Mariam Al Muhairi and Dawood Al Hajiri at the third Hatta Honey Festival on Thursday. The UAE Food Bank and Dubai Central Laboratory are participating for the first time. Image Credit: WAM

Dubai: The annual buzz about beekeeping and honey production in the UAE has kicked off with the opening of the third Hatta Honey Festival on Thursday.

Organised by Dubai Municipality, the year’s festival has gained more significance as a platform for promoting local production of honey which contributes to the food security in the country.

Mariam Bint Mohammad Saeed Hareb Al Muhairi, UAE Minister of State for Food Security, who attended the inauguration of the five-day annual event at Hatta Hall, said the Hatta Honey Festival is an ideal platform that attracts many bee keepers from inside and outside the UAE.

“The festival is a step in supporting the promotion and marketing of high quality local products as the event contributes to the sharing of ideas, innovations and knowledge of the best products to enhance their quality and provide the best honey products.”

Mariam further said: “Within the framework of the national strategy for food security and with a focus on promoting sustainable local production with new technology, we aim to improve the adoption of modern agriculture systems and methods, which will contribute to enhancing the food security of the country and raise its rank among the countries within the global competitiveness indicators to become one of the best countries in the world by 2021.”

Dawood Al Hajiri, director general of Dubai Municipality, who opened the festival in the presence of the minister, said the festival is part of providing various kinds of support to the local industries which the region is famous for.

“The event brings together a large group of beekeepers from the UAE, the Arabian Gulf and the world to exchange experiences and discuss the most successful ways to improve honey production, which is an ancient industry in the Hatta region. In addition to that different varieties of honey produced by the region are exhibited in the event,” he said.

Al Hajiri noted that the third year of the festival witnessed great acceptance of local producers.

Pointing out that the festival aims primarily to support the production of honey at the national level, he said it is a platform for the stakeholders in this field to gather and an opportunity to exchange experiences and discuss the situation of the honey industry and its various aspects to collect the data.

They can also benefit from the training courses and workshops held during the festival, he said.

Testing honey

For the first time, the UAE Food Bank and Dubai Central Laboratory are participating in the event with their stalls.

This year the festival will include receiving honey samples from the public for testing to ensure their quality. The tests are carried out by experts in DCL.

The public will also get to learn about different types of honey and the ways of distinguishing between them.

The types of honey on display include as Al Sadr, Al Shouka, Al Talh, Al Samer, Al Salam, Al Dhahi, Al Qatad, Al Saifi, Al Sahah, Al Barsim, Al Rabeei and Al Hamdhiyat, which can be distinguished by their colour and smell.

Some types of honey are rare, as they are extracted from trees that grow in limited areas and bloom once a year.

Tourism boost

The Hatta Honey Festival is complemented by Dubai Municipality’s efforts to enhance its services in Hatta and to develop its facilities and recreational and tourism sites, as this region is of historical and heritage importance and contributes to enhancing its position as a tourist destination.

It also benefits from the natural elements of the region in addition to the municipality’s contribution to supporting local industries and providing suitable marketing opportunities.

The festival also aims at expanding the economic benefit of the Hatta people and to enhance their participation in the overall development of their region, and to help them unleash their full potential and employ them in an effective way to promote the development of the region.

Honey Garden

On the sidelines of the festival, senior officials visited Hatta Honey garden to encourage and support youth projects aimed at sustaining food security.

The farm which relies on natural resources is an educational park for amateur beekeepers and is also a recreation centre for visitors who are fond of watching bees.

The garden also includes the first specialised station in the UAE and the Gulf countries to produce queen bees of pure breeds commercially.