All dates and honey lovers, mark your calendars and head to Umm Salal for the country’s much-awaited honey and dates festival.
Qatar is set to kick off the much-awaited local honey and dates festival at Al Mazrouah Yard, one of the seasonal vegetable markets next to Umm Salal Central Market, the Ministry of Municipality has announced.
The festival is expected to take place every day from 7am to 2pm from 29 December to 5 January 2023. Several neighbourhood farms are taking part in the festival by selling their honey and various kinds of dates that represent the country’s rich agricultural and high-quality production.
With a focus on promoting regional agricultural products, the festival looks to draw a sizable crowd of guests and customers to the seasonal vegetable markets every year.
The Gulf nation produces three different kinds of honey based on seasonal flowers: Sidr, Samur and Al Rabi. Locally, Sidr honey, which is produced in large quantities in Qatar, is in high demand.
Over the past years, the Ministry of Municipality has given local farms tremendous support in order to improve their goods and increase the nation’s self-sufficiency rate for vegetables, dates and honey.
In order to assist farms in increasing and diversifying their income, the Agricultural Affairs Department is running a programme to promote beekeeping throughout the nation as part of the national project for honey bees.
The department has been working since 2016 to localise and increase the breeding of queen bees in the nation in order to produce a strain that, after going through natural selection and adaptation to the environment, lives in harmony with the Qatari environment.
The local honey production increased from over 6.3 tonnes in 2017 to over 10.4 tonnes in 2018 thanks to the assistance of the national beekeeping project. From 2013 to 2018, the project helped in the production of an estimated 31 tonnes of honey from the nectar of Sidr, Al Rabi and Al Samur flowering plants.
Qatar has two honey harvesting seasons. Al Rabi and Al Samur honey are harvested in May, while Sidr honey is harvested in November.