By Leman Mammadova
The 20th Honey Fair is scheduled to be held in Baku from September 28 to October 18. An innovative approach will be applied in the sale of beekeeping products during the upcoming fair.
“For the first time in Azerbaijan, beekeeping products with a bar code on the packaging will be on display at the fair,” Leyla Mammadova, head of Agro Procurement and Supply OJSC said at a press conference dedicated to the fair.
She added that through this code, customers will be able to access information on products and manufacturers by visiting www.bal.kendden.az. Moreover, residents who are unable to attend the fair will be able to buy honey products online.
Some 300 honey producers will be attending the fair that is jointly organized by the Agro Procurement and Supply OJSC under the Ministry of Agriculture and the Azerbaijan Beekeepers Association. The Food Safety Agency will monitor the quality and safety of honey, which will be displayed for sale at the fair.
The participation in the upcoming fair will cost 150 manats ($88). The fair will be held in 10 Fatali Khan Khoyski Avenue in Narimanov district of Baku.
Speaking at the press conference, Galib Abdulaliyev, head of the Veterinary Control Department at the Azerbaijan Food Safety Agency, noted that a state-of-the-art mobile laboratory will conduct beekeeping inspections at the fair. He added that consumers can submit products to the mobile laboratory for quality check.
In turn, Badraddin Hasratov, Chairman of Azerbaijan Beekeepers Association, said that about 6,000 tons of honey has been produced in the country this year.
Currently, Azerbaijan is doing its best to contribute to the further development of beekeeping by creating favorable conditions for beekeepers. There are about 600 species of honey plants in Azerbaijan, of which almost 200, as a source of nectar and pollen, create even greater natural opportunities for the development of beekeeping.
Most of bee families are located in Zagatala (17,097), Astara (12,429), Gakh (9,125), Lerik (8,669) and Balakan (8,581) regions.
Beekeepers have been granted subsidies of 10 manats ($6) for each beehive for five years under the order "On stimulating the development of beekeeping in Azerbaijan" dated March 5, 2018. The aim is to stimulate the development of beekeeping in the country, to support small businesses and to employ individuals and legal entities engaged in beekeeping in rural areas.
Azerbaijan produced 3,000 tons of honey in 2018. Some 65-70 percent of the country's population is provided with domestically-produced honey.
In addition, the number of bee colonies increased in 2018 compared to 2017. Presently, there are 400,000 bee colonies in the country and grants have been issued for the maintenance of 270,000 of them. The number of colonies is expected to reach 500,000-600,000 in the near future.
On average, each bee colony produces ten kilograms of honey. If certain measures are taken, volume of honey from each bee colony can be increased by up to 25-30 kilograms.
Presently, about 6,000 people are engaged in beekeeping in Azerbaijan.
New methods will be implemented to increase honey production in the country. Productivity is expected to double as a result of the installation of mobile bee pavilions, which will be provided for farmers as part of the “Project to strengthen the competitiveness of agriculture”.
Leman Mammadova is AzerNews’ staff journalist, follow her on Twitter: @leman_888
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