The Sustainable Agricultural Rural Development Program, known as Reef Saudi, has initiated bee clinics in various cities including Jeddah, Jazan, Madinah, and Abha. These clinics offer examination, diagnosis, guidance, and assistance to beekeepers, empowering small-scale producers. The primary objective of launching these clinics is to safeguard the Kingdom's "bee wealth" from diseases and pests, increase the local bee population to contribute to self-sufficiency, and operate mobile clinics that provide on-site examination services to beekeepers.
The bee clinics will furnish beekeepers with a comprehensive manual, collect and analyze samples, provide development instructions based on the samples, establish and update a database of bee pests and diseases, and notify relevant authorities when necessary. The program's overarching goal is to enhance food security and self-sufficiency in the honey sector, with a notable increase in honey production from 2,100 tons in 2020 to 3,748 tons this year. Reef Saudi aims to produce 7,500 tons of honey by 2026.
The clinics have proven instrumental for beekeepers like Hasan Al-Qarni, owner of Azhar Tabuk apiaries, who expressed gratitude to the Ministry of Environment, Water, and Agriculture for their ongoing support. Al-Qarni highlighted the clinics' role in diagnosing diseases, offering guidance, examining bees, providing consultations, and developing sustainable solutions. His success in the Arab honey competition and innovation awards for beehive products is attributed to the support provided by the Ministry.
Since the launch of the bee clinics, Reef Saudi has received 6,016 samples, carrying out investigating, preliminary, and confirmatory tests. A comprehensive database has been developed, documenting diseases and pests identified during survey campaigns. Reef Saudi's broader mission is to raise the standard of life for small farmers, assist and strengthen the capacities of farmers and rural families, and improve agricultural sector efficiency and productivity. Ultimately, the program plays a critical role in increasing crop growth throughout Saudi Arabia by facilitating farmers’ and beekeepers’ access to markets, agricultural services, and resources.