"Because of its uniqueness, white honey from Sumbawa has become a national icon," the minister said when launching Nusantara Honey Week I here Tuesday.
Held for the very first time, the opening of Nusantara Honey Week lasting until July 17 was among other things marked by a honey drinking party participated in by 10,000 people, most of them students.
The manager of the Museum of Indonesian Records MURI) Sri Widayati who also took part in the honey drinking party said the event would be listed as a new record because of the number of people who participated.
The record established by the honey drinking party surpassed that of a Bee Pollen eating event organized by beekeepers in Lumbang sub district, Probolinggo district, East Java, on November 29, 2008, in which 1,004 people took part.
Zulkifli said all parties must continue publicizing the uniqueness of Sumbawa white honey that has become the icon of Indonesian honey, so that more and more tourists would visit Sumbawa.
The promotions should among other things popularize the notion that one cannot be considered to have visited West Nusa Tenggara if one has not returned home with a bottle of Sumbawa honey.
"People should be made to want to visit West Nusa Tenggara to savor Sumbawa`s distinctive honey, just like me who is also visiting West Nusa Tenggara to taste the icon of Indonesian honey," he said.
Zulkifli said, the launching of the National Honey Week was intended to promote production of honey as a healthy food, as well as to make Sumbawa known as a honey production center.
In addition, the week was also organized to strengthen the image of Sumbawa honey products and foster the national community`s pride in domestic products, as well as to encourage the creation of honey production centers in other regions.
According to data compiled by the West Nusa Tenggara forestry office, the province`s honey production in 2010 reached 125 thousand tons. The main honey producer is the Sumbawa Forest Honey Network (JMHS). The 2010 production figure does not include honey extracted in Lombok island.(*)