Readers of this blog will know that I track the issue of beekeeping and honey production in Syria with interest. This is partly due to my own love for honey and the important role of bees in agriculture, and I hope beekeeping in Syria and elsewhere continues to be supported.
Continuing in the series on beekeeping and honey production, I conducted an interview with Jamil Fayez Eskandar from the company Alexander's Apiaries, which maintains apiaries in a number of regions of Syria. The company sells not only honey but also propolis, pollen and royal jelly. The company can export products to Iraq and Lebanon for those interested in purchase.
WhatsApp contact for those interested:
Q: When did you open your apiaries and for how many years have you been working as beekeeper?
A: The truth is we have practiced beekeeping as a profession for a long time. We adopted it from my father who adopted it from my grandfather who adopted it from the predecessors in our region in beekeeping because of the rural nature that we live in.
And we developed beekeeping with the progression of time in our apiary by expanding it and increasing the number of apiaries to include all the pastures in the Syrian Arab Republic, thus guaranteeing the production of various and multiple kinds of honey to meet the needs of the consumers and achieve quality. And our apiaries have participated multiple times in local and Arab festivals and our honey has won certificates of quality and distinction.
Q: In which areas are your apiaries exactly and what are the kinds of honey that you produce? On what flowers is honey produced in your apiaries?
A: Our apiaries are spread in all the Syrian pastures as we have mentioned, and this is what secures the production of various types. We have for example:
Mountain honey: distinguished by its taste, colour and odour from the mountains of the Syrian Sahel and the badiya in the interior countryside areas.
Honey of citrus flowers: from the farms of the Sahel, distinguished by its open colour and its pleasant and light taste for children.
Honey of capers: from the countryside areas of Homs and Aleppo, known for its benefits as an aphrodisiac.
Honey of the fennel flower, honey of the anise flower, honey of the thistles from various thistle flowers, honey of the anabasis, honey of the inula, honey of the almond.
We have a specialist mobile work team.
Q: How has the honey production been during the past years especially since the beginning of the events? Has the production of honey decreased for example and why?
A: Of course the production of honey in Syria has decreased because of the events in the land and the production of honey decreased gradually until it reached the lowest levels after the production used to meet the local market need and export surplus quantities. Then recovery began in the field of bees like all the other fields since the year 2018 when the considerable activity began in the sector of bees and beekeeping and the production of honey and propolis and pollen and bee venom and royal jelly and other things. And stability has returned in most of the regions, which has granted the beekeepers ease in moving about between the pastures and the spread of the apiaries on various flowers. But in general there are still obstacles in the profession embodied in expensiveness of prices and rise of the price of the primary goods and also the availability of fuels for vehicles to move about.
Q: Currently how has moving about between regions for the pastures been?
A: Much easier than the past years. Security has returned and activity has renewed in energy and the glitter has returned for the distinguished Syrian honeys that were sought for most of the global markets on account of the high quality of the honeys and the various natural flowers in Syria.
Q: Have the prices of the necessities become more expensive and why?
A: The necessities are more expensive because of the esters from outside in the difficult currency whose exchange price versus the local currency has increased more than 50 times from what it was before the oppressive siege on the people here in Syria.
And the industries connected with the profession still need more work for them to return as they were.
Q: Finally what are the most important challenges that are facing beekeepers in Syria currently and how can we help the beekeepers?
A: The challenges before the beekeeper like all the challenges in any another sector are tied to the general situation of the war upon Syria. And helping the beekeeper is in support of the required necessities for beekeeping in terms of their prices like the woods, fuels, swarms and other things.