Dubai: The Sustainable City (TSC), the Middle East’s first fully-operational sustainable community, has partnered with Apiculture and Nature for the Betterment of Health and Beauty (ANHB), one of the Gulf’s largest bee and beekeeping equipment suppliers and producers. The event was attended by His Excellency Dr Thani bin Ahmed Al Zeyoudi, Minister of Climate Change and Environment, Philip McCabe, President of the APIMONDIA International Federation of Beekeeper’s Associations, and TSC partners including World Wildlife Fund and Emirates Environmental Group. TSC has set the community abuzz by purchasing 250 new beehives.
To mark the UAE Government’s determination to exceed international best practices, His Excellency Eng. Sheikh Salem Sultan Al Qasimi, Chairman of ANHB, announced the launch of ‘My Hive’ programme that target local residents, corporate and Government offices.
His Excellency said: “Bees play a crucial role in increasing crop yields and promoting food security and nutrition. The well-being of our bee population also impacts bio-diversity as without their pollination, we will lose a third of all foods produced in the world. As Chairman of ANHB, my team and I are committed to educating the UAE public about the importance of the honeybee on local and global ecosystems, the purity of local honey and its benefits over sugar in the drive against obesity.”
HE Sheikh Salem Sultan Al Qasimi continued: “We have created the ‘My Hive’ programme to grant the opportunity for individuals and corporations to adopt a hive of their own. In return for an annual fee, participants will receive up to 10 kgs of high quality honey, education material on the importance of local honey and three visits to the apiary to witness the pollination process during the jujube, acadia and prosopis seasons. In this way, the UAE population will learn more about the honeybees and their contributions to the ecology that not only deliver high quality honey, but also support a healthier lifestyle.”
TSC residents will have the unique opportunity to register in the ‘My Hive’ Programme and enjoy organic products like honey, royal jelly and propolis (bee glue) by purchasing their own hive.
Speaking on this occasion, His Excellency Dr Thani Al Zeyoudi said: “Achieving sustainability across all sectors, as envisaged by the UAE Vision 2021, requires the collaboration of all community segments to ensure a better future for the coming generations.”
His Excellency Al Zeyoudi pointed out that the ‘My Hive’ program is a good example of initiatives rolled out by the private sector to achieve sustainability.
“The Ministry of Climate Change and Environment strives to enhance the sustainability of agriculture and food through various legislations and initiatives. Honey is at the top of food products to be sustained, as it has a cultural value for the Emirati community as well as rich nutritional and economic benefits in general.”
His Excellency detailed that the legislations approved by the Ministry allow Emirati beekeepers to bring in new species of bees into the country. This has considerably increased the amount of honey produced locally, as the imported bee species produces 10 to 20kgs of honey per hive annually, while the local species produces only one to two kgs of honey per hive annually.
“These legislations also facilitate carrying out experiments that target increasing honey production by local bees. As a matter of fact, some Emirati beekeepers were able to genetically improve these species’ size and immunity to diseases,” His Excellency added.
TSC also hosted a Bee Hive Programme on 24th May where Al Najeh — the largest honey producers in the UAE — showcased equipment and apiary-related activities.
Registered residents who purchase their own beehives will have the opportunity to visit them in organised trips three times a year, and will be able to keep an eye on them using special tracking devices that will monitor the hives around the clock.