US News The emblematic Yemen honey, victim of war and climate

12:02  30 july  2022
12:02  30 july  2022 Source:   lepoint.fr

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  L'emblématique miel du Yémen, victime de la guerre et du climat © AFP

D years The family of Mohammed Saif, men are beekeepers from father to son and produce the emblematic honey of Yemen. But "the profession is endangered" because of the war which ravages his country and also of climate change, he regrets.

The poorest country of the Arabian Peninsula, known in particular for its prized honey, has been in the grip of a devastating conflict between the government, supported by a coalition led by neighboring Arabia, with the rebels Houthi supported by l 'Iran.

A truce in force since April 2 gives a little respite to the population, faced with one of the worst humanitarian disasters in the world. But the war ravaged fragile and ravaged infrastructure of numerous sectors of the economy, including beekeeping, which nevertheless makes the country pride.

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In the valley at the foot of Taëz, a city in the southwest of the country surrounded by mountains and particularly affected by the conflict, Mohammed Saif inspects his hives. He had 300 before the war. There are only 80 today.

of "strange" phenomena affect bees, he notes. "Is it climate change or the effects of war? We don't know it," he wonders.

"immense losses"

The production of honey makes nearly 100,000 Yemeni families live and plays a "vital role in the economy", according to the UN. The famous yellowish nectar sometimes sells, under its different varieties, at high prices, especially in the rich neighboring Gulf countries.

But the sector has suffered "immense losses since the start of the conflict", notes the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC).

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The violence, the effects of weapons contamination and the growing impact of climate change "threaten to make disappear a 3,000 -year -old practice," said the organization, in a report published in June.

One of the flagship products of Yemen is jujube honey, called "sidr Malaki" in Arabic, to which specialists attribute therapeutic virtues.

"War had a very important impact on us", sighs Mohammed Saif, telling the fights that affected the production areas. "The fighters struck many areas where the bees were. In our village, last year, a beekeeper lost all his colony in a missile shot," he said.

In addition to violence, the conflict limited the possibility for beekeepers to circulate from one region to another, when they used to move according to the seasons and florais, explains to AFP the door -CICRP, Bachir Omar.

"disturbed ecosystem"

other challenge and not the least: the rise in temperatures recorded in recent years, combined with serious environmental damage, "disrupt the bee ecosystem and therefore night in the pollination process", says the ICRC, stressing the drop in precipitation and the desertification that advances in the country.

"Yemen, like many countries affected by a conflict, suffers disproportionately the effects of climate change", adds the ICRC which plans to help some 400 Yemeni beekeepers with training and financial support.

In his store in Taëz, Nabil al-Hakimi has seen the customers become scarce. "Before the war we could live from the sale of honey (...) but the product has become rare and customers can no longer buy it", due to the economic crisis, he deplores.

"formerly, I sold 15, 20, sometimes 25 five-liter pots each month," he recalls sadly: "Today I can't even sell a single one".

07/30/2022 06:49:41-Taëz (Yemen) (AFP)-© 2022 AFP

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