Livestock Research for Rural Development 22 (7) 2010 Notes to Authors LRRD Newsletter

Citation of this paper

Participatory rural appraisal investigation on beekeeping in Arsi Negelle and Shashemene districts of West Arsi zone of Oromia, Ethiopia

Arse Gebeyehu, Tesfaye Kebede, Sebsibe Zuber*, Tekalign Gutu, Gurmessa Umeta, Tesfaye Lemma** and Feyisa Hundessa

Adami Tulu Agricultural Research Center, P. O. Box 35, Batu (Ziway), Ethiopia
arsegeb@yahoo.com
* Care International, Ethiopia, P.O.Box 1047, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
** Ethiopian Meat and Dairy Technology Institute, P.O.Box 1573, Bishoftu, Ethiopia

Abstract

The study was conducted in 2007 in Arsi Negelle and Shashemene districts of West Arsi zone of Oromia regional state, Ethiopia. The objective of the study was to identify major beekeeping challenges and opportunities. For this study 5 peasant associations (PAs) were selected. From each PA a group of 30 to 40 beekeeping farmers was used for implementation of different participatory rural appraisal (PRA) tools selected for data collection. The collected data were analyzed using simple descriptive statistics. Guizotia scabra, Hypoestes forskali, croton macrostachy are the major honeybee flora in the study area.

 

In both districts, honey is harvested two times a year which varied in period of harvest between highland and lowland areas of the districts. The major honey flow season is November to December and the minor honey flow is from May to June. In both districts’ highland areas, the major honey flow season is March to May that is mainly attributed to the flowering season of croton macrostachy and the minor honey flow season is November to December. Shortage of honeybee forage, shortage of honeybee colonies, agrochemical poisoning are the major beekeeping constraints in both districts. Moreover, availability of honeybee enemies (ants, honey badger, bee-eater birds, wax moth, spider and beetles) were reported. The preference ranking matrix indicated that farmers of both districts know little about transitional hives. Beekeeping is considered as one of income source for the beekeepers and it has the 3rd and 4th rank among the other income sources in Arsi Negelle and Shashemene districts respectively.

 

Despite the different challenges encountered in this sub-sector, opportunities for beekeeping development in the areas still exist due to the presence of natural resources, high demand for hive products and development policy attention from the government as one of the strategies to reduce poverty.

Key words: bee management, constraints and opportunities, honeybee colonies, honeybee enemies, honeybee forages


Introduction

Ethiopia is endowed with various climatic conditions, topography and a wide range of altitudes favoring the presence of different natural vegetation that includes dense forests, bushes, herbs, weeds and undergrowths. These different types of natural vegetation have made the country the best home for honeybees. In the area where there are various kinds of honeybee plants, better honey yield is certain than the area with poor natural vegetation (Amssalu 2000). According to the Mathewos et al (2004) report, there are 6,000 to 7,000 plants species that have been identified to exist in the country, out of which some are endemic. These plant species are able to support a large honeybee population. Some of these plant species are found predominantly in south and south-west part of the country. In these areas beekeepers can obtain better yield of honey, beeswax and other hive products (Amssalu 2000).

 

Ethiopia has the largest bee population in Africa with over 10 million bee colonies, out of which about 4.6 million are confined in hives and the remaining exist in the forest (CSA 2007). Currently, the available bee colonies in Ethiopia are grouped in to five different honeybee populations occupying ecologically different areas: Apis mellifera jemenitica in the northwest and eastern arid and semi-arid lowlands; Apis mellifera scutellata in the west, south and southwest humid midlands; Apis mellifera bandasii, in the central moist highlands; Apis mellifera monticola from the northern mountainous highlands; and Apis mellifera woyi-gambella in south western semi-arid to sub-humid lowland parts of the country (Amssalu et al 2004).

 

Ethiopia is the leader in both bee populations in Africa and in bee product business development. In addition, it far exceeds other African countries in terms of volumes of honey and beeswax harvested and traded, and levels of investment in the formal sector (Aby 2009). Ethiopia produces a total 42,180,346kg of honey per year, of which 40,075,363kg, 467,187kg, and 1,637,796kg are from traditional, transitional and modern hives respectively (CSA 2007). As a result, the per capita consumption of honey is assumed to be 0.57 kg assuming nothing is exported. Eighty-five percent of this honey is locally consumed for the preparation of ‘Tej’ (a mild alcoholic beverage popular throughout Ethiopia) leaving 15% or 6,330 tons of honey for export.  Such an amount of annual honey production in Ethiopia puts the country at first rank in Africa and tenth in world. Ethiopia is also the fourth largest beeswax (3200 tons per year without considering beeswax wasted in the rural areas) producer after China, Mexico and Turkey (Aby 2009).  About 95% of honey production is harvested by means of local methods from traditional hives (CSA 2007).

 

Despite the large quantity of honey and beeswax produced in the Ethiopia, the country has been unable to sell it on the world market as desired. One of the obstacles was getting the quality accreditation. Currently, however local honey prices are the highest compared to other Eastern and Southern African countries. Both raw and extracted honey has good local and international markets all the year round. The amount of natural honey exported from Ethiopia was about 406 tons and valued 1,179,000 USD and the wax export was about 415 tons and earned 1,825,000 USD in the year 2007/8 (Export Promotion Agency 2008).

 

Beekeeping activities provide many benefits for the smallholder producers and for the country as whole. It has a diverse range of products and by-products such as honey, beeswax, propolis, royal jelly and bee venom. These products are not only rich in carbohydrates, proteins and vitamins, but also have medicinal values. In crop farming, bees are also known to improve crop yields through increased efficiency in pollination. Beekeeping diversifies agriculture as it can be integrated with other agricultural activities like arable and pastoral farming, as well as agro forestry.

 

In Ethiopia, beekeeping is practiced as tradition, which means that most of the farmers in rural areas have hives. As a result, about 4,688,278 beehives are estimated to be found in the rural sedentary areas of Ethiopia, of which, 4,580,303 (97.7%) are traditional hives, 29,421 (0.63%) transitional hive and 78,554 (1.68%) modern beehives (CSA 2007). The traditional or fixed comb hive is a hollow structure made of cheap materials like clay, straw, bamboo, false banana leaves, logs, barks of tree, and animal dung. The intermediate or transitional hive is a long trough-shaped box with sloping sidewalls covered with bars of a fixed width. The modern hive or hive-with-frames is a brood (offspring) chamber (box) with a fixed bottom board and flight board. In the bottom board there is a ventilation hole size (15cmx30cm), which can be covered with fine wire mesh or other suitable material. According to CSA (2007) report, in Oromia regional state Honey harvest frequency has been reported to be 1.44, 1.33, and 1.71 per year from traditional, intermediate and modern hives, respectively (CSA 2007).

 

Shashemene and Arsi Negelle districts are among the honey and beeswax production potential areas found in south part of the country. On the other hand, the traditional honey production system is being threatened with many different constraints such as extensive use of pesticides and herbicides for cereal crop production and deadly chemicals for malaria eradication program which have substantially reduced honey production. Hence the country in general, and study area in particular, did not benefit from the existing potential for honey production. The intention of this survey was to investigate the honey production system, potential and constraints which are believed to direct the intervention activities or development works toward the improvement of the local knowledge-based production for their contribution to the micro-economy of the nation. The study targets the specific objective of production opportunities, honey production constraints and a honeybee resource base in the interface of farmers’ indigenous knowledge in beekeeping.

 

Materials and methods 

Description of the study area

 

The study was conducted in two districts of west Arsi zone of Oromia regional state namely, Arsi Negelle and Shashemene districts in 2007. Arsi Negelle and Shashemene district are located at 210km and 250 km south of Addis Ababa respectively.  They also located at 7 19'N to 7 40'N and 38 30'E to 38 53'E and 7 05'N to 7 19'N and 38 23'E to 38 41'E, respectively (Google earth Map). Both districts have low, mid and high altitude areas. Shashemene district lies within the altitude range of 500 to 1700m asl (above sea level) and Arsi Negelle district lies 500 to 2000m asl. Arsi Negelle district has vegetation cover of < 10.5% whereas Shashemene has 32.5% vegetation cover. Both districts practice mixed crop-livestock production system. Arsi Negelle has erratic type of bimodal rainfall. Shashemene district also has bimodal type of rainfall. The soil type of Arsi Negelle is mainly vertisol and alfisol with pH around 7.5 whereas soil type in Shashemene district is clay loam and sandy loam (OoARD 2009).

 

Team formation

 

A team comprised of researchers from different disciplines, i.e. from Animal Production, Socio-economics, Extension and Natural Resources, as well as bee experts and development agents in respective peasant association from each district was established. The purpose of creating a team from different disciplines was to address the issue of beekeeping from different angles hoping that each individual has his (her) own contribution from his (her) field of specialization. The researchers developed a checklist for data collection and presented it to other team members for discussion before discussing it with target farmers using different Participatory Rural Appraisal (PRA) tools.

 

Site and farmer selection

 

Secondary data on major beekeeping constraints, potentialities of the districts for beekeeping, agro-ecology, topography, climatic condition, amount and type of hives available in the district, etc, were collected from different districts. Arsi Negelle and Shashemene districts were selected purposely based on secondary information, personal observation, informal discussion with different peoples in the districts and accessibility. During selection, potential of the area for beekeeping is given due consideration. Similarly, villages and participant farmers were selected purposely based on numbers of farmers currently conducting beekeeping activities, number of hives possessed, past experience in beekeeping and willingness of the farmers to participate in the discussion. Accordingly, three peasant associations (Ashoka, Ali Woyo and Kersa Elala) from Arsi Negelle and two peasant associations (Chebi Dida Gnata and Hurisa Sinbo) from Shashemene districts were selected for the study. At each PA a minimum of twenty farmers were selected for discussion to gather the required information on beekeeping. The selections of participant farmers were made solely by the respective development agents who thoroughly know each farmer’s activities. Then, a series of discussions took place between the team and selected farmers to clearly describe the objectives of the study and action needed next to conduct the survey. Such discussions enabled the team to get ideas of the farmers and they allowed target farmers to clearly express their views

 

Methods of data collection

 

Different PRA tools were employed to collect information on different aspects of beekeeping practices. This participatory data-gathering was meant to identify honey production potential, constraints and other related issues. Applications of PRA tools were used as follows:

i.                    Preference ranking of types of hives to determine the preferred beehives in the study area.

ii.                   Preference ranking of income sources, to determine the relative importance to farmers of beekeeping relative to other income generation or other agricultural activities.

iii.                 Pair-wise ranking of major beekeeping constraints to identify and prioritize bottlenecks for beekeeping activities.

iv.                 A seasonal calendar of forage flowering and beekeeping activities was created.

v.                  Resources maps, showing hive baiting sites, forest, bee forage, crops and other resources, were drawn at some villages of the study area.

vi.                 Focused group discussion was also conducted to assess information not addressed by using above mentioned PRA tools.

 

Application of the above mentioned PRA tools was conducted by arranging a meeting with those selected farmers who were asked to draw things on the charts using materials easily available and familiar to them. Wherever possible the PRA practitioners only helped to demonstrate how to represent their concerns on the charts. Preference ranking exercises were comprised of two parts: pair-wise ranking and matrix ranking. Pair-wise ranking gives the relative preference for one income source, hive type or beekeeping constraints over others but fails to show the reason. The matrix ranking of reasons for preference shows why one hive type, income source or beekeeping constraint is preferred over the others, which sources had many minor reasons for preference and which had one or more major reason for preference.   

    
First hive types, then major beekeeping problems and income sources were included in the ranking exercises list. Different materials were used by the villagers and agreed upon to represent either livestock, crops or hive types. Moreover, with the help of some participant farmers who were able to read and write, villagers drew pictures of some activities, crops or livestock to represent the issues in question. For example, a picture of wheat was used to represent crops, a picture of standing goats to represent livestock and a picture of honeybee combs to represent bees and so on. In the first ranking exercise each item was compared with each other on a pair-wise basis, the preferred item being placed in the matrix cell. Where livestock preferred over the others the chart had a predominance of goats’ picture. In the same way, where crop was preferred; the chart had a predominance of wheat, and so on. This resulted in a matrix that was clear for literate and illiterate participants to understand.  Similarly, stones with different size were used in ranking major beekeeping problems in such a way that the stones were arranged in descending size implying that the larger stone  represents the serious beekeeping problems in that area.

 

After pair-wise ranking, a rank score was calculated for each item. Farmers were asked for reasons of preference or lack of preference for each item. Reasons for each hive type or income source receiving this score were listed and then new matrix tables were drawn with reasons down along the side reasons and items being ranked on the top. Participants then ranked each item in relation to the reason given, giving it a score out of 10. This allowed the participants and PRA practitioners to analyze why one item was preferred over others, and which reasons turned out to be more important than others were.

 

Participant farmers also listed major bee forages available and beekeeping activities conducted in their area. The flowering calendar for the bee forages was indicated on the chart, listing the months in the year on the top and the bee forages down the side (Table 1).



Similar trends were followed to show seasonal calendar of beekeeping activities in the study area (Table 2).



Wet and dry seasons were also indicated on the seasonal calendar for bee forage flowering or time of availability.  A resource map was drawn in all peasant associations included in the study.

 

Finally, focused group discussion was conducted to summarize the day’s activity and to point out issues not thoroughly addressed by other PRA tools. Major points of discussion were trends in honeybee colonies, honey production system, honeybee forages, market demand for honey, beekeeping constraints and suggested solution for the problems, etc. Participants generally enjoyed with the exercises and devoted their valuable time to take part.

 

Results and discussion 

Honey production and production system

 

Ethiopia has been amongst the principal honey and beeswax producers worldwide for centuries. Ethiopia produces 98% of its honey and beeswax from the traditional production system (CSA 2007). The farming communities of the study area practice the traditional beekeeping system.  The common traditional beekeeping activities practiced in the study area include: log shaping, wrapping hives, smoking hives and putting hives on the tree and tree trunks, feeding and watering honeybees, checking ripening of honey and harvesting. According to the participating farmers, bees and beehive management activities such as regular hive inspection and feeding honeybees during periods of feed and water scarcity are becoming familiar in Shashemene area.

 

Even though the production system remained traditional for many years, farmers have developed fairly good hive-protecting techniques against intruders and attackers; these techniques include wrapping an iron sheet or throne on the tree on which hives hang and spreading ash around the tree to avoid ant mounting. To protect hives from spiders, farmers routinely clean bushes around the tree on which hives are put. Similar protecting techniques are practiced by Adami Tulu Jido Kombolcha district farmers (Tesfaye and Tesfaye 2007)

 

In Shashemene and Arsi Negelle districts, honey is harvested two times a year. This is in agreement with the report of others (CSA 2007, Tesfaye and Tesfaye 2007). Based on the periodicity of the pollen and nectar flow, two honey harvesting periods were reported in a year. The major honey flow season is November to December and the minor honey flow is from May to June in both districts. This report agrees with the Amssalu (2000), Mathewos et al (2004) and CSA (2007) reports. The honey crop harvested in the November and December is larger than that of May and June in low-land areas of Arsi Negelle and Shashemene districts. The higher amount of production of honey in November and December is mainly attributed to the offset of the rainy season that results in flowering of diverse plant species. In the study area, honey is usually sold in unprocessed form and the selling is done right after harvest. Only a few farmers keep it for a more favorable market time. However, in the areas nearer to mountains, the major honey flow season occurs between the months of March to May mainly because of flowering season of croton macrostachy. The minor honey flow season is between November and December.

 

According to the report of the participating farmers the quantity of honey harvested from traditional hives is 2 - 15kg and 5 - 18kg per hive per harvest in Arsi Negelle and Shashemene respectively. The current report doesn’t agree with the report of Mathewos et al (2004) who reported 3 - 5kg of honey during the major harvest and 2 - 3kg of honey during the minor harvest. Kerealem et al (2009) in Amhara region also reported 5.1 - 9.8kg of honey per harvest. Good colony can produce over 100kg per year in Africa (Adjare 1990).

 

In the study area, farmers reported that almost all lack the skills and technology necessary for beeswax collection and processing. They also reported the uncertainty of market availability for the beeswax they may produce. More beeswax can be collected from a traditional hive than a modern hive (CSA 2007). Yet the production of beeswax not only usefully benefits the producing community but also can benefit the nation’s economy because beeswax is an exportable commodity. Interviews with participating farmers in both districts indicated that there is a rapid decrease of honey production due to dwindling vegetation cover and an ever increasing incidence of honeybee diseases in their localities.

 

Honeybee colony resources base

 

The existence of diversified species of plants in Shashemene district (Arsi Forest) has resulted in the existence of large colony populations in the area. According to Nuru (2002) as cited in Kerealem (2009) apis mellifera bandasi race is found in the study areas and central low-land, southern mid-altitude areas of Ethiopia.  Farmers of the Shashemene and Arsi Negelle districts informally, classify honeybees of the area as black and brown honeybees. But participating farmers reported that brown honeybees were found to be dominant in Arsi Negelle. In the Shashemene district both black and brown exist. They also reported that absconding is observed in both districts during the dearth period and right after honey harvest. According to observations of the farmers, the population of bee colonies is decreasing from year to year due to declining vegetation covers, honeybee diseases and many other constraining factors.

 

 Honeybee flora resource base

 

According to the respondents, still various honeybee plants exist in the area. This study took advantage when the informants listed the potential plant species from which honeybees are currently collecting pollen and nectar for making honey. Among these plant species are; Guizotia scabra, Hypoestes forskali, croton macrostachys, duranta repens, acacia sibirana, Prunus africana, schefflera abyssinica, syzgium guineense, Vernonia auriculata, Maytenus obscura, eucalyptus spp, vernonia amygdalina, apodytes dimidiate and allium cepa at shashamane and Hypoestes forskali, croton macrostachys, Vernonia auriculata, Vernonia amygdalina, Caucanthus auriculatus, Guizotia scabra, Maytenus obscura, Schefflera abyssinica, Cordia Africana, Syzgium guineense, Agave sisalana, Schinus molle, Acacia nubica, Grewia tenex, Eucalyptus spp, Dovyelie abissinica and Allium cepa in Arsi Negelle (Table 3).  


Table 3.  Honeybee forages reported by the respondents in Shashemene and Arsi Negelle

No

Scientific names

Local name

Plant type

1

Maytenus obscura

Gora

Shrub

2

Duranta repens

Kombolcha

Shrub

3

Vernonia amygdalina

Ebicha

Shrub

4

Vernonia auriculata

Reji

Shrub

5

Hypoestes forskali

Dargu

Herb

6

Syzgium guineense

Badessa

Tree

7

Eucalyptus spp

Bargemo

Tree

8

Apodytes dimidiate

Oda beda

Tree

9

Acacia sibirana

Lafto

Tree

10

Prunus Africana

Miessa

Tree

11

Schefflera abyssinica

Gatame

Tree

12

Croton macrostachys

Mokonissa

Tree

13

Guizotia scabra

Adala

Herb

14

Cordia Africana

Wodesa

Tree

15

Dovalis abyssinica

Koshim

Shrub

16

Caucanthus auriculatus

Gale

Climber

17

Schinus molle

Turimanturi

Tree

18

Agave sisalana

Kancha

Shrub

19

Grewia tenex

Karchache

Shrub

20

Allium cepa

Shunkurti dima

Crop


Similar plant species were identified as major pollen and nectar source for honeybees in Manasibu districts (Mathewos et al 2004) and around central low-land area (Amssalu 2000). Farmers reported Guizotia scabra is dominant honeybee forage in both Shashemene and Arsi Negelle districts followed by croton macrostachys.  According to the respondents of Shashemene and Arsi Negelle districts, June, July and August which are the months in main rainy season are reported to be periods of pollen and nectar scarcity; this disagrees with the Amssalu (2000) report of May to June which could be because of the agro-ecological difference. >From the beginning of the dry season (from late September) more nectar and pollen are available in both Shashemene and Arsi Negelle districts. This agrees with the Kerealem (2009) report of September to December.  Around the highland area there are many more honeybee plants that flower periodically.  One of the critical factors that drive apiculture development is the availability of adequate quantities and quality of bee forages (Azage et al 2006). According to the participating farmers, currently the vegetation cover in the study area is dwindling at alarming rate and this condition is posing obstacles to the great production potential of honey. But very recently, honeybees’ existences are being threatened by the enlargement of farmland and deforestation that is resulting in the destruction of most important plant and forest species. Mathewos et al (2004) reported honeybees are feeding on nectar and pollen of dangerous plant species for the sake of survival.

 

Major beekeeping constraints

 

The prevailing production constraints in the beekeeping development of the country are complex and to a large extent vary between agro-ecological zones and production systems (EARO 2000) as cited in Kerealem et al (2009). Variations of production constraints also extend to socio-economic conditions, cultural practices, climate (seasons of the year) and behaviors of the bees (Adjare 1990) as cited in Kerealem et al (2009). According to the participating farmers, shortage of honeybee forages, shortage of honeybee colonies, poisoning of agrochemicals, shortage of modern hives, prevalence of honeybee enemies, market problems, shortage of improved bee equipment, absconding and swarming problems, prevalence of honeybee diseases, lack of knowledge of the right harvest time and theft problems are the major beekeeping constraints of the area.  This report agrees with ‘shortage of bee forage’, ‘agrochemical poisoning’, ‘honeybee pest and diseases’, ‘shortage of bee colony’ which were also reported as the major beekeeping constraints in Amhara regional state (Kerealem et al 2009). Similar problems were identified in Adami Tulu Jido Kombolcha district (Tesfaye and Tesfaye 2007)

 

The major honeybee pests and enemies mentioned by farmers of both districts include ants, honey badger, bee-eater birds, wax-moth, spider and beetles. Similar honeybee pests and enemies were reported elsewhere (Kerealem 2005 as cited in Kerealem et al 2009; Tesfaye and Tesfaye 2007). The respondents also ranked the major constraints (Table 4).


Table 4.  Major beekeeping problems in Shashemene and Arsi Negelle

Problems

Shashemene

Arsi Negelle

Shortage of honeybee forages

1st

1st

Shortage of honeybee colonies

2nd

3rd

Poisoning of agrochemical

3rd

2nd

Shortage of modern hives

4th

4th

Prevalence of honeybee enemies

5th

5th

Market problems

6th

9th

Shortage of improved bee equipments

7th

7th

Absconding and swarming problems

8th

*

Prevalence of honeybee diseases

9th

6th

Lack of knowledge of the right harvest time

10th

*

Theft problems

*

8th

* = Not applicable in the area


Accordingly, the respondents of Shashemene district reasoned out for preference of shortage of honeybee forages over shortage of honeybee colonies, poisoning of agrochemical, shortage of modern hives, prevalence of honeybee enemies, market problems, shortage of improved bee equipment, absconding and swarming problems, prevalence of honeybee diseases and lack of knowledge of the right harvest time because the latter are more manageable and adjustable than the former.

 

The respondents of Shashemene district also reasoned out for preference of shortage of honeybee colonies over poisoning of agrochemical, shortage of modern hives, prevalence of honeybee enemies, market problems, shortage of improved bee equipment, absconding and swarming problems, prevalence of honeybee diseases and lack of knowledge of the right harvest time because the latter are more manageable and adjustable than the former.

 

The respondents of Arsi Negelle district also reasoned in the same way and gave reasons for preference of shortage of honeybee forages over shortage of honeybee colonies, poisoning of agrochemical, shortage of modern hives, prevalence of honeybee enemies, market problems, shortage of improved bee equipment, absconding and swarming problems, prevalence of honeybee diseases and lack of knowledge of the right harvest time, saying the latter are more manageable and adjustable than the former. But respondents of Shashemene and Arsi Negelle districts fall apart on the 2nd, 3rd and subsequent rankings of the beekeeping constraints.

 

Generally, the overall result showed that shortage honeybee forage is the greatest problem in both districts.

 

Farmers’ preference of hive types

 

Awareness levels of informants about the three hive types and their operation techniques are found to be almost the same in both districts. But to some extent the degree of awareness about the particular hive type’s operation techniques varies among PAs in the same district. In some villages, some farmers know all the three types (or two of the three) which they might have seen or heard from mass-media or development agents. For instance, informants of Chabi Dida Gnata of Shashemene district and informants of Ali Woyo know little about modern and transitional hive operation systems. This has created difficulties in summarizing beehive preference per district. Pair-wise ranking of the different hive types in different PAs of both districts are presented in Table 5


Table 5.  Pair-wise ranking matrix of different hive types with farmers of Shashemene and Arsi Negelle districts

Beehive types preference

Ashoka PA

Kersa Ilala PA

Hursa sinbo PA

Frequency

Rank

T

M

Tn

Frequency

Rank

T

M

Tn

Frequency

Rank

T

M

Tn

Traditional (T)

0

2nd

X

M

N/A

1

1st

X

T

N/A

1

2nd

X

M

T

Modern (M)

1

1st

 

X

N/A

0

2nd

 

X

N/A

2

1st

 

X

M

Transitional (Tn)

-

3rd

 

 

X

-

3rd

 

 

X

0

3rd

 

 

X

N/A = Not known in the area (the informants know only traditional and modern hive types)


In Shashemene district modern hive was preferred over the traditional and transitional hives for its ease for management, high honey yield, better quality, lower honeybees damage during honey harvest, big and taller trees not required and quality and quantity of honey produced from modern hives is well known than that of transitional hive.

 

The preference of traditional hive over transitional hive in this district was because of the familiarity of farmers with traditional hives in terms of skill required for preparation and utilization. However, farmers in Arsi Negelle district knew only the modern and traditional hive and similar reason were given for preference of modern over traditional hive.

 

Benefits of beekeeping relative to other income sources

 

Pair-wise ranking of the major income sources in Shashemene and Arsi Negelle districts are presented in Table 6.


Table 6. Major income sources of Shashemene and Arsi Negelle districts ranked using pair-wise ranking matrix

Source of income

Shashemene

Arsi Negelle

Crop(pulse and cereal) production (C)

1st

2nd

Livestock production (LS)

2nd

1st

Vegetable production (V)

3rd

5th

Beekeeping (B)

4th

3rd

Poultry farming (P)

5th

4th

Trade (micro enterprise) (T)

6th

*

Tree sale (Ts)

7th

*


Arsi Negelle respondents’ income preference matrix ranks livestock first. The respondents preferred livestock over crop because it generates more income than crops in the area. For instance livestock is used for crop production (traction), milk and meat production and its by-products are economically useful.  But for Shashemene district farmers’, crop production is ranks first because the district has large area of highland and mid-altitudes that favor cash crop production. Plus the proximity to the good access in nearby markets favors cash crop production. Livestock production comes second in generating income. Both districts’ farmers reasoned out for preference of livestock over poultry and beekeeping that, livestock can be sold or exchanged with much more money when compared with poultry and honeybee products i.e. 1 ox = 100 poultry. The farmers also have reasoned in the same way for other subsequent ranks.

 

Farmers ranked beekeeping 3rd and 4th (Table 6) out of the 5 or 7 income sources in pair-wise ranking in Arsi Negelle and Shashemene of districts respectively. But 3rd in both districts in the matrix ranking of reasons (Table 7 and 8) in multi-purpose of bees and their products created an overall higher score when ranking reasons in Shashemene district.


Table  7.  Pair-wise ranking matrix of the reasons for preference of different income sources in Shashemene district

Matrix ranking of reasons

LS

C

B

V

P

T

Score for reason

Food

8.5

10.0

3.0

5.5

3.5

0.0

30.0

Income

7.0

5.0

5.5

5.0

5.5

5.0

33.0

Plowing

10.0

0.0

0.0

0.0

0.0

0.0

10.0

Fertilizer

7.5

6.5

0.0

4.5

1.0

4.0

23.5

Transport

10.0

0.0

0.0

0.0

0.0

0.0

10.0

Medicinal value

7.5

5.5

9.0

6.0

7.0

0.0

35.0

Cultural value

7.5

6.5

10.0

0.0

0.0

1.0

25.0

As animal feed

0.0

1.0

0.0

1.0

0.0

1.0

3.0

As fuel wood

5.0

5.0

0.0

0.0

0.0

5.0

15.0

Construction

0.0

0.0

0.0

0.0

0.0

5.0

5.0

Total score

63.0

39.5

27.5

22.0

17.0

21.0

 



Table 8.  Pair-wise ranking matrix of the reasons for preference of different income sources in Arsi Negelle district

Matrix ranking of reasons

LS

C

B

P

V

Score for season

Food

7.0

10.0

3.7

3.0

5.0

28.7

Income

10.0

6.7

4.7

4.0

3.0

28.4

Transportation

9.0

0.0

0.0

0.0

0.0

8.00

Plowing

10.0

0.0

0.0

0.0

0.0

10.0

Threshing

5.0

0.0

0.0

0.0

0.0

5.00

Fertilizer

6.0

2.3

0.0

0.35

0.7

9.35

Fuel

1.0

5.0

0.0

0.0

0.0

6.00

Spoon

1.5

0.0

0.0

0.0

0.0

1.50

Animal Feed

0.0

6.7

0.0

0.0

0.0

6.70

Bee forage

0.0

2.0

0.0

0.0

1.0

3.00

Construction

1.3

3.3

0.0

0.0

0.0

4.60

Medicinal value

6.7

4.7

8.0

4.3

3.3

27.0

Cultural value

7.3

1.3

8.3

0.0

0.0

16.9

Total score

64.8

37.3

24.7

11.7

13.0

 

Key: LS = Livestock (Large and Small Ruminants) ; C = Crop (Pulse and Cereal Grains)

B = Beekeeping ; P = Poultry production ; V = Vegetable (Horticultural crops) productions

T = Trade (micro and small enterprise) ; Ts = Tree sale


Crop and livestock production ranked 1st or 2nd in pair-wise ranking of income scores but 1st in both districts in the matrix ranking of reasons. The higher score of livestock production were due to its multipurpose uses and they are means of crop production, vegetable production also improved its rank pair-wise ranking when ranked based on the reason. Some farmers in Shashemene district practice micro-enterprise and tree trading to diversify their income sources. Beekeeping was particularly valued for the medical and cultural values. Vegetables, poultry, tree sale and micro-enterprise ranked below beekeeping. Generally, ranking should include reasons in addition to pair-wise ranking of activities as there were differences in rank for a particular activity.

 

Table 7 and 8 show the matrix ranking of the reasons for preference of different income sources in Shashemene and Arsi Negelle districts respectively. These tables indicate the rank of the sources of income for the farmers and the reasons the farmers put forth. For instance, livestock are reared for income generation and multi-purpose use (i.e. for plowing, meat, milk and milk products production, hide and skin, horn for spoon production, cultural values and manure uses and transportation). In the same way, crops are produced for food, for generating income and multi-purpose use (i.e. as animal feed, construction materials and manure as fertilizer). In the same way, beekeeping has several advantages. For instance bees’ products are used as food, to generate income, for their cultural value and medicinal value, etc.

 

Opportunities for beekeeping development in Arsi Negelle and Shashemene areas

 

Beekeeping can significantly benefit the environment by increasing the yield of crops and forage production through enhancing efficient pollination and can be sustainable form of agriculture for the farmers. Honeybees also have great contribution in maintaining the equilibrium of the nature. In Arsi Negelle and Shashemene districts’ farming communities, beekeeping has a long standing history and strong cultural values. The main beekeeping production opportunities in the area are:


Recommendation and conclusion
 

The major problems of honeybee production in the country can be tackled with the appropriate research and development interventions (Kerealem 2009). In order to effectively use this untapped resource, the smallholder farmer should be the prime target of the research. A wide ranging assessment and analysis of the production environment is required in order to further improve formulated apiculture development policies and strategies.

 

A shortage of honeybee forages is the major production constraint to production in Arsi Negelle and Shashemene. Research into honeybee forage providing good quality year-round nectar and pollen source should be identified and documented. Re-forestation of demolished forest lands and conservation of the existing natural and man-made forest is important. Farmers should be encouraged to plant or sow multipurpose legumes. Some browse species can also be used as honeybees’ forage, particularly during the dry season because most browse species are drought resistant. Plants recommended by Nuru 2002 and Gichora 2003 as cited in Kerealem et al (2009) such as Vernonia auriculata., Echinops spp., Acacia spp., Acanthus spp., Helminthotheca echodes and Caylusea abyssinica are good and serve as subsistence forage to bees in dearth periods. After honey harvest the colony must be left with a portion of honey or otherwise be given suitable substitute feeds.

 

Many beekeepers lose their honeybee colonies every year due to agrochemical poisoning. In the areas like Arsi Negelle and Shashemene, where agrochemicals are used, inevitably honeybees are being harmed by the chemical sprays present on the plants where bees might forage and even on the flowering weeds alongside the fields. Some agrochemicals have some residual effect on bee products; these residuals might be hazardous to human health. Since it is difficult to completely prevent the effects of chemicals on honeybees, their effects can be reduced by strengthening integrated pest management programs, biological pest management systems or by using insecticides of relatively low toxicity with proper methods of application. Research should focus on the effects of agrochemical application, means of minimizing the effects and the development of non-chemical methods of insect control.

 

Development agents who would be involved in beekeeping must have the training first to enable them adequately provide technical assistance to beekeepers. Moreover, modern beekeeping requires close attention and technical assistance to the farmers who had little knowledge in operation systems. In all of the working areas, developing a honeybee reproduction calendar, honeybee forage flowering calendar, continuous supervision and technical assistance in hive management would help farmers learn more and improve their working capacity better.

 

Most of the beekeepers in the area have been using local technologies and equipment that result in minimal hive products; because of this most of the honey produced by the beekeeper is of very low quality. The honey produced is low quality because it is mixed with wax, pollen and brood. Research should focus on local honeybees’ husbandry system and development of appropriate bee equipment.

Recently honeybee pests and diseases have begun threatening the beekeepers and causing high mortality and severe economic loss. In this regard research must focus on investigation and diagnosis of factors that endanger the health of local honeybees in different agro ecology zones and establishing ways of prevention and control measures.

 

A shortage of honeybee colonies is also one of the constraints mentioned by beekeepers. To alleviate the problem, queen rearing techniques that can be easily adopted by farmers should be sought. The colony splitting technique is one of the easiest and most promising ways of colony multiplication. Therefore, along with extension of the technology to the farmers, training of beekeepers and support for them with nucleus hives and other beekeeping equipment is important. To solve market problems, farmers should be trained and/or advised to form honey producing cooperatives and unions. Then, unions or cooperatives can form market linkage with other producers and consumers.

 

In this paper the constraints to production and strategies to enhance development are discussed. Based on this study, the major constraints were shortage of bee forage, shortage of honeybee colonies, agrochemical poisoning, shortage of modern hives, prevalence of honeybee enemies, prevalence of honeybee diseases, market problems, absconding and swarming problems, lack of knowledge of the right harvest time and theft problems. Despite the different challenges encountered in this sub-sector, the opportunities for beekeeping development in the areas still exist due to the presence of natural resources (Arsi forest), high demand for hive products, the current attention of the government to develop apiculture as one of the strategies to reduce poverty, the establishments of beekeepers co-operatives/union, the involvement of nongovernmental organizations in the sub-sector and the presence of micro-finance institutes at the grass-root level.

 

Participating farmers also pointed-out the existence of great opportunities to reverse the declining trend of bee colony and honey production. The respondents also reported that there is great opportunity to mechanize bee farming with modern technologies and boost bees’ products due to ever-increasing demand for bees’ products and good access to local markets.  

 

Therefore, it can be concluded that beekeeping is still profitable activity to be undertaken anywhere in the west Arsi zone of Oromia regional state, Ethiopia.

 

References 

Aby Berhane 2009 Process honey and beeswax for export http://www.tradeinvestafrica.com/investment_opportunities/997649.htm Date accessed September 30, 2009

 

Adjare S 1990 Beekeeping in Africa. Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. Rome, Italy. http://www.fao.org/docrep/t0104e/t0104e00.htm

 

Amssalu Bezabeh 2000 Livestock production and the environment implications for sustainable livelihoods. Proceedings of the 7th annual conference of the Ethiopian society of animal production (ESAP) held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, 26-27 may 1999.

 

Amssalu Bezabeh 2004 Participatory innovation research: Lessons for livestock development. Asfaw Yimagnuhal and Tamrat degefa(Editors). In: Proceedings of the 12th annual conference of the Ethiopian society of animal production (ESAP) held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, 12-14 august 2004. ESAP volume 2: technical papers.

 

Azage T, Berhanu G, Hoeksra D 2006  Institutional arrangements and challenges in market-oriented livestock agriculture in Ethiopia. In: Proceedings of the 14th annual conference of the Ethiopian society of animal production (ESAP) held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, 5-7 September 2006.

 

CSA (Central Statistical Agency) 2007 Agricultural sample survey of 2007. Volume II report on: Livestock and Livestock Characteristics. Central Statistical Agency, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

 

District’s Office of Agriculture and Rural Development (OoARD) 2009 Arsi Negelle and Shashemene, Ethiopia.

 

Export Promotion Agency 2008 Natural honey: honey and wax http://agrimartg.org/otherdoc/NaturalHoneyandWax.pdf Date accessed September 30, 2009

 

Kerealem Ejigu,Tilahun Gebey and Preston T R 2009 Constraints and prospects for apiculture research and development in Amhara region, Ethiopia. http://www.lrrd.org/lrrd21/10/ejig21172.htm date accessed September 30, 2009

 

Mathewos Belissa, Alganesh Tola and Gizaw Kebede 2004 farm animal biodiversity in Ethiopia. Status and prospects. Asfaw Yimegnuhal and Tamirat Degefa(eds). Proceedings of the 11th annual Conference of the Ethiopian society of animal production (ESAP) held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, august 28-30, 2003.

 

Tesfaye Kebede and Tesfaye Lemma 2007 Study of honey production system in Adami Tulu Jido Kombolcha district in mid rift valley of Ethiopia. Livestock Research for Rural Development. Volume 19, Article #162. Retrieved March 29, 2010, from http://www.lrrd.org/lrrd19/11/kebe19162.htm



Received 25 Februay 2010; Accepted 25 April 2010; Published 1 July 2010

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