Yemeni honey is trapped between the bitterness of war and the consequences of climate change

Yemeni beekeeper Muhammad Saif inherited the profession from his father and grandfather before him, but the honey industry, which has long been a source of pride for Yemen, has become a daunting task in a country torn apart for years by a ferocious internal war.

Under the Mist Valley in Taiz, in the poor southwest of the country, bees are buzzing, while Saif stands at the rectangular beehives, wears a protective helmet and opens one with his bare hands to let the bees out.

In addition to the internal conflict that has lasted for more than seven years, beekeepers face an additional challenge posed by climate change and rainfall.

Before the war, Seif owned 300 hives, but their number currently does not exceed 80 hives.

The United Nations says there are “about 100,000 Yemeni families working in beekeeping and relying on them as their only source of income”.

Beekeepers usually move in according to the production seasons from one region of Yemen to another, in search of flowering plants, but the internal war has changed things.

In addition, drought and low rainfall represent an additional threat to the honey industry in Yemen, where low rainfall has affected plant cover and reduced bee nutrition.