Turkey ready to promote Bashkir honey in world market

Will seal Ufa a honey deal with Ankara?

Turkey ready to promote Bashkir honey in world market
Photo: ufacity.info

Bashkir honey praised by Yury Shevchuk as early as 1983 is going to burst onto the international stage. Ankara is ready to supply tonnes of the beneficial product, which became a trademark of Bashkiria a long time ago, to different countries. Consul General of Turkey in Kazan İsmet Erikan told Realnoe Vremya that he made this proposal to Ufa. Our newspaper’s correspondent found out why Turks needed this product from Southern Ural apiaries and what it would give to the region.

Honey proposal

During a trip of Consul General of the Republic of Turkey in Kazan İsmet Erikan to Ufa, he and Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary Ambassador Mehmet Samsar met with head of Bashkortostan Rady Khabirov and representatives of the regional business community.

On his return from the capital of Bashkiria, Erikan told Realnoe Vremya that the sides had discussed cooperation in halal food production and promotion of Bashkir honey in the world market.

“Certification of produce is very necessary to promote it in the world market, private laboratories are needed. Bashkiria doesn’t have such laboratories at the moment. We could help them create them and train employees,” the consul general named one of the options of interaction.

Turkey is one of the biggest exporters of this product, Ankara has long-term contacts established in different parts of the world.

“Indeed, Bashkir honey is different from other types of honey I have tasted earlier, it is part of astronauts’ diet at the ISS,” Erikan added. Photo: Maksim Platonov

“Everybody sees that Bashkir honey is great, but it can’t get promoted in the world market,” İsmet Erikan noted. “In this respect, we have big experience, as Turkey is one of the world’s biggest honey exporters, this is why we could work together in this area. Bashkiria has conditions for beekeeping. They just need to inform the world community about it.

By the way, the consul general returned from Ufa with jars full of this sweet. It seems that they are intending to arrange supplies of Bashkir souvenir to their homeland.

“Indeed, Bashkir honey is different from other types of honey I have tasted earlier, it is part of astronauts’ diet at the ISS,” Erikan added. “I hope that when I go home, work in this area will be actively developing and it will be possible to purchase Bashkir honey.”

Moreover, according to our interlocutor, the choice of Ufa as a site for Apimondia 2021 congress was largely Turkey’s merit. In particular Turkish members of the International Federation of Beekeepers' Associations voted for holding the sectoral international forum in the Bashkir capital when the meeting was in Istanbul in 2017. Earlier, Russian (or, more precisely, the Soviet Union) hosted Apimondia in remote 1971 in Moscow.

Favourable terms are key

It remains unclear how Rady Khabirov’s retinue treated this type of cooperation. But experts are considering this proposal optimistically. For instance, economist Rustem Shayakhmetov noted that the Turks are good operators of this product: they have trust, partners, arranged infrastructure, communication.

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“Understanding that Bashkir honey has good prospects, they decided to earn on it, which is good for everybody. They will buy our honey and sell it in the USA, China, Europe. In Bashkiria, we don’t have the infrastructure, representatives in Europe, America. Either we have to create this infrastructure ourselves or trust Turkish companies. When volumes increase (if the project is implemented), honey makers will have money to enter these markets. Everybody will benefit this it,” the experts comments for Realnoe Vremya.

He paid attention to the necessity for certification in accordance with importing countries’ requirements. The Turks can do this job, they will get money for it.

“Most importantly, conditions must be favourable,” Shayakhmetov goes on. “We have big potential to increase honey production and room for growth. On the other hand, we have to meet very strict requirements. This will boost the quality of honey. And the region will get an additional tool to promote its produce. Demand, competition will go up, which means production will rise, new jobs will appear.”

In his opinion, not only habitual apiary honey but also wild honey will find its purchaser abroad. Such wild honey is meant to be more valuable, since it has other tasting qualities and benefits.

To lift blockade

As Press Secretary of the Ministry of Agriculture of Bashkiria Almaz Galimov told Realnoe Vremya, honey is anyway exported, though in small amounts.

“There has recently been agreed to supply honey to Vietnam’s public agencies. The preliminary sum of the deal is 10 million rubles. Bashkir Scientific Research Center for Beekeeping and Apitherapy will sell honey,” Galimov told Realnoe Vremya.

Small lots (5-6 tonnes) are also supplied to China and the United Arab Emirates.

“The UAE prefers working with Muslim countries, regions, and Bashkiria suits them,” the representative of the Bashkir Ministry of Agriculture explains.

In 2019 Bashkir bees produced 11,740 tonnes of gross honey. Photo: Timur Rakhmatullin

At the same time, according to producers themselves, Turkey almost doesn’t allow others’ honey to enter its territory, it is quite hard to enter its market. This is why the proposal of the official representative of Ankara can lift this blockade. 11,500-12,000 tonnes of gross honey is made every year. So in 2019 Bashkir bees produced 11,740 tonnes of gross honey. Moreover, bees keep almost half of the produce for winter. And only 5,500 tonnes is commodity honey that appears on the table or is used in pastry. The press service of the Ministry of Agriculture of Bashkiria provided Realnoe Vremya with such numbers.

However, Shayakhmetov believes that real numbers are much higher, as it is quite tough to fix volumes made by individuals who didn’t register as sole proprietors, PLC, farm or self-employed.

According to Galimov, nowadays big amounts of honey in the republic are produced by Bashkir Apiaries (Sergey Mulyukov), Bashkir Scientific Research Center for Beekeeping and Apitherapy (Amir Ishemgulov), entrepreneurs Rustem Rezbayev, Rishat Gareyev and others.

It should be noted that regional manufacturers of this beneficial product could not use the brand “Bashkir honey” for long. Bashkir Scientific Research Center for Beekeeping and Apitherapy owned such a monopolist right until 2017. Earlier, this institution prohibited (including via trials) other honey makers to use the label, as it patented this phrase as early as 2005.

It should be noted that regional manufacturers of this beneficial product could not use the brand “Bashkir honey” for long. Photo: ufacity.info

But Bashkir Honey CJSC, which is affiliated with Bashkir Apiaries, got the right to use the name of origin of the product in March 2017. Bashkir Honey Trading House CJSC and other producers and suppliers began to label their produce this way soon.

By Timur Rakhmatullin
Bashkortostan