1229 GMT April 04, 2020
Iran exports close to 8,000 tons of honey per annum, said the head of the country’s National Association of Beekeepers and Honey Producers.
Speaking in an exclusive interview with Iran Daily, Abdolreza Bigonah added the major destinations of Iran’s overseas sales of honey are neighbors as well as the Persian Gulf littoral states.
He noted that Iran’s honey is unique in the world in terms of quality.
Bigonah said Iran is among the world’s top 10 states in terms of the amount of honey production, adding Iranian honey’s quality is unique in the region in the light of the country’s wide floral diversity, green highlands, arid, semi-arid and cold climate and outstanding feature making it possible to find the climate typical of each of the four seasons in different parts of it concurrently, at any given time of the year.
Given the country’s favorable climatic condition, Iran has a high potential in the fields of beekeeping and honey production, and thus is capable of boosting exports through thoughtful planning, he stressed.
He said the honey produced in the northwestern Iranian province of Ardebil, known as ‘Sabalan’ (named after a mountain in the province), has the highest quality among its domestic counterparts and a great international reputation.
“This is because of Sabalan region’s special vegetation and the fact that the area is home to certain flowers, such as thyme, astragalus and chamomile.”
He listed the nutritional benefits of natural honey as boosting immune and digestive systems, warming the body and killing bacteria.
Iran is home to over 2,000 kinds of wildflowers and mountain flowers, Bigonah said, adding the diversity of the honey produced in the country is proportional to the number of flower types found in each region.
He stressed that since honey bees gather pollen from different flowers, each kind of honey is named after the region where it is produced.
The association’s head listed Iran’s major honey production hubs as the provinces of East Azarbaijan, West Azarbaijan, Ardebil (all three located in northwestern Iran) and Mazandaran (northern Iran).
He said other provinces, such as Lorestan (western Iran) and Kurdestan (northwestern Iran), are also active in the field of honey production, describing as traditional methods used by producers in these regions.
Bigonah said in Ardebil, however, beekeepers migrate to different special areas in each season to increase their output.
“At present, there are 7.15 million bee colonies or beehives across the country and over 182,000 people are involved in the field of honey production.”
He put at between 85,000 tons and 90,000 tons the average annual honey production in Iran, predicting that the country’s yearly honey output will amount to almost 85,000 tons by the end of the current Iranian calendar year (March 19, 2020).
Bigonah said since Iran’s surplus honey production, on average, stands at between 15,000 tons and 20,000 tons per year, the product is sold at a price lower than its real value in the domestic market.
He put at close to 600 grams the annual per capita honey consumption in Iran.
Bigonah added annually, 7,000 tons of honey is produced in Ardebil, saying given the large number of packaging factories operational in the province, other cities send their honey to Ardebil to be packaged.
Commenting on the availability of fake honey in the Iranian market, he said that honey produced by reputable domestic companies is believed to be natural and pure as such firms’ products and performance are regularly controlled and supervised by the Iranian National Standards Organization, Iran's Food and Drug Administration (IFDA) and Iran Veterinary Organization.
“However, some individuals, whose activities are not controlled or supervised by any state organization, may produce fake honey for the sake of reaping additional profits.”