has witnessed marked decay of its production and export as the civil war has stormed into its eighth year.
SANAA, Jan. 29 (Xinhua) -- The Yemeni honey, whose production has a history of at least 3,000 years, is prized by the locals as "liquid gold" since it is among the best and most expensive honey in the world.
However, as the Yemeni protracted civil war has been grinding on for more than seven years, enormous losses have been inflicted on the industry, with "the cost of transporting the beehives as the biggest problem," Abdullah Nashir, head of the Cooperative League of Yemeni Beekeepers, told Xinhua.
In order to secure enough high-quality flowers for the bees, the beekeepers need to move between different valleys and grasslands, but the war has made travel inside the country difficult and even dangerous, said Nashir, also a professor of the Agriculture Faculty at Sanaa University in the Yemeni capital.
Take Yemen's renowned Sidr honey from the nectar of the namesake trees. The honey usually sells for more than 300 U.S. dollars per kg at the international market, but its production is dwindling year by year, Nashir told Xinhua.
The Yemeni professor also pointed to the fuel shortage as a threat to the honey industry in Yemen.
"To move the beehives around needs vehicles. And vehicles need petrol. But the economic blockade imposed by the Saudi-led coalition has cut off the fuel supplies," said Nashir.
Yemen has been mired in a civil war since late 2014 when the Houthi militia seized control of several northern provinces and forced the internationally recognized government of President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi out of the capital Sanaa. Saudi Arabia has been leading an Arab military coalition against the Houthi rebels in Yemen since 2015 to support the Hadi government.
The restrictions imposed by the Saudi-led coalition on the foreign trade and the closure of Yemen's border crossings have also impeded the export of the Yemeni honey outside the country.
According to the Nashir, Yemen exported at least 900 tonnes of honey every year before the war, but its exports have since plummeted by more than 50 percent.
Fahd Shai, a merchant of the Yemeni honey in Sanaa, told Xinhua that his business has declined significantly since the outbreak of the civil war.
"Since we can't export the honey, we are forced to sell it in the domestic markets. But the price is much lower," Shai lamented.