Published on International Journal of Agriculture & Agribusiness
Publication Date: August, 2019
Kindalem Bayew Wassie
Animal Health Department Head in Janamora Wereda Livestock Development Office
Janamora, North Gondar, Ethiopia
Journal Full Text PDF: Assessment of Beekeeping Practices and Honey Production (Studied in Janamora Wereda).
The study was conducted to assess the beekeeping practices and honey production in Janamora Wereda in the year 2019. The main objectives of this study were to assess the beekeeping practices and production potential available; and to examine the factors that influence the output of honey and identify the problems associated with honey production in the study area. A two stage sampling procedures was employed to select a specific beekeeper. First, based on the accessibility and potential of the area four kebeles were purposively selected from the thirty eight rural kebeles found in Janamora District. In the second stage, using the population list of beekeepers in the sample kebeles 130 beekeepers (households) were randomly selected for the household survey based on probability proportional to size principle. Qualitative and quantitative data were collected through formal interview using structure questionnaire, focus group discussions and key informants interviews etc. Descriptive statistics and OLS multiple regressions were used as analytical tools. Honey plays an important role in contributing to the sustenance of livelihoods in the area and remains the second contributor to household income, after sale of crops. The study found out that of total households about 77 percent of them have practicing beekeeping. However, marketing of honey has not well developed except by few honey dealers found in a district town. In the area, the price of honey is subjected to fluctuation with seasons (64%) and depends on distance (36%). Almost all farmers have at least one market centre where to sale their honey or they sold at their vicinity for consumers and ‘Tej’ makers with low price. Based on this, the price of one kg crude honey during the survey period varied from village to village (ranged from 16 to 35 ETB). Moreover, it has both shortage of personnel trained in apiculture, and absence of practical training for the farmers and experts to increase the scope of their services.
Keyword: Beekeeping practices, honey production, household income & practical training.
Beekeeping is a very long-standing and deep-rooted household activity for the rural communities of Ethiopia that stretches back into the millennia of the country’s early history. It seems as old as the history of the country and it is an integral part of the life style of the farming communities . Ethiopia has huge potential for beekeeping production because of its endowment with diversity in climate and vegetation resources offer potentially favourable conditions for beekeeping. These have enabled Ethiopia to take the total share of honey production around 23.58% and 2.13% of the African and world’s respectively . In Ethiopia, there are about 10 million bee colonies and over 800 identified honey source plants. Out of the total colonies, about 5 million are hived .
Currently, most of the honey produced in Ethiopia comes from traditional beehives. There are an estimated 5.15 million hives in Ethiopia, which are almost all entirely maintained according to traditional methods. These hives are managed by approximately 1.4-1.7 million farm households, who are keeping bees as a means of additional income generation . Ethiopia is one of the top 10 producers of honey in the world, and it is the largest one in Africa. It is estimated that the country has a potential to produce 500,000 tons of honey per annual. The recent production, however, is only 53,675 tons of honey. This shows that the country is producing less than 10% of its potential .
Beekeeping and honey production in Ethiopia form an ancient tradition that has been incorporated into Ethiopian culture and even the country’s religious customs. Ethiopia is also the country with the longest history of marketing honey and beeswax in Africa. The average household in Ethiopia is composed of six people, and annual honey consumption is estimated to be 10 kg per household. Honey in Ethiopia is generally produced as a cash crop, with yearly sales amounting to 90 to 95 percent of total production. Currently, the majority of honey produced (about 70 percent of the 90 to 95 percent designated for sale) is sold to tej houses. The remaining portion is marketed as table honey for general consumption .
The total volume of honey production in Ethiopia in 2007–2011 was 163,257.42 tons, of which 99.2 percent was consumed domestically and 0.8 percent was exported. The total volume of Ethiopian honey exports in 2007–2011 was 1,297,716 kg, with a total value of US$4,066,528. So far, Ethiopia has not succeeded in exploiting its natural capacity for honey production, nor has it been able to fully benefit from its comparative advantage in the honey sector. Several factors have kept Ethiopian honey production from reaching its full market potential .
The Ethiopian agricultural sector has the potential to drive the country’s economic development, which could translate into a reduction in poverty and could increase the food security of its people . Beekeeping with its huge potentials to save the natural forests and to earn subsistence income for the rural poor is one of the agricultural sectors believed to serve as an instrument for climate change adaptation .
Beekeeping in Ethiopia is an important seasonal activity that predominantly remained rudimentary and unexploited, but it has tremendous potential for widening Ethiopian export base. Honey production in Ethiopia has recently attracted the attention of various agencies because of its potential to help revitalize the Ethiopian economy, reduce poverty, and conserve forests . The honey produced in Ethiopia is expected to become a major commodity for acquiring foreign currency to improve the Ethiopian economy. Although Ethiopia does not have sufficient infrastructure for transporting and storing goods, the long shelf life of honey makes it an attractive export for the country .
For most beekeepers in developing countries, beekeeping is a supplementary activity and therefore often only plays a secondary role in development policies by countries and donor agencies . This leaves its true contribution to the rural economy undervalued and not considered meritoriously. The activity is under-utilized and village beekeepers more often than not receive little or no attention in public policies. Higher visibility and attention to beekeeping as a development tool will bring not only benefits to beekeepers but also to rural populations as a whole, and will contribute directly and indirectly to sustainability and food security. Ethiopia has huge potential for beekeeping production because of its endowment with diversity in climate and vegetation resources offer potentially favourable conditions for beekeeping. These have enabled Ethiopia to take the total share of honey production around 23.58% and 2.13% of the African and world’s respectively .
Based on these facts, even though Janamora district is believed to have a diversified type of vegetation and cultivated crops as potential for beekeeping activities and honey and it’s by products are crucial to the development and health of the nation, so far there is no research information on beekeeping and honey production in the area. Therefore, it becomes imperative to assess honey production systems and production performance of beekeeping, socio economic characteristics, resource use efficiency and constraints of honey production in the area by bee farming for designing policies to meet the needs and well being of farmers. It is hoped that the result that comes out from this study will help the bee farmers and the policy makers in improving upon the yield of honey production and equally be a guide to other researchers that might be interested in similar studies.
The overall objective of the study was to assess the overall beekeeping practices, and honey production. These objectives are:
a. To assess the beekeeping practices and the production performance of beekeeping in the study area.
b. To examine the socio-economic characteristics of the honey production in the area.
c. To identify major beekeeping constraints and opportunities available in the study area.
2. RESEARCH METHODOLOGY
2.1 Description of the Study Area
Janamora Wereda is located in North Janamora Zone of Amhara region, at the latitude and longitude of 12o59’N 38o07’E at a distance of about 180km from Janamora town. Janamora Wereda is well-known with Semien mountain National Park, Ras Dashen i.e the highest point in Ethiopia and it is a home to a number of endangered species including the Ethiopian Wolf, waliya ibex, and a wild goat which no found in elsewhere in the world. The area has an altitude range of 2900 meters above sea level. The region is marked by numerous mountains, hilly, and sloppy areas, plateaus, rivers, and many streams. Livestock population of the area comprises 100,386 cattle, 32,975 sheep, 131,041 goats, 2,540 horses, 634 mules, 7758 donkeys, 119,347 poultry and 351,874 honey hives. The farming system of the study area is characterized by a mixed crop and livestock production system. Transhumance, from the highlands to western lowlands, is practiced as an important strategy to secure grazing resources for the highland livestock during the dry season of the year. In the case of the lowlands, crop farming is not as intensive as high and mid-highland areas and livestock has larger contributions to the farmer’s livelihoods .
2.1.2. Beekeeping activities and honeybee potential
Mixed agriculture is the mainstay dominated by crop production particularly for settlers but the natives are more involved in honey production in the forests and followed by crop production . The study district is well known for animal production and honey production. According to the result of this study about 80 percent of interviewed beekeeper households have been engaged in crop-livestock mixed farming systems with beekeeping, while 20 percent of interviewed beekeeper households were engaged in only beekeeping with a little crop farming practice. From this survey result it can be concluded that majority of respondents are engaged in crop- livestock mixed agriculture with beekeeping and there are no opportunities of off-farm activities exist for beekeepers households in the study area. This study also found that household income in the study area is drawn from six main sources namely: sale of crops, sale of livestock, sale of honey, sale of wild coffee, sale of timber production and sale of fuel and charcoal.
Honey plays an important role in contributing to the sustenance of livelihoods in the area. Across the six income sources, honey remains the second contributor to household income, after sale of animals. In the study district there are about 68235 bee colonies and 60655 are hived bee colonies. This shows that there is great potential for exploitation in the study area. Janamora district is the leader among major producing areas of the North Gondar Zone due to better availability of bee forage from the forest that allows it has the highest frequency of harvesting honey averaging 2.32 times per year. Of the total hives found in the Zone, about 79.9% (84.9% forest hives and 15% backyard hives) are traditional hives, which contributes only 56.9% towards national traditional hive honey production . In Janamora district large proportion of lands are covered with various types of trees, shrubs, bushes, and field flowers that make this part of the regions still potential for beekeeping.
2.1.3. Sampling Techniques and Sample Size
In this study a combination of purposive and probability sampling techniques were used.
Because of the aforementioned reason the district was selected purposively. A two stage sampling procedures was employed to select a specific beekeeper. First, based on the accessibility and potential of the area four kebeles were purposively selected from the thirty eight rural kebeles found in the District. In the second stage, using the population list of beekeepers in the sample kebeles 130 beekeepers (households) were randomly selected for the household survey based on probability proportional to size principle. The lists of beekeeper households obtained from the development agents in each of the peasant association were used as a sampling frame. Furthermore, purposive sampling method was used for the selection of key informants and focus groups from the selected peasant associations.
2.1.4. Data Sources and Methods of Data Collection
In this study, both primary and secondary sources of data were used and qualitative and quantitative data were generated using conventional survey method.
18.104.22.168. Primary data collection
For the survey part primary data was collected from sample respondents during May and June 2019 through a semi-structured questionnaire, which was designed to generate data on farmer and farm circumstances (age, household family size, education level, social group membership/participation, annual income earned from honey, farm size, forest land use right, hive size and beekeeping experience), market and other institutional arrangements (price, market access, distance to market, technical advice/extension services etc.), beekeeping practices and production potential (honeybee production systems, number of beekeepers, sources of colonies and beehives, number and types of beehives used, placements and management of beehives, trends of honeybee colony population and honey yield and harvesting of honey and yield), potentials and constraints of beekeeping subsector in the study area. In addition to this, primary data was collected using informal group discussions and by interviewing key informants.
22.214.171.124. Secondary data collection
Secondary data, which were assumed to supplement the primary data, were obtained from various sources. The main sources of secondary data for this study were previous research findings, journals, internets, report of MoARD at different levels, report of GOs and NGOs at different levels and other published and unpublished materials.
3. RESULT AND DISCUSSION
3.1. Socio-Economic Characteristics of the Sample Households
Analysis of the finding in Table 2 shows that the mean age of the bee farmers was 40.8 years and ranging from 24 to 65 years. The finding shows that most of the beekeepers were in their active and productive age group. The reason is obvious; the age of a farmer is a very important factor that can be used to determine the type of agricultural activities engaged by a farmer. For instance, in family labor supply younger farmers spend much time and tend to engage in labor intensive farming activities than older farmers . The result indicates further that the literacy the mean years of schooling of bee farmers in the study area was 3.3 years with a maximum of 11 years (Table 2). The level of education attained by farmers to a large extend determine the farmers level of adoption of new innovation without difficulties and become resource use efficient which in turn increase farm output and subsequently the profit obtain by the farmers .
On the household size, the average numbers of persons per bee farmer were approximately 5.8 with minimum and maximum value of 2 and 12 respectively. The size of the household affects the amount of farm labor, determines the food and nutritional requirements of household and often affects household food security. The result shows that most of the population explosion occurs in rural areas. However, they are important in the supply of family labor after schooling hours particularly in bee production, harvesting, processing and marketing.
Table 2: Socio-Economic Characteristics of the Sample Households
Information pertaining to number of colonies owned reveals that the reported average numbers of traditional hives in the study area was 9.9 and ranges from 3 – 25. This shows that majority of the beekeepers in the study area are small scale farmers. It is also revealing in Table 5 the beekeepers earned between 100–2000 ETB annual income from honey produce with an average of 803 ETB per annual (Table 2). This indicates that a reasonable income can be earned from beekeeping in the study area. This supports the findings by Tijani  that annual farm income of a farmer determine the farmers ability to purchase improved technology which may bring about increase in productivity and subsequently leads to higher income. Thus, the higher the annual income of a farmer, the greater the scale of agricultural production he can undertake and the higher the profit in farming. The finding also reveals that the respondents average value of bee farming experience was 12 years and ranging from 3–30years. This implies that most of the farmers have reasonable beekeeping experience in the study area. The higher the numbers of years spend in farming by a farmer, the more he becomes aware of new production techniques  there by increasing the level of his productivity.
The study result shows that the respondent households in the study area had farm holding with mean value of 3.3 hectare (ranges from 0.5 to 9 hectare) of land per beekeeper (Table 1). The size of the bee farm determines the extent to which other resources such as bee hive and baits are used for optimum productivity. Farmers that had more resources including land area were more likely to take advantage of new technology and innovations. This indicates that bulk of bee farmers in the study area were small holders. This situation, where many bee farmers crop only small plots of land does not promote agricultural production beyond the level of subsistence. Membership to groups enhances cooperation and interaction within the group and also between the group and other players e.g. donors and extension service providers. As the result shows that, respondent households were involved on average in 1.86 organizations.
According to the information from the study area district, in the area no one has legal right to access or withdraw or other rights over the forest by law. However, as far as the institutions are not well functioning and/ or the forest remain under open access regime; an individual can cut trees or clear forestland for cultivation. For example, 56.9% of sampled respondents believe that they have the right to use the forest. Most of the Janamora community members believe that if they face land shortage, they have the right to clear additional forestland without limitation on the size.
3.2. Beekeeping Extension and Marketing of Honey
3.2.1 Beekeeping training
According to the district office of agriculture and rural development information, it has both shortage of personnel trained in apiculture, and financial and logistic problem to increase the scope of their services. Absence of practical training for the farmers and experts has aggravated the other problem. Not only the farmers but also the agricultural experts have very few or no practical training on beekeeping to practically advise the farmers. Of the total sample respondents, only 19.2% had received some training in bee management, about how to harvest and handle honey and apiary site selection for two days on average and the rest were not. This result suggest that acquisition of technical skills and knowledge on bee farming were likely to influence the beekeepers to utilize apicultural resources in a better manner, which in turn helps to reap full benefits from beekeeping.
3.2.2 Marketing of honey
Honey has been identified in the district as one of the cash income generating commodity among other livestock. Honey in the district is an important market oriented commodity. The increased honey production during the harvest period was found to coincide with periods of low price. As a result 78 percent of the sampled households indicated that there were no ready markets to attract their produce. In the area, the price of honey is subjected to fluctuation with seasons (64%) and depends on distance (36%). Periodically, the price gradually rises in the months following the harvesting season while the lowest price was reported during honey harvesting time (September to November, January to March and May). Almost all farmers have at least one market centre to sale their honey or they sold at their vicinity for consumers and ‘Tej’ makers with low price. Every farmer produced and sold honey on individual basis. This affects their bargaining power during the sale of honey. On average, they travel about 7.7 km (4 to 12 km) to sale their product in nearby town. Based on this, the price of one kg crude honey during the survey period varied from village to village (ranged from 16 to 35 ETB). The result implies that for farmers, knowing where and when to sell their output is one of the most difficult challenges. If they have no knowledge of current market prices, they can easily be exploited.
3.3. Beekeeping Practices and Production Potential
3.3.1. Practices of beekeeping in the study area
In the study area beekeeping is practiced by over 77 percent of the total households. Traditionally beekeeping is entirely carried out by male household heads, and it was reported that female headed households do not generally involve in beekeeping. Thus, there was observable gender bias in beekeeping. According to WARD the honey hunting and traditional (forest) beekeeping using cylindrical log hives have long been part of the subsistence economy of the people in the area. The security aspect of the traditional (forest) beekeeping system should not be underestimated: while fixing the beehives and during honey harvests as well high trees have to be climbed, up to a height of 40m. The one, who is not able to climb because of physical reasons, cannot become a beekeeper. Honey hunting from feral colonies of bees is done by many people on an opportunistic basis. This study found about 18.4 percent who perform honey hunting along with beekeeping practices. Honey hunters who seek wild colonies for the honey carry out the exploitation of the honeybee in its most primitive form. Almost invariably, the bee colony is destroyed and it is extremely wasteful and they destroyed trees that have value for bee nest.
3.3.2. Sources of beehives and honeybee colonies
In the study area, the practice is undertaken by two types of beehives namely traditional and transitional hives. In the area the traditional hive beekeeping practice is the dominant system accounting for more than 98 percent of the total, while transitional hive is less used (< 2%). The use of modern beehives was presently absent in the study district and in fact in many parts of the country. Beekeepers usually make the traditional beehives by themselves. About 67% of the sample can make traditional beehives by themselves from locally available materials. There was market for beehives in the study area as indicated by 23 percent of the household who were involved in purchase of locally constructed traditional beehives Table 3. Table 3: Sources of Beehives and Colonies Different sources of bee colonies were also assessed during the survey. In the case of traditional beehives, almost all farmers practiced catching swarm bee colonies (Table 3). Inheritance and wild nest were the other source in the study area. From this result, it can be concluded that local honeybees have a high rate of swarm production. The idea is to encourage the honeybees to build their nest in such a way that it is easy for the beekeepers to manage and exploit them and the study area still has high potential of swarms . Transferring bee colony not practiced by farmers. In the study area selling of bee colonies is not practiced. This implies that farmers not develop the practice of reproducing and marketing bee colonies as one of the main sources of obtaining additional colonies and income. 3.3.3. Beehive holding As portrayed in Table 3, beekeeping was practiced at a very small scale level. Considering the whole sample from the study location, most farmers (79%) owned less than and 12 traditional hives, 15.4% owned 13–17, and only 5.6 % owned 1–25. Only some farmers (12%) have adopted the transitional beehives. The number of bee colonies owned by household beekeepers was generally low and varied from 1 to 25 colonies with total mean of 10 colonies per bee keepers. According to Edesa  of the total hives found in the country, about 1.8% (76,217 forest hives and 13,450 backyard hives) of the traditional hives and 0.3% (106 transitional hives) are found in the Janamora Wereda. Table: 4. Number of Beehives Owned by Beekeepers Almost all beekeepers interviewed have empty hives due to evacuation of the colonies, unable to occupy by swarms after harvesting and some of the empty hives were newly constructed for catching swarms. The study result shown that the numbers of mean empty traditional beehives of the respondent beekeepers in the area was 4.28. The study result shown that, of the total owned traditional hives, only 55.3% of the hives were found occupied with bees while the rest were empty. According to the study district agriculture and rural development bureau, 53,000 traditional beehives found in the district, of these 7,800 beehives were empty. As all of the respondent beekeepers mentioned that this was due to internal inspection is difficult in traditional hives to control reproductive swarming. In the study area mostly forest beekeeping is exercised and the colony is destroyed during harvesting. Hence, the service life of a colony is shorter. 3.3.4. Placement of beehives and management In the study district, about 68.4 percent of farmers placed their beehives hanging on tree branches in the dense forest far away from their residential houses whereas the remained 12.4 % & 19.2 % of respondent beekeepers keep their bee colonies on trees near homestead and both on trees in forest and near homestead respectively (Table 4). This implies that the practice entirely depends on forest but only few farmers have concentrated honey production near their residential areas. According to WARD, in the study area more that 85% of the traditional hives are hung in the dense forest which are mostly far from residential areas and have limited hive visit to only one or two times until harvesting. As elsewhere in the country, the management for honeybees is very minimal in the study area. Honeybee colonies exploit scattered resources by moving from area to area. This means that some hives remain empty for parts of the year especially under adverse weather conditions. Management of the hives and colonies is adapted to the seasonal nature and semi migratory habit of the bees. The traditional beekeepers works within the framework set by the subsistence needs of the households, and the chance to earn supplementary income. Table 5: Placement of Beehives 3.3.5. Trends of honey yield and honeybee colony population According to the respondents, the trend of honey yield and the population of colony number over the last five years were generally decreasing. About 48.6 % of the respondents responded as the trend of honey output and honeybee colony population are decreasing. On the contrary, about 29% and 22.5% of the respondents responded as the trend of honey output and honeybee colony population were increasing and stable (constant), respectively. Table 6: The Trend of Colony Number and Honey Yield. The reasons for decreasing trend of honey yield and colony population are as follows: Swarming tendency and absconding behaviors is another major problem of beekeeping of the area. The farmers believed that once the colony is touched for honey harvest the colony tends to abscond and never stay in their hive. About 50% of the beekeepers reported having lost colonies as a result of absconding and migration. Absconding refers to the sudden departure of the whole colony from a hive while migration is the seasonal movement of bees from one area to another. These two phenomena are not desirable since they lead to loss of bee colonies and hence income by the farmer. Shortage of bee forage causes the honeybee colony to abscond to areas where resources are available for their survival. Shortage of bee forage directly associated with off flowering period of major honeybee forages. The respondents reported the occurrence of sever feed shortage following harvesting time. Almost all sample respondents indicated that there is no provisions of supplementary feeds at the time of sever feed shortage. This is relating with the traditional practices of forest beekeeping. From this we can conclude that, in the study area honey bee colony population and production were in a decreasing trend. The existence of honey bee pests and predators and unwise application of herbicides’ in cropping systems, which ultimately resulted in frequent absconding of colonies and high migratory tendencies. Some pests such as ants attack honeybees and consume the hive products while predators such as the honey badger can cause serious damage to the hives leading to huge losses to the farmers. Damaging of honey bee colonies during harvesting during honey harvest brood and larvae are damaged and killed, so that the reproduction rate gets diminished which might be the main cause of a currently tremendous decline of the bee population. 3.3.6. Honey harvesting and yield In Ethiopia, there are two major honey harvesting periods, November to December in the lowlands and midlands and from April to May in the highlands. In the district honey is harvested from September to November, January to March and April to May each year. The major honey harvesting period in the study area is October to November. The harvesting periods correlate with availability of moisture and peak flowering period for many honey plants. Honey was harvested once or twice, and in some cases even three times (Table 6). In the study area, most farmers (54%) harvest twice and about 26% three times, while the remaining 20% harvest only once in a year. This shows the possibilities of harvesting and supplying different types of honey at different time implying the possibility of continuous supply of honey along the market chain. The result further shows that the average number of harvests within this period of the year during the survey period was 2.06. Harvesting of honey is still traditional in the study area. Regarding honey bee management, no attention is given to colonies. Beekeepers only visit colonies in the honey flow period. During honey harvesting beekeepers climb up the tree and send the hive to the ground either by means of a rope tied around the centre of the hive or by throwing the hive down, thereby destroying the colony. In the study area, brood is second only to honey as the main product from the harvest. Beekeepers harvest brood from colonies, which do not produce a lot of honey. Table: 7. Frequency of Harvesting Honey in a Year by Beekeepers. The descriptive statistical results are presented in Table 8. It illustrates the productivity (in kilograms) of traditional hive per annual by sample households. It further shows that 27.7 percent of the respondents harvest between 4 and 8 kg of honey, while 34.6 percent and 32.3 percent of the respondents harvest between 9 and 13 kg and between 14 and 18 kg of honey per hive per year, respectively. Similarly 5.4 percent of the respondents were estimated to harvest greater than 18 kg of honey per hive per annual. It was found that the average yield obtained from traditional hive per year was 12 kg, the maximum yield being 21 kg. The variability in yield may have resulted because of differences in management capacity of the farmers. Or a high production risk in beekeeping could be because of exogenous factor such as pests and diseases and seasonal variability of honey source plants depending on climatic conditions, however, depending on seasonality and size of beehives a well-managed traditional beehive can produce up to 21 kg of honey/year/hive. Table: 8. Crude Honey Productivity of Traditional Beehives per Year by beekeepers. Table 9: below show the total annual honey yield of the sample respondents during the study period. With an average holding of 9.9 hives, about 30 and 31 percent of the respondents gain between 40 kg and 59 kg and between 60 kg and 79 kg of honey annually, respectively. Table: 9. Annual Total Yield by Beekeepers from Traditional Beehives. As indicated in Table 9, the total annual production obtained by sample respondents from 1284 traditional beehives during the survey period was estimated at 8617 kg. The annual average production of the sample respondents was 66 kg. In the same year on the other hand, average production per traditional beehives was 12 kg (Table 8). The survey result also shows that the production per household ranged from 20 to 140 kg, and about 13 percent of the respondents reported that their annual production during the time was between 20 and 39 kg. However, only few respondents score the highest production (7.7 and 5.4) percent, in that order. 3.4. Major Constraints for the Production of Honey Currently beekeepers are facing a number of interrelated problems and constraints that limited productivity and production of honey. The major problems and constraints identified in study area include: Gender: Traditional beekeeping has basically been an activity for men in the study district. This has been due to the methods used. Generally it is a ‘tabao’ for a woman to climb a tree it therefore implies only the man can do both sitting and harvesting. Such gender prohibitive methods will inevitably keep productivity low, given the well established fact that the woman contributes more than half to the household’s food and cash crop production. It should also be underlined that the traditional beekeeping system largely excludes women from participation. Lack of knowledge: farmers lack knowledge only in production but also honey harvesting (damaging of honeybee colonies during harvesting, harvest brood from colonies), proper storage and processing.
4. SUMMARY, CONCLUSION AND RECOMMENDATION
The study was conducted to assess the beekeeping practices and honey production in Janamora Wereda in the year 2019. The main objectives of this study were to assess the beekeeping practices and production potential available; and to examine the factors that influence the output of honey and identify the problems associated with honey production in the study area. A two stage sampling procedures was employed to select a specific beekeeper. First, based on the accessibility and potential of the area four kebeles were purposively selected from the thirty eight rural kebeles found in Janamora District. In the second stage, using the population list of beekeepers in the sample kebeles 130 beekeepers (households) were randomly selected for the household survey based on probability proportional to size principle. Qualitative and quantitative data were collected through formal interview using structure questionnaire, focus group discussions and key informants interviews etc. Descriptive statistics and OLS multiple regressions were used as analytical tools. Honey plays an important role in contributing to the sustenance of livelihoods in the area and remains the second contributor to household income, after sale of crops. The study found out that of total households about 77 percent of them have practicing beekeeping. However, marketing of honey has not well developed except by few honey dealers found in a district town. In the area, the price of honey is subjected to fluctuation with seasons (64%) and depends on distance (36%). Almost all farmers have at least one market centre where to sale their honey or they sold at their vicinity for consumers and ‘Tej’ makers with low price. Based on this, the price of one kg crude honey during the survey period varied from village to village (ranged from 16 to 35 ETB). Moreover, it has both shortage of personnel trained in apiculture, and absence of practical training for the farmers and experts to increase the scope of their services. Not only the farmers but also the agricultural experts have very few or no practical training on beekeeping to practically advise the farmers. In the area the traditional hive beekeeping practice is the dominant system accounting about 98% of the total. This practice entirely depends on forest and the vast majority (90%) of the producers use traditional log hives and about 67 % of the sampled beekeepers made traditional beehives by themselves from locally available materials and mainly non processed log. The majority (68%) of the respondents were keeping their bees hanging on trees in forest. In addition honey hunting also exercised by beekeepers. Of total sampled households about 18% percent the respondents practiced honey hunting along with beekeeping. This result also found out that catching swarm is the main sources of honeybee colonies in the study area, about 75% respondents replied that they have started beekeeping by catching swarms. The result of this study shows that the trend of honey production and colony population over the last five years were generally decreasing due to absconding and migration of honey bee colonies, shortage of bee forage and deforestation, pests and predators. Among the sampled respondents, only 12 percent of the respondents had transitional beehives also during the study period. No other type of movable comb or movable frame hive was reported during the survey period. The reported average numbers of traditional hives in the study area was 9.9 per household. The study result shown that, of the total owned traditional hives, only 55.3% of the hives were found occupied with bees while the rest were empty. In the study area, honey harvested from September to November, January to March and April to May each year. Among the total respondents 53.8 percent of the respondents harvest twice within a year. The result further shows that the average number of harvests within this period of the year during the survey period was 2.06. It was found that the average yield obtained from traditional hive per year was 12 kg, the maximum yield being 21 kg. It further shows that 62 percent of the respondents harvest between 4 and 13 kg/hive/annual. The identified major constraints of honey production in the study area the forest beekeeping practices discourage the participation of women and lack of knowledge, deforestation, Poor extension services and lack of trained human power (experts), unavailability of improved technologies and poor infrastructure and marketing problem. The regression result showed that about 60% of the variability in production was accounted for by the exogenous variables included in the model, and the coefficients of land size and beekeeping experience were positive and significance at 1% and 5%, respectively whereas number of colony owned and household adult equivalent were positive and significance at 10%. While years spent in formal education and market price of honey both were negative and significant at 5% and 1%, respectively. The estimated elasticity of all factors is less than one pointing to an inelastic response of the quantity of honey output to the increase of these factors.
Beekeeping in the study district is largely based on traditional methods, which has greatly contributed to low productivity and inconsistent quality of beehive products. There has also been destruction of trees, which are the main source of nectar and pollen through wild fires, cutting for firewood and making beehives. Improved honey productivity is hampered greatly by poor cropping methods, poor pre and post harvest handling, poor production technologies, poor management practices, lack of extension services market and market information. The above is compounded by the producers’ lack knowledge and skills on better husbandry and cropping methods, poor harvesting methods and poor handling. Due to the nature of cropping of bees, there are excellent prospects to market the beehive products as organic. The source of nectar and pollen are the wild forest trees thereby implying that local honey can be sold as organic. However, mainly because of absence/lack of technological change, and institutional support, the district in general and the rural beekeeping households in particular have not been sufficiently benefited from the sub sector. Therefore, there is need to promote the development of the beekeeping sector. Education and price are found to be a significant factor that promotes the productivity level of honey production while the size and the number of the hives, farm size, household labor and beekeeping experience used as an important input for the production determines the quantity of honey produced. Yet, despite all the constraints and challenges currently facing the beekeeping sub sector, there are still enormous opportunities and potentials to boost the production and to maximize the outputs of the resource to improve the livelihoods of the farmers in a sustainable way.
Based on the findings of this study, it is recommended, therefore, to increase the production, productivity and its economic contributions to the livelihoods of honey producers in the study area farmers should be given adequate training on rudiments of traditional bee farming using community based/informal education. More over it requires intervening to change the very old traditional beekeeping practices through adopting improved technologies and management practices, practical skill trainings, promoting beekeepers important indigenous knowledge and expansion of backyard beekeeping practice. Thus, beekeepers are therefore, aware of their potentiality capable of increasing not only the profitability of the bee enterprise but also make efficient use of bee farming resources. In the area, beekeeping is predominantly practiced by and defined as a men’s occupation. The district agricultural office and other NGOs who want to develop beekeeping in the study area should encourage women to participate in beekeeping and support them through provision of training, credit services and modern beekeeping technologies. It has been found that absconding, migration and swarming were major problems of beekeeping in the study areas so to minimize the problems appropriate management practices should be practiced. These include improving pre and post harvest handling of colonies, beekeepers of the area should be aware on the possibilities of maintaining their colonies for successive harvesting, regular supervision and monitoring of the colonies. Rendering of intensive training for beekeeper farmers that cover the overall aspect of beekeeping with practical exercise is essential to maximize the honey production. All Development Agents who would be involved in beekeeping must have the training first to enable them adequately provide technical assistance to the beneficiaries. The survey result indicated that the overall honey marketing system of the study area during the survey period was found to be traditional and under developed and beekeepers are not benefited from the marketing systems. Thus, beekeepers should organize themselves in to groups and producer societies at local, regional and national level. This enables them to fix the local market prices and to penetrate the export market. Emphasis should be given to the WARDO on bee product diversification. Wax produced in the area is either discarded as well or put in to domestic use. Therefore, creating awareness on the value of beeswax and other hive products and processing and marketing mechanism should be design to ensure the right benefit from the activity. Government and Non government bodies should Endeavour to stimulate farmers to boost honey production by providing and subsidize if need be necessary supports and enabling environment which provide impetus that will ease farmers’ transition from traditional to modern beekeeping easy.