Whereas Jordan’s key tourism business took a beating throughout COVID, one other sector was boosted as Jordanian beekeepers rushed to fill the hovering demand for honey.
The nation’s 4,000 apiarists have ramped up output of the golden substance lengthy praised for its anti-inflammatory and different well being advantages.
Even when there is no such thing as a scientific consensus that honey helps battle COVID, lots of these contaminated used it to assuage signs similar to sore throats.
“The COVID interval specifically had an amazing, optimistic influence on us,” mentioned beekeeper Mutasim Hammad, 48, who retired 12 years in the past from the general public safety directorate and turned his interest into his foremost job.
Now, he tends to 80 hive containers on a property in Irbid, 90km (60 miles) north of Amman.
“Individuals have change into extra conscious of the worth of honey and are turning to the assured domestically produced honey,” mentioned Hammad, who sells about 400kg (880 kilos) a yr.
Jordan prides itself on its 19 various kinds of honey, together with citrus, eucalyptus and maple varieties, relying on which crops the bees pollinate.
“We now have about 2,500 flowering crops,” mentioned Mohammad Rababaa, head of the Jordan Beekeeping Affiliation.
“This range distinguishes Jordanian honey and signifies that the therapeutic and dietary worth of this honey is predicted to be higher than different varieties.”
Rababaa mentioned the marginally bitter maple honey selection, for instance, boasts “very excessive phenolic compounds and antioxidants in comparison with different varieties, which signifies that it has a better worth”.
Rababaa additionally mentioned the sector has about 4,000 folks working in it, a a lot larger workforce than Jordan’s official rely of about 1,400 beekeepers.
They produce about 700 to 800 tonnes yearly, or about 70 p.c of Jordan’s annual home wants, he mentioned.
A fellow fanatic, Mohammad Khatib, 49, additionally pointed to the pandemic and lockdown durations, saying it “helped me and gave me sufficient time to find out about bees and take excellent care of them”.
A French language professor at Al-Bayt College, he now works about 15 containers in his backyard, which he mentioned earns him a pleasant facet earnings.
Rababaa mentioned beekeeping “additionally produces pollen, royal jelly, wax, propolis and bee venom, which is included in lots of therapeutic compounds”.
Crucially, wholesome populations of bees and different bugs present an nearly immeasurable ecosystem service by pollinating crops.
Whereas the beekeeping sector generates about $28m a yr, Rababaa mentioned, “the oblique worth of crop pollination exceeds $100m”.