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Saudi Arabia aims to double local honey production

Beekeepers in Jizan province, Addarb, Saudi Arabia. The industry has set a production target of 7,500 tonnes of honey per year by 2026 Alamy via Reuters
Beekeepers in Jizan province, Addarb, Saudi Arabia. The industry has set a production target of 7,500 tonnes of honey per year by 2026
  • $37m invested in honey industry
  • 10,500 workers supported
  • Aid from Reef Saudi programme

Saudi Arabia has invested SAR140 million ($37 million) to support its nascent rural honey industry, the government said this week. 

The country has raised subsidised production by 41 percent since 2021 and wants to double output by 2026. 

The Sustainable Agricultural Rural Development Program, known as Reef Saudi, said its funding supported over 10,500 people in the industry.

It produced more than 3,000 tonnes of honey in 2023 and has set a target of 7,500 tonnes per year by 2026. 

The aim is for the kingdom to be self-sufficient in honey, the state-owned Saudi Press Agency said. 

Production is focused on the green areas of the western regions in Najran, Jizan, Medina and Taif as well as Hail and Tabuk in the north. 

The Ministry of Environment, Water and Agriculture said total annual production, including companies operating outside the Reef Saudi programme, is 5,000 tonnes of honey, while 24,000 tonnes are imported. 

The leading regional producers are Turkey and Iran. China is the global leader, producing over 461,000 tonnes in 2022, more than four times the amount produced by second-placed Turkey, according to Statistica.

Reef Saudi regulates the industry, supplying queen bee breeding stations, package production facilities and mobile laboratories that monitor bee health. 

Saudi Arabia is trying to improve food security and create jobs for Saudis as part of its economic transformation plan, in some cases buying or renting land abroad to secure supplies for local food industries. 

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