony, presenting 16%. Then Morocco with 400.000, presenting 9%. Finally Syria with 316.960, presenting 7%. It means that these four countries have 80% of the total number of colony in the Arab countries.

The number of beekeepers
In the Arab countries we have "406170" beekeeper , Egypt alone has nearly half of this number. It has 200.000 beekeepers. Then Algeria with 70.000 presenting 17%, then Sudan with 50.000, presenting 12%, then Morocco with 27.000, presenting 7% of total number of in the Arab countries. And finally Syria with 24.000 have presenting 6%. It means that, these five countries have 92% of the total number of beekeeper in the Arabic country.

Production of Honey
According to the statistics of the ( A O A D ) , the production of honey in the Arabic country in 1988 was 13224.9 tons. And according to the statistics of the researcher, it is now 27943.9 tons with addition that equals 111%. In the Arab countries, Egypt comes first in producing honey, since it produces 16000 tons of honey yearly. That equals 57% of the total production in the Arab countries. Second to Egypt, there is Morocco which produces 4500 tons of honey. Then Yemen with 1706 tons, then Tunisia with 1445 tons.

arab countries

Increasing colony and production
A lot of people think that, increasing the number of hive in a certain country leads to decrease the production, but the truth is vice virus. The increase of the hive’ number is equivalent to the increase of the arable land. This, in addition to the development of apiculture’ methods, and derivation of good races, which leads also to increase the production of honey.

In table number (2), we see that the production of in Kuwait was 2.4 tons from 1200 bee hive, at the rate of 2k per hive. The production 1997, is 16.4 tons from 1732 hive, at the rate of 9.5k per hive. We notice that the average of the hive production, has rised fourfold and a half, despite the increase of the hive’ number. This is the result of using the new techniques in apiculture in Kuwait, and the concern in forestation, and tree - planting which avail the beset is also the result of holding courses tour citizens in order to encourage and train them on modern process of apiculture.

We also notice that the production of Jordan in 1988 was 12 tons only from 8000 bee hive, at the rate of 1.5 k per hive, while the production in 1997 is 120 tons from 30.000 bee hive, at the rate of 4.k per hive. This means that, the increase of class number matches the increase of production and matches also the rise of hive’ average of productivity. Table number (2), the increasing of honey production with the increasing of hive’ number

The available consumption of honey
From table number three (3), we note that, the average of the annual consumption of honey which is available for an individual is 116 gam. as the available quantities of honey for citizens in the Arabian countries are very small. for example, in Emirates, the available consumption in 1997 is 8 gam per citizen. In El-Bahrain 7g.m, and in Kuwait 9 gam, while in Oman 4g.m and In Lebanon 166 gam. This drives these countries to import large quantities of honey to make up the required needs, specially with the prevalent awareness among citizens about the importance of honey in treatment. There are researches about the benefit of honey for curing Breast cancer, others about eye and skin diseases, brunets, cough, and also the function of bee products in leasing the fats’ average in blood and honey’s effect onto confusion of blood pressure during pregnancy. The Arabian citizen, prefers honey that is produced in Arabian countries, like Seder Honey in Yemen or Saudi Arabia. which is famous for its medical and remedial benefits, but this doesn’t prevent honey’s import from other countries. For example, in 1993, Lebanon imported 342 tons. This cost 171000 American dollars, while Yemen and Saudi Arabia export for Gulf countries specially Kuwait and Emirates. As Yemen exports 293 tons that equals 15 : 20 % of the total financial value of the hard currency in this country.

The average of the annual consumption of honey that is available for an individual is 116 gam. This is not (as others believe) the actual average of consumption per individual. Because the actual consumption depends on the accessible quantities of honey either produced or exported. That’s in addition to the current prices which encourage citizens to buy honey, since the high price hinders the increase of consumption in many Arabian countries. Beside, of people use honey as medicine only, and in many Arabian countries, there isn’t the habit of eating honey daily, except some popular meals in Yemen and Saudi Arabia.


In order to promote apiculture in the Arabic countries, we propose the following:

  1. To exploit the available resources of all Arabian countries whether they were human, material, agricultural or technical resources. For example we can arrange the required laws to transport bees from Egypt to Sudan and Libya, From Syria to Jordan, and from Kuwait to Saudi Arabia and Lebanon. We can also hold large bee projects in Sudan for Gulf investors or others.
  2. To construct stations for producing the improved queens either in isolated areas or by using instrumental insemination to devise races which are suitable for the Arabian weather.
  3. To diversify bee products in the Arabic country as they know nothing of these products except honey and beeswax. As to the royal jelly, pollen and Propolis, a lot of people still don’t know how to produce or find the proper market for them, because of the citizens’ unacquaintance with the medical and remedial benefits of these products.
  4. To adjure the concerned authorities of forestation in the Arabian countries to grow trees and plants which avail bees, along roads and gardens. For example to grow Nabk, camphor, willow, acacia trees instead of plants that are not useful for bees, such as virus and tamarisk.
  5. To develop the scientific research and allocate suitable bonus for researches of apiculture to encourage the researchers in this field.
  6. To strive a complete contention against bee diseases in all Arabian countries specially Varroa. And if needed, we can use insecticides for two sequin years without sorting the honey during this period until the dangerous disease is completely exterminated.
  7. To hold international conferences and colloquiums in these countries to propagate the modern methods of apiculture.
  8. The cooperation of mass media in the Arabian countries to produce programs about the medical benefits of bee products in order to disseminate the awareness among citizens, about the importance of honey and its remedial products.
  9. To encourage the investment in the apiculture field specially to construct modern projects such as stations for producing royal jelly, queens, pollen, and Propolis.
  10. To construct hospitals and private sanitariums in the Arabian countries for treating diseases by using honeybee and its products. This will help to create new productive opportunities for beekeepers in the Arab countries.

    Moustafa A. EL-Shehawy
    20 El-Sowk St.
    Quesina 32631Menoufia
    EgyptTel / Fax: ( 002048375995)


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