CAIRO, Nov. 19 (Xinhua) -- "I have worked on keeping bees over the past seven years, producing 100 percent pure honey," said Hanan Asqalany, 42-year-old beekeeper, while arranging her products in a wooden booth.
The Egyptian Honey Festival, launched by the Agriculture Ministry, started on Wednesday its second edition at the Orman Botanical Park in Egypt's Giza Governorate.
The five-day festival has been organized by the Arab Beekeepers Union, with the participation of more than 100 exhibitors representing the most important and famous Egyptian companies, to display and sell their products at cheaper prices.
"It was my father's advice to let me learn how to keep bees, and now I teach my kids to do that," Asqalany told Xinhua, saying that keeping bees is not only a job to produce honey but also a lesson to be a well organized and hardworking person.
The lady, who came from Upper Egypt's province of Minya, said that she started the career with her interest, and then the project became bigger and profitable which encouraged her to look for opportunities to develop it by taking part in such a festival.
She owns an apiary over a mountain, 150 meters high above the level of the Nile River, producing pure mountain honey at prices ranged between 100 to 130 U.S. dollars for a kilogram.
"The festival is a window to introduce different kinds of honey and an opportunity to exchange expertise among the participants," Asqalany said, adding that the first day has seen a good number of visitors.
Fathy Behari, chairman of the Arab Beekeepers Union and president of the organizing committee of the festival, agrees that the festival constitutes a communication tool among the beekeepers to learn more about the bees and honey's world.
He said that compared to only 50 in the previous year, more than 100 companies and apiary's owners have participated in the festival this year, some of them are from the United Arab Emirates and Lebanon.
He added that the festival promotes the relations among the beekeepers to develop their strategies in keeping the bees and open new doors for exportation, noting that the honey packing sector in Egypt witnessed real progress thanks to the festival.
Egypt's production of honey hits 15,000 tons annually, out of which 2,500 tons is exported to some Arab countries and the United States, according to Behari.
"Our festival also organizes several cultural and fun activities as well as some workshops for kids on how to deal with bees," he noted.
He expected the government to hold such festivals several times per year to give the citizens a chance to choose their favorite products with the cheapest prices.
"The government has paid attention to the honey industry, providing technical assistance to the beekeepers," said Alaa Azoz, head of the agricultural guidance sector with the agriculture ministry, adding that there is a plan to develop the honey industry in Egypt to compete with the world's honey producers.
Mohamed Salman, a 38-year-old employee with a travel agency, hailed the festival as it provided very valuable information about bees for his kids via many displays and workshops.
"We all know that honey benefits our health, and we should also let our kids know that the bees work hard and we should learn from them," Salman said. Enditem