Smallholder apiculture development in Bure, Ethiopia: experiences from IPMS project interventions uri icon


  • Beekeeping has a long history in Bure district as in other parts of Ethiopia. On average, it is estimated that 110 tons of honey are produced annually by smallholder farmers, and approximately 5000 households (hhs) are engaged in beekeeping as a sideline income generating activity, including landless farmers. Most beekeepers use local hives and beekeeping practices. Consequently, the quantity and quality of honey produced in the district was very low. The Office of Agriculture and Rural Development (OoARD) in Bure and the Regional BoARD started addressing these problems in 2004 through a campaign style distribution of modern hives and processing equipments. In 2007, the Improving Productivity and Market Success (IPMS) of Ethiopian Farmers project in collaboration with the district OoARD introduced a participatory market oriented value chain development approach in which stakeholders identified problems/potentials and possible interventions in production, input supply/credit, marketing and extension approaches/activities. Major problems were the low occupancy rate (23%) of the newly introduced modern hives, partly as a result of lack of knowledge and skills; lack of market price information and linkages for honey produced from modern hives as well as lack of price incentive for quality honey. Furthermore, private sector involvement in the supply of inputs was minimal. Stakeholders started addressing these problems and the objective of this case study is to review and document results and lessons generated from these interventions. Beekeepers multiplied 198 bee colonies, planted improved bee forages in the backyards, purchased smokers and protective clothing from input suppliers and collectively sold over 15 tons honey to honey traders and consumers in Addis Ababa. Beekeepers who adopted/benefited from the various interventions, earned on average Birr 2374/annum, as compared to Birr 201 for beekeepers who did not adopt/benefit. Statistics from the OoARD also suggest that the occupancy rate of modern hives doubled over the past two years because of improved management. In addition, the beekeeping knowledge and skill of farmers have been improving. Still the average yield from modern hives is still well below its potential and requires further attention. While the overall honey production in the district increases and has attracted the interest of commercial investors, linkages with the clean honey market need to be strengthened to reap the full benefits. The commercial processing (honey extraction) also requires further attention by either cooperatives and/or private processors

publication date

  • 2010