Increasing economic benefit from apiculture through value chain development approach: the case of Alaba special district, Southern Ethiopia uri icon


  • In 2005 the IPMS project introduced a participatory market oriented value chain approach in Alaba and apiculture was identified as one of the priority marketable commodities. Amongst the problems and potentials identified in the apiculture value chain were lack of knowledge and skills to operate the modern beehives, low occupancy rate, lack of bee forage and a government controlled technology driven development approach. Furthermore, there was no marketing/processing system for the honey produced from the modern hives. Initial emphasis was given to build capacity and skills on different aspect of apiculture development with follow up and supervisory visits to targeted farmers in two PAs (Peasant associations). Those farmers also benefited from innovative credit channeled through the Menchone farmers? Union, which enabled them to own more than three modern beehives per household. Linkages were also made with local carpenters for the construction and supply of modern and transitional hives. To alleviate bee forage problems, new forage were introduced in FTCs (Farmers Training Centers) and farmers? fields. Finally colony splitting was introduced to increase the availability of productive colonies. The results of these interventions were measured both at district and household levels. Household survey data showed an average 26.7kg/modern hive/year in 2008. At district level, the number of farmers who now have modern hives (supplied under different programs) is 1783, which is 33% of the estimated beekeeping households. Average annual gross production value of bee keepers with a combination of hive types averaged Birr 1,500, as compared to Birr 500 for household who only had traditional hives. Data from 17 farmers which were more intensively supported, showed a significant higher productivity from modern hives (38 kg/hive) and their gross production value from different hive types averaged Birr 4,600/year. A cost benefit analysis based on the data obtained from 17 farmers indicated that benefits exceeded costs in year 2, which resulted in a cumulative net benefit of Birr 437 /hive over a 2 year period. The latter shows that apiculture can be a viable economic activity, once sufficient knowledge and skills are applied. Finally, as a result of the value chain approach, the number of partners involved in the development of the apiculture increased including private sector partners. However, while linkages were made with commercial processing factories in Nazareth, actual sale of clean honey through these outlets has not yet been materialized, since most honey is sold in the local market. With the expanding honey production from modern hives, more attention needs to be given to local processing and sale of extracted honey

publication date

  • 2010