Kurdish mountain honey in high demand in Sulaimani’s market
By Sartip Othman
SULAIMANI, Kurdistan Region – Honey market is one of the key markets in the city of Sulaimani. People looking for good quality honey, referred to as mountain honey, turn to this market. It is believed that Kurdish mountains have the right temperature and flowers where beekeepers can get good quality products.
A kilo of mountain honey is sold for about 80,000 Iraqi dinars (64 USD). Low quality bee honey produced in less favorable environments can be as cheap as 15,000 Iraqi dinars.
As once a beekeeper told Rudaw, war in Iraq is a buzzkill for honey production in the country, as he made reference to the often troubled mountainous areas located between the Kurdistan Region’s border with Turkey and Iran, especially the Qandil mountain that often comes under the attack of the Turkish fighter jets and artillery, forcing some bee farmers to avoid high mountains.
The Kurdistan Region currently only produces about 61 percent of the honey it consumes, leading to the importation of honey; however, if beekeepers practiced scientifically proven methods recommended by the Ministry of Agriculture, production could be doubled within a few years, an official from the ministry said in early April.
“The environment of Kurdistan is favorable for honey bee breeding and there are good numbers of beehives in Kurdistan, but the main problem is the lack of expertise for breeding bees and consequently large number bees are lost, annually,” Abdul Rahim Omer, the general director of agriculture in Erbil said.
Statistics from the Beekeepers Network Association of Kurdistan, provided by Arif Abdulla, reported between 800 and 850 tons of honey were produced last year.
The Kurdistan Region needs about 1,350 tons of honey annually, according to the Kurdish Ministry of Agriculture.