Egyp­tian bee­keep­ers un­der threat as econ­omy slumps

Kuwait Times - - BUSINESS -

SHIBIN EL KOM: Egypt’s bee­keep­ers say their hives are un­der threat be­cause of a short­age of su­gar, as are the flow­ers and crops that their bees pol­li­nate. Su­gar be­came hard to find in re­cent months af­ter the gov­ern­ment took con­trol of stocks to counter what it said was an epi­demic of hoard­ing by mer­chants re­act­ing to ris­ing prices as a re­sult of a short­age of for­eign cur­rency. Bees are fed su­gar to tide them over the win­ter and to com­pen­sate for honey har­vested from their hives.

Bee­keep­ing in Egypt can be traced back to the time of the Pharaohs, with the first hi­ero­glyphs of bees dat­ing back thou­sands of years.

“There is a su­gar cri­sis and the bees have to re­ceive nu­tri­tion through their win­ter hi­ber­na­tion,” said com­mer­cial bee­keeper Saeed Ha­gras. With su­gar in short sup­ply, bee­keep­ers had to let their bees con­sume honey in­stead. “So now in­stead of prof­it­ing from tak­ing the honey pro­duced and sell­ing it, we are now sup­ply­ing it for the bees again in­stead of the su­gar,” Ha­gras told Reuters Tele­vi­sion at his farm in Shibin El Kom, the cap­i­tal of the Nile Delta prov­ince of Me­noufia.

His son Mo­hamed said the gov­ern­ment should step in to help, par­tic­u­larly as there were op­por­tu­ni­ties to ex­port honey prof­itably to the United States and Canada. “We are call­ing on the gov­ern­ment to help the bee­keep­ers to pro­vide sup­port.

This will cre­ate em­ploy­ment op­por­tu­ni­ties to the youth and open up in­vest­ment.” Mo­hamed added: “Many will be em­ployed and the coun­try will re­ceive hard cur­rency. We are in dire need of hard cur­rency and in­vest­ment.” An­other bee­keeper, Ray­han Meligy, said crops would suf­fer if bees were al­lowed to die out. “The crops are pol­li­nated through bees. There will be no crops and the corn will de­cline, the har­vest will de­cline and the clover will de­cline. All the crops will de­cline,” he said.

— AFP

CAIRO: An Egyp­tian man car­ries bread as he rides his bi­cy­cle in down­town Cairo.

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