EghtesadOnline: Iran produces more than 80,000 tons of honey every year, Agricultural Ministry officials said during a ceremony held to unveil achievements in the beekeeping industry recently.
CEO of Beekeeping Industry Expansion Support Fund Behzad Bankipour said that over the past five years, Iran’s beekeeping industry shifted its focus from producing only one main product, namely honey, to producing other bee secretions such as royal jelly and bee venom, Fars News Agency reported.
According to Morteza Rezaei, deputy agriculture minister for livestock affairs, said each gram of bee venom is exported at around $80, Financial Tribune reported.
“This sum is equal to one and a half barrels of oil. Bee venom is used in the production of pharmaceuticals, including steroids and painkillers,” IRNA reported.
Deputy Minister of Cooperatives, Labor and Social Welfare for Entrepreneurial Affairs Isa Mansouri, also present at the meeting, said around 90,000 people are currently engaged in Iran’s beekeeping industry.
Average honey production in each modern Iranian hive, the official noted, amounts to around 11 kilograms.
Gholamhossein Tahmasebi, the head of Honeybee Research Department with the Animal Science Research Institute affiliated with the Agriculture Ministry, said at the Second International and 10th National Iranian Honeybee Congress held in Karaj, Alborz Province, last week that the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations ranks Iran as the fourth biggest producer of honey worldwide with 69,000 tons per year.
“This is while Iran’s annual honey production has increased to reach close to 90,000 tons and FAO has to update our global ranking in the field,” he added.
Tahmasebi noted that per capita honey consumption in Iran annually stands at 1 kilogram.
The global annual average is 250 to 300 grams.
“Honey exports currently stand at 5,000 tons per year. The industry has the capacity to increase the figure to over 10,000 tons annually,” he said.
Also present at the event was FAO's representative to Iran, Gerold Boedeker, who said Iran has vast capacities to expand a valuable food chain in beekeeping.
“Iran is a prominent country in honey production,” he said.
Beekeeping in Iran dates back to 2,000 to 3,000 years, though apiculture as we know it in its modern, industrial form started around three decades ago in Iran. Since then, the number of beekeepers and the amount of honey produced are increasing year by year.
West Azarbaijan, East Azarbaijan and Ardabil top the list of Iranian provinces where honey is produced.