Muscat: Omani natural honey is widely known among consumers, which makes its market very popular with various segments of the society who are eager to buy it whenever available in the market, for therapeutic purposes or for use in foods. The scarcity of honey makes its prices go high.
Collecting honey is a profession that Omanis practised from ancient times before it became known as a craft of interest to government institutions concerned with agriculture. Then, those interested in collecting honey from farmers, ranchers and beekeepers are supported with special tools and training on beekeeping to produce honey for commercial purposes.
Omani honey has various types, the most famous of them locally called "Al Baram" honey, which is one of the finest varieties, as well as "Al Sidr" honey. Honey is collected throughout the year, but the best varieties are those that are produced during the period from March until the end of May as bees absorb the nectar of trees and wild grasses, especially from Acacia tortilis trees, which bloom during this period. The colour of honey is usually closer to black, unlike Al Sidr honey, which has a light brown colour.
There are several types of (honey bees). There is the local one known as "Abu Touq" or "Tuwaiq" or (Rustaqi), which is small in size. There is another type locally known as "Al Farsi", which is the largest compared to the first type. Al Farsi beehive provides more honey compared to "Abu Tuwaiq. "
The process of searching for honey is carried out by observing the bees that come to the water, especially in the early morning, where the honey collectors or beekeepers monitor the bees either by the naked eye or through the use of binoculars and then tries to determine the direction that the bees fly to. Then they begin the search for it whether in the mountain, such as caves or in some mountain trees or in farms, palm groves and other trees.
After the beehive is found, the experienced beekeeper or collector can decide the amount of honey present in the hive in light of its size. If the hive is large, he collects the honey, but if the hive is small, he waits for a certain time until the amount of honey is suitable.
Men and women alike are involved in the search for honey and sometimes boys either in groups or individually. Some may travel from one place to another in search of honey for long distances at times while some do not exceed the boundaries of the area of residence, including valleys, plains and mountains or adjacent areas.
Honey prices vary according to quality and freshness and supply and demand. Prices start with RO 60 onwards to reach more than RO 100.
Omanis are keen on the presence of Omani honey in food tables, especially on the days of holidays where they eat meat with honey, or in the meal known locally (Al Joula) where honey is a major component. Honey is also used for patients, where it helps to speed up healing, especially the use of one-year-old honey, locally knows as Al Hoully honey because it is therapeutically beneficial and contributes to the improvement and strengthening of the weak body structure of people. ONA