Arab Beekeepers Union Congress 2018, Lebanon
During 5th and 7th October 2018, the 11th International Conference of Arab Beekeepers Union and 10th Conference of the Beekeeping Federation of Mediterranean Countries (Fed APIMED) took place in Lebanon. The congress was under the high patronage of His Excellency The President of the Lebanese Republic General Michel Aoun as well as it was financially supported by the US government through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), which is a major investor in Lebanese agriculture.
The conference, whose main organizers were Afif and Ariane Hajj Abi Chedid, was very similar to the Apimondia congresses as well as reaching their high qualities. Although the scale was smaller than the Apimondia congresses, there were more than 800 beekeepers from 32 mainly Arab-speaking countries. Distinguished lecturers from abroad and experts from Lebanon presented at the conference, among whom for example former Apimondia president Gilles Ratia, Chairman of the Apimondia Standing Commission on Beekeeping Technology and Quality Etienne Bruneau, General Director of the Jordanian National Center for Agricultural Research and Extension Nizar Haddad, Director of the Greece Institute of Animal Science Fani Hatjina, Head of Veterinary Medicine Section of the Lebanese University Chady Hosri and many others. Lectures conceived topics relating to International beekeeping perspective, European market and constraints of the EU, diseases, genetic genes, breeding of queens, bee products, marketing of honey, and the challenges that may face Beekeepers, as well as providing researchers and academics with the opportunity to present their latest research in this field. For those who want to learn more, you can take a look at the time-limited web page of the conference http://www.bees11congress.com/.
A fairly large exhibition of manufacturers of various products and equipment related to beekeeping was also part of the conference. The interest of local and foreign exhibitors was really great, with biggest booths from companies like Lyson a Golden Queen, Alaseal, Anel, Swienty, Lega and Honey Queen.
Lebanese Honey Day was also held during the conference, and the best honey was announced at the closing ceremony. Honey from Lebanon is very delicisous. Local beekeepers sell a large amount of single-kinded honey, such as eucalyptus, oak, banana, avocados or honey from different citruses. Their beehives are mostly in the mountains (where they like to ski in winter, among other things) and they travel between locations for 8 to 9 months. On average, they reach 25-35 kg of honey per beehive. Due to this long production year, beekeepers exchange mothers (most often A. m. Syriac and A. m. Ligustika) for one, not more than two years. There are currently around 6,000 beekeepers in Lebanon, who manage more than 300,000 bee colonies. As in other Arab countries, there are mainly professional beekeepers in Lebanon. The conference also included the meeting of the Arab Beekeepers Union, founded in 1994, whose members are Egypt, Libya, Tunisia, Algeria, Sudan, Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Palestine and Sultanate of Oman. At the meeting, it was decided that Iraq will be the next host of the Congress of the Arab Beekeepers union in 2019. For more information about the date and venue of the conference and other events, please visit our website in the future. Another result of the meeting was a promise to support more young beekeepers and ensure their participation in our International Meetings of Young Beekeepers IMYB. Young beekeepers from other Middle East countries will then follow Lebanon, the first Arab country which attended the IMYB meeting.
The conference organizers managed to fully fullfil their motto “Let’s Bee United” during all three days, expressing the challenge of uniting all beekeepers around the world. This is very important because bees do not respect the boundaries that we humans artificially create. We can face the global problems of beekeeping only by joint efforts, and not just by words but by our actions.