OMAN, Tanzania — Sharaf Dhawana, the owner of Manuka Honey, says the honey he makes in his shop in Shaf Dhar area of Oman has been available for the last 10 years and it is still a good product.
He said it was important to keep the product fresh because it is difficult to keep things in stock.
Sharif Dhawanas son, Shaheem, was a soccer star in Oman and played for the national team.
His family, the Oman family, also owns a coffee shop in Oma.
“When we opened the shop in 2008, we were very poor, and now we have sold over one million boxes of manuka and honey,” he said.
Shawee Abdul Hamid, a former soccer player, now runs a small coffee shop with his family in the same village.
He said he bought manuka from a friend in a store in the area of the Shafs in 2011 and was surprised when the honey arrived in his coffee shop.
“My mother used to bring it to us for our breakfast.
Now, we don’t even have to use the water to make the honey,” said Abdul Hamidi.
He told Al Jazeera the honey had become a staple of his daily routine in his village.
“We are able to make enough honey for our families and friends and we can’t even afford to buy honey,” Abdul Hamidy said.
“It’s an economic necessity and we cannot live without it.”
The honey has been an important part of the Oma village culture since the 1950s.
The elder Abdul Hamideh said he sold the honey on the market to help his family feed their small children.
“There was a time when we sold the whole market and we sold our land to help feed our families,” he told AlJazeera.
“We have sold the land, we’ve given it away and now it’s only left in my family.”
Shaweesa Abdul Hamida, a woman who lives in the village, said it had been difficult for the community to afford to purchase the honey in the past.
“It was a big burden for the women and men of our village,” she said.
She said the honey was available in the markets and was a vital part of their diet.
“You can buy the honey, but you cannot consume it.
The honey is a necessity and the community needs to get it, and if it’s not available, we cannot afford it,” she added.”
This is why we sell it on the street, on the streets.
If it’s sold in shops, it will be hard for the people to afford it.”
Honey sales are a popular part of Oma, a village of 2,500 people about 40 kilometres north of the capital, Dar es Salaam, where the OMA team won a silver medal at the FIFA Under-20 World Cup in 2014.
The local football team plays regularly, as do many of the men’s teams.
However, many of them are under-performing compared to their neighbours.
Oman has a population of 1.5 million, mostly Muslim, and many have migrated to neighbouring countries, such as Somalia and Kenya, since the late 1990s.