(MENAFN - Arab News) Saudi Arabia's honey bee production fell by 26 percent to reach 119,000 kg in 2011 compared to 156,000 kg in 2007, a report released by the Ministry of Agriculture shows.
Production of honey bee continued to decline from 2007 gradually over the next five years to reach 137,000 kg in 2008 and 130,000 kg and 125,000 kg in 2009 and 2010, respectively, the report said.
Based on the ministry's report, Jazan produced the biggest quantities of honey bee in the Kingdom in 2011 at 33,000 kg, followed by Madinah (24,000 kg), Jouf (19,000 kg), Riyadh (8,000 kg), the Northern Border Region (1,930 kg), the Eastern Province (1,818 kg), and Hail (1,062 kg).
However, the Bee-breeders Cooperative Association (BCA) said the data provided by the Ministry of Agriculture is not accurate but contrary to the report, production continued to grow. Board chairman of BCA Dr. Ahmed Al-Khazim said that the ministry's report focused on fixed apiaries and ignored mobile ones which form 90 percent of the total apiaries in the Kingdom.
He said the number of beehives in the Kingdom estimated at 1 million are producing 9,000 tons of honey bee annually while the Kingdom's imports stand at some 14,000 tons. 70 percent of production originates in the areas located between Taif, Baha, Asir and Jazan, he said.
Al-Khazim said that the BCA draws its statistics from masters and PhD theses and from questionnaires distributed Kingdom-wide in addition to national projects and studies supported by King Abdulaziz City for Sciences and Technology (KACST).
The governorate of Baha recently supported the BCA on a study aimed at determining the number of bee-breeders, apiaries and the volume of production, Al-Khazim said.
He said plans are under way to organize a workshop in Qunfudah on how to minimize losses of bee-breeders resulting from locust spraying campaigns. The workshop, scheduled for next Thursday, will be organized by Bugshan Chair for Bee Research at King Saud University, the Bee-breeders Society in Baha and the Locust Research Center in Jeddah. The major causes of losses lie in drought, pests and diseases and the hot summer temperatures in Riyadh and Qasim, he pointed out.