The UAE has launched the Arab Beekeeping Association, the first of its kind in the Arab world, which experts claim will lead the world of honey production, agriculture and suitability.
Sheikh Salem bin Sultan S. Al Qasimi, chairman of Apiculture and Nature for the betterment of Health and Beauty (ANHB) - who will head the research and development of the unique organisation - told Khaleej Times that the role of apiculture is crucial in agriculture and sustainability.
"Today in the UAE, with the vision of the country to develop sustainability and especially bees, the launch of this organisation is imperative.
"We will have a new era for the honeybee industry, not just in the Middle East, but also in the world." He said his vision is to create a strong and sustainable industry for honey beekeepers in the UAE.
Sheikh Al Qasimi warned that many consumers are unaware they are purchasing impure honey.
"There is a lot of fake honey in the market. You have to be selective and you have to go for the original and local. So if you are in the UAE, Sdir honey is number one and it's the best."
He stipulated that he believes the organisation will elevate the production and export of honey in the UAE. Currently, the UAE produces 800 tonnes of honey annually, and exports to other countries in the region, including Saudi Arabia and Yemen.
Sheikh Al Qasimi stressed that bees are essential to the production of fruits and vegetables.
"Animals pollinate over 80 per cent of flowering plants. Among these animals, bees are by far the most important, with around 25,000 different species worldwide. With this goal in mind, alongside our partners in the industry, we shall help to preserve our planet and its inhabitants in a vital sector for the region."
Dr Ahmed bin Abdullah Al Khazem Al Ghamdi, chairman of Arab Beekeeping Association, said the organisation aims to develop the advancement of scientific, technical, environmental, social, technological and economic aspects of beekeeping.
Dr Philip McCabe, president of Apimondia International Beekeeping, said there are many issues that beekeepers globally are dealing with, which have created a massive decline in the production of honey. Dr McCabe pointed out that 35 per cent of food production is a direct result of pollination and the honeybee provides a whopping 70 per cent of that.
"The other pollinators, such as the butterflies, are on the decline in exponential numbers because of extensive use of chemicals.
"There is nobody working to replenish those, and the honeybee is in serious decline, but the middle of 2016 saw a slight change where the trend started to turn."
He noted that governments began to step in and make a change.
"The members of the European Parliament are now increasing the budget for beekeeping from 219 million by 50 per cent, so they have got the message."
The Crown Prince of Monaco, Albert II, who immensely deals with biodiversity, has even joined Dr McCabe on several missions at the European Parliament. "He came with me to the European Parliament in Brussels and people began to realise how bad the situation was." Dr McCabe said bees can help save the world from a crash.
"When there is a world crash, the only thing that can rise is beekeeping, because if you get the bees they will make the honey."
He noted that with the launch of the association, the industry in the UAE will quickly rise.
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