Jordan produces 19 different types of honey, 800 tonnes annually

the beekeeper holds a honeycomb with bees in his hands honey
(Photo: Envato Elements)
AMMAN — The Kingdom overflows with the production of honey, producing 19 different types of honey and 800 tonnes annually. اضافة اعلان

However, many questions arise about the production of honey, including: is it genuine and guaranteed? How to differentiate between counterfeit production, and genuine? Who monitors the production?

How is honey produced in the Kingdom?
In order to produce different types of honey, beekeepers must trace the locations of flowers, make an effort to move bee colonies to them, and invest their time and effort to obtain a premium and high-quality product that correlates with the Kingdom’s diverse nature.

That sweet substance you taste actually comes from the nectar of plant. Honey starts as flower nectar collected by fees which gets broken down into simple sugars and stored inside honeycombs, the Jordan News Agency, Petra Reported.

In its report, Petra, visited various honey sale points, met with bee farm owners, and verified the production methods and the mechanism for distinguishin between genuine and counterfeit honey.

In its discover that the Kindgom produces 19 different types of honey, it was also noted that the honey color and consistency can vary from almost colorless to dark brown, and the consisteny can be liquid, viscous, partially or fully crystalized.

With seasonal production in spring and summer. Citing that most productions can be found in the Jordan Valley, Shafa Badran, Ajloun, and As-Salt.

And the flavor all depends on the original plants that bees feed on.

How much should genuine honey cost?
According to the experts, the prices of one kilogram of local honey can vary between JD15 to JD30, depending on its quality.

However, the lower the prices, the harder it is to guarantee its authenticity, and experts indicate that the method of honey adulteration are primitive and easy to detect.

Sidr honey, a rarity in JordanSidr honey, one of the 19 different types produced in the Kingdom is considered rare and is said to contain a high percentage of therapeutic compounds, according to research. 

Who’s responsible for the bees?
Dr. Mohammad Al-Rababah, head of the Jordanian Beekeepers Association offers a platform for beekeepers and honey producers to meet, receive regular training, and workshop to help their businesses grow and increase the quality of their product.

Unofficial estimates indicates that there are approximately 1,400 beekeepers and 45,000 beehives.

However, Al-Rababah highlights that the numbers may actually be higher with 4,000 beekeepers and about 70,000 beehives.

And the production of hives ranges from 200 to 300 tonnes respectively, however, he highlighted that these are very modest numbers as most beekeepers do not provide accurate information to be included in the official statistics. He theorized that the Kingdom’s honey production may actually range between 700 to 800 tonnes, with over 50 percent produced locally.

He urged serious consideration to protect this sector in order to contribute to achieving self-sufficiency and increasing food security.

More to honey
Al-Rababah explained that the bee sector is not only a honey producer but also works to increase the production of all crops related to pollination, such as almond crops, watermelon, cantaloupe, zucchini, and much more, emphasizing the importance of bees in preserving biodiversity.

Purchase local, ditch global
Al-Rababah called for a halt to honey imports, following the example of olive oil, to protect the local product.

He pointed out that the union has been working for three years to establish a honey tracking system that allows for knowing the producer, type of honey, and the area in which it was produced.

Samples of beekeepers' honey are examined by the union to ensure compliance with the specifications. The honey that meets the requirements is packaged in a licensed laboratory and labeled with a non-duplicable or counterfeit label.

Consumers can scan the code using their mobile phones to access complete product information.

Agriculture and honey go hand in hand
Meanwhile, Ministry of Agriculture, Lawrence Al-Majali, stated that the ministry is working on developing sectors and crops that are imported from abroad, known as deficit crops.

Therefore, several measures are being taken to increase the production of these crops, including honey.

He also mentioned that the ministry has provided loans and financing through agricultural lending without interest in 2022-2023 as part of the national plan for sustainable agriculture and support for agricultural projects.

The funding reached JD10 million, including fish farming, honey production, and many other agricultural activities that are imported from abroad to work towards achieving self-sufficiency.

He emphasized that the ministry has implemented specific measures to protect the local product in line with the needs of the local market.

This is to prevent the flooding of imported products, which would lead to losses for farmers. Gradual expansion in this sector is being implemented over the coming years, reducing imports and achieving self-sufficiency.

In the same context, Khalil Amro, the Director of Animal Production at the Ministry of Agriculture, stated that around 38,500 bee colonies were licensed in 2022, and about 58,000 colonies in 2021.

A portion of the decrease in the number of colonies, estimated at 20,000, is due to the measures taken by the ministry to control fake holdings by tagging the colonies with the national number of their owners, which allows for their licensing.

This has resulted in small-scale farmers who do not own a hundred colonies or more not receiving the services provided by the Ministry of Agriculture, such as labor permits, exemption from agricultural vehicle fees for fifty colonies or more, technical support, and guidance through the Animal Production Directorate's Beekeeping Department, and logistical services.

He stated that these measures serve as a legislative framework to regulate the entry of bee products, ensuring that they do not harm local products.

The ministry is also working on updating the legislative system as much as possible to track cases of fraud. The ministry's jurisdiction applies to imports, not locally produced honey.

Regarding honey production, he stated that domestic production does not meet 100 percent of the demands.

In good seasons, local production can only cover about 20 percent of the domestic market’s needs, and various industries rely on the ingredient, such as pharmaceutical and dietary supplements.

With the imports filling this gap, some industries find the prices of local honey relatively high due to the limitations imposed by the climate on achieving high production rates.

How to spot a fake
The ministry ensures the authenticity of honey products by applying the technical standards for honey (122/2007) to imported honey.

Imported honey undergoes tests for pesticide residues, antibiotic residues, and quality assessments, including sugar levels to determine the age of the honey and whether it has undergone heating treatments.

Manal Khamaiseh, Head of the Environment, Water, and Food Laboratories Department at the Royal Scientific Society, stated that the society's laboratories conduct tests on bee honey samples received from government institutions responsible for the control of these products, as well as from companies and individuals who wish to ensure the quality and safety of their products.

She explained that the tests conducted on honey can be divided into three categories: quality tests, such as sensory examinations, acidity levels, moisture content, and insoluble solid matter; tests to detect honey adulteration, such as sugar content (glucose, fructose, sucrose) and the presence of hydroxymethylfurfural; and health-related tests, including pesticide and veterinary drug residue tests, microbiological tests, and heavy metal analysis.

These tests are performed in locally and regionally accredited laboratories by qualified and scientifically trained personnel, following internationally approved testing methods.

The General Food and Drug Administration clarified in response to inquiries that its role in controlling honey and its products in the local market includes field inspections, sample collection from honey and its products circulating in the local market by the agency's inspectors, and testing the samples in the agency's laboratories, particularly the Food Chemistry Laboratory.

It was stated that among these tests are the examination of free acidity and the examination of total sugars, in addition to its role in approving honey and its products packaging and labeling lines, granting permits for their circulation or importation, especially for products making medical claims or using misleading statements.

The institution also provides technical consultations for honey and its products' labeling cards, as well as monitoring complaints received by the institution regarding honey and its products.

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