Received Date: June 02, 2015; Accepted Date: July 04, 2015; Published Date: July 13, 2015
Citation: Fikru S, Gebresilassie G, Kassa A (2015) Assessment of Beekeeping Practices (Absconding, Bee Forage and Bee Diseases and Pests) in Jigjiga Zone, Somali Regional State of Ethiopia. Poult Fish Wildl Sci 3:135. doi:10.4172/2375- 446X.1000135
Copyright: © 2015 Fikru S, et al. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.
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The present study was conducted in Jigjiga zone of Somali regional state. The study intended to assess the challenges, limitations and opportunities existing in the area for honeybee production. 50 respondents were interviewed from three districts (20 from Jigjiga, 15 from Awbare and 15 from Kebribeyah). The collected data were analyzed using SPSS 10.0 version software and the results were interpreted and presented using Descriptive Statistics. Based on the results of this survey, all the three types of honeybee production systems were identified, namely: Traditional, Movable comb top-bar and modern honey bee production systems. Beekeeping in the study areas was dominantly a man’s occupation (100%). The main Honeybee flora compositions of the study area were sunflower, maize and other flowering plants. Based on the result of this study, the major challenges were high cost of modern hive, lack of bee forage, pests and predators, lack of water, honeybee diseases, marketing problems, lack of honey storing facilities. The opportunities for beekeeping in the study area were the presence of numerous wild honeybee colonies and high demand of honey. There is no extension service from governmental sectors but some training for few farmers from NGOs.
Absconding; Flora; Hive; Honey; Smoker; Swarming
Ethiopia is known for its tremendous variation of agro-climatic conditions and biodiversity which favored the existence of diversified honeybee flora and huge number of honeybee colonies . The diversified agro climatic conditions of the country create environmental conditions conducive for the growth of over 7000 species of flowering plants of which most are bee plants . It has the largest bee population in Africa with over 10 million bee colonies, out of which about 5 to 7.5 million are estimated to be hived while the remaining exists in the wild [3,4]. The annual honey production of Ethiopia is estimated to be 45,300 metric tons which makes the country to rank first honey producing country in Africa and ninth in the world  accounting for about 23.58 % of total African and 2.13% of the world honey. The total bee wax production estimates about 3,800 tons per year. Such an amount puts the country 4th in beeswax production worldwide. Moreover, Ethiopia has the potential to produce up to 500,000 tons of honey and 50,000 tons of beeswax per year . As noted by FAO  cited in Abebe  unpublished Data. Ethiopia is leading in Africa in honey production and in beeswax production. Honey and beeswax play significant role in the national economy of the country and support the national economy through foreign exchange earnings. It is also observed that a large number of people (intermediaries and traders) participate in honey collection and retailing (at village, district and zonal levels). Thousands of households are engaged in “tej” making in almost all urban areas; hundreds of the processors are emerging and exporters are also flourishing which indicate the role of the sub-sector in employment generation .
About 4,601,806 hives exist in Ethiopia out of which about 95.5% are traditional, 4.3% transitional and 0.20% frame hives . The traditional beekeeping accounts for more than 95% of the honey produced and nearly all the beeswax produced in the country. The present study was undertaken to investigate beekeeping constraints and indigenous enemies and pest protection methods in Jigjiga zone selected district, East Ethiopia (Figure 1). By charring out integrated and multidisciplinary studies to emphasis on the major traditional aspect, therefore, this study was initiated to tighten the existing wide information gap and generating information that can be used for further development of the sector.
Beekeeping in Ethiopia is still very traditional which is carried out dominantly in forest/bushes, and only few in home gardens in all parts of the country. The bees and the plants are constantly under threat because of land degradation and removal of vegetation cover for increasing crop production. Thus, production, productivity and quality of honey produced in the country is generally poor and below national potential. In addition, the smallholder producers have currently limited access to market due to low level of productivity; poor product quality and market barriers, such as poor infrastructure, lack of favorable trade policy and shortage of finance and lack of collective bargaining power. Thus, there is a strong need to help small producers in Ethiopia to achieve sustainable and fair access to honey market in order to increase their income and secure their livelihoods .
In general, this action research aims at collecting data and providing analytical information that guide government organization in the formulation of public policies, institutions and infrastructural development affecting the sub-sectors, and the introduction of new honey production and processing technologies. The research also aims to assist government and non-government organization to design intervention strategies to help farmer and other business groups in meeting the increased demand for food and address the challenges existing across the value chain of honey that hinder smallholder producers and business groups from maintaining and expanding their market bases to increase their income from honey production. The general objective of this work was Assessing Beekeeping Practices (Absconding, Bee Forage and Bee Diseases and Pests) in Jigjiga Zone, Somali Regional State of Eastern Ethiopia.
Statement of the problem
It’s known that Somali regional state in general and Jigjiga zone in particular is known for its potential for beekeeping production. There are a lot of resources; honey bee flora, honey bee colony. But use of such potential resources remained to be minimal in many aspects, Due to many challenges. So, this study identified a lot of bottlenecks, like Lack modern hive, lack of improved technologies, lack of institutional support, seasonal fluctuation of honey bee flora, occurrence of drought etc.
Description of the study area
Jigjiga zone is one of the nine administrative zones of the Somali Regional State, located 750 km southeast of Addis Ababa. The total land cover is 40,861 km2 of which the rangeland extends over 36,629 km2 . About 52.6%, 31% and 7% of the landscape of the zone can be categorized as flat to gentle slopes, hills and steep slope, respectively . Based on altitudinal classification, the midland (1500–2300 m.a.s.l.) agro-ecological zone constitutes about 95% of the Jigjiga zone . Temperature in the Jigjiga zone is generally high all the year round where the mean minimum value is around 20ºC and the mean maximum around 35ºC. According to National Meteorological Service Agency  report, the mean annual rainfall is 660 mm. The rainfall condition in the zone has generally low, unreliable and an uneven distribution.
Sampling technique and sample size
To achieve the objective of the study, purposive sampling was applied on three districts among six districts which dominantly produce and based on abundance of bee keeping potential. Fifteen days before the start of the normal survey discussion with the agricultural extension staff especially livestock experts and development agents were done by using the open-ended discussion. The elders and those pastoralists who have better experience beekeeping participated in the discussion which helps to identify areas where beekeeping production is practiced. Based on the understanding and agreement with these officials, community elder and leaders; the real survey was conducted.
From the selected districts the respondents was selected purposively who engaged in bee production. A total of 50 households who engaged in bee production were used for interview.
Data was collected by interviewing the beekeepers and formal (diagnostic) survey by using semi-structured questionnaire. Data on bee hive production and management system, challenges and opportunities for beekeeping farming in the area, status of individuals and cooperatives involved in beehive farming, interest of the community and cooperatives toward bee keeping practice in the area were assessed. In addition, secondary information from office of agriculture and other organizations relevant for this study were collected. Enumerators, who can speak local language with a minimum of grade 9 to 12 educational backgrounds of total of 15 individual were employed and trained for at least three days on the objectives of the study, ethical issues, method and approach how to administer formal survey questionnaire and data collection.
Data collected was managed in such a way that the qualitative as well as quantitative variables are selected. The data collected by using semistructured questionnaire was entered in to MS-excel and imported to SPSS (version 20.0) software and also coded for analysis. Descriptive statistics were used to describe quantitative factors. Standard error of mean ± (SE) was used to describe means while percentage was used for describing qualitative characteristics. The results were expressed in percentage and mean ± SD of the results from the questionnaire.
Socio-economic characteristics of the households
Household characteristics: Table 1 shows the socio-economic status of the respondents in the study areas. All most all of the respondents were males accounting for 100.00% (n=50) of the sample. This indicated that higher proportion of beekeeping or all beekeeping activities are left for male no female participation in beekeeping activity. The age characteristics indicated that most of the respondents fell within the range of 46-65 years (57.10%) followed by 28.6% (16- 45 years) and only (14.3%) of the sampled respondents were aged above 65 years. There was variation in education background, with the majority of 1-8 grades (44.00%), others illiterate (28.01%) and 9-12 grade (28.01%). Most of the beekeepers are muslins (85.7%) and only few (14.3) are orthodox. Regarding the marital status of the beekeepers in the study area, 85.7% are married while the rest 14.3% are single. The report indicates that marital status of the study area is greater than the marital status of national average which is 50 % for both sexes .
|Sex of respondents|
|Age category of the household|
|Educational status of the respondents|
|Religion of the household|
|Marital status of the household|
Table 1: Socio-economic characteristics of households in the three studied woreda are of Jig-jiga zone. (Based on data form of the selected study households). Source: Field survey, September, 2014
Land holding and allocation in hectare: Largest number of the respondents (44.00%) from the three selected woredas have more than 1.5 hectare of total land holding, followed by (42.02%) respondents having <0.5 hectare of total land holding. A few of them (14.3%) have a total land holding of (0.5-1.5) hectare. Regarding to the backyard land holding Largest number of the respondents (72.00%) from the three selected woredas have <0.5 hectare of land and equal number of the respondents (n=7) have a backyard area of (0.5-1.0) and >1.0 hectare.
44.05% of the beekeepers have a farm land area of (0.5-1.0) hectare. 28.14% of respondents have <0.5 hectare and similar number of the respondents, i.e., 28.14% have >1.0 hectare of farm land area (Table 2). 42.09% (n=21) of beekeepers have a grazing land for their animals in addition to their beekeeping activities. The minimum percentage of the respondents (14.03%) have (0.5-1.0) hectare of land for plantation while the higher percentage (44.09%) of the respondents have <0.5 hectare of plantation area which for growing flowering plants for their bee colonies.
|Total land holding|
|Back Yard Area|
|Farm Land area|
|Grazing land holding|
Table 2: Land holding of households in the three studied woredas of Jig-jiga zone. (Based on data form of the selected study households). Source: Field survey, September, 2014
Major crop types the beekeepers grew during the cropping season: As indicated in Table 3 above majority of the respondents (71.43%) were able to produce naturally growing flowering plants other than maize or sunflower by themselves. Only 28.58% of the respondents produce or grew sunflower and maize as a source of honeybee food.
|Other flowering plants||36||71.43|
Table 3: The major crop types that the households grew during the cropping season. Source: Field survey, September, 2014.
Credit availability and their sources: As indicated in Table 4 below the chance to get credit for beekeepers is rare, only 14.3% (n=7) of the respondents got credit. 85.7% (n=43) of the respondents could not get the chance in one or another way. 4 beekeepers got the credit from individual lenders while three of beekeepers out of the seven beekeepers got the credit from their relatives. The major difficulty to get credit is inaccessible of credit agents (46.51% responded), unavailability of credit (30.23% responded) and late delivery of the credit (23.25% responded). All of the respondents in the study area used the credit they got to buy hive (n=3), to buy beekeeping equipments (n=3) and to buy bee colony (n=1).
|The purpose of credit|
|To buy hive||3||42.90|
|To buy bee colony||1||14.30|
|To by beekeeping equipments||3||42.90|
|Source of credit|
|Why not they get credit|
|Inaccessible of credit agents||20||46.51|
Table 4: Credit Accessibility.
Under this section beekeeping practices, sources of bee colony, numbers and types of hives the beekeepers have, and apiary sites and the overall beekeeping activities in the honeybee production systems of the study areas are discussed.
As indicated in Table 5, all the farmers in the study area started beekeeping activities 5.50 ± 0.48 years ago with tradtitional hive. All of the farmers 100% (n=50) started their beekeeping activities by using traditional type of hive. But currently only 28.12% (n=14) farmers have traditional one while 71.92% of the respondents have all the three types of hive (traditional, transitional movable hive and modern hive). Now all the respondents have an awarness on improved beekeeping technology especialy starting from the past 2 ± 0.31 years ago. Each and every respondents currently have 23 ± 3.75 hives. The price of one honey colony is 1171.43 ± 91.84 ethiopian Birr. The farmers sell 60.71 ± 15.94 kg of heney per year. The higher percentage of the respondents 57.75% (n=29) put their hives in the backyard areas, 28.01% put both in backyard area and hanging on the tree and only 14.3% hang their hive on the tree. Mostly the source of honey bee colony in the study area is by catching the swarms 71.43%, gift from parents 14.29% and by buying from the local sellers 14.29%. Every respondent in the study area own 8.71 ± 2.57 empty hives and 5 ± 6.8, 3 ± 1.67 and 5 ± 4.40 traditional, movable and modern empty hives, respectively.
|Variable||Mean ± SEM||SD|
|When to start beekeeping (year)||5.50 ±0.48||1.27|
|When to start improved Beekeeping technology (years)||2±0.31||0.82|
|Price of one colony (in Birr)||1171.43 ±91.84||242.99|
|Amount of hive they currently owned||23 ±3.75||9.92|
|Amount of honey they sell per year (Kg)||60.71 ±15.94||42.17|
|Amount of Empty Hive the farmers have||8.71 ±2.57||2.23|
|Amount of Empty traditional Hive||5 ±6.8||1.52|
|Amount of Empty movable Hive||3 ±1.67||0.51|
|Amount of Empty modern Hive the farmers have||5 ±4.40||1.05|
|Awarness of improved beekeeping technology||50||100.00|
|Types of hive the farmers currently have|
|All 3 hive types||36||71.92|
|Types of Hive They Used in First Time|
|Site or Placement of Hive|
|Hanging on the tree||7||14.3|
|Source of Bee Colony|
|Gift from paraents||7||14.29|
Table 5: Type, amount and source of honey bee colony and hive.Source: Field survey, September
Trends of beekeeping in the study area
Ethiopia is the leading honey and wax producers worldwide for centuries. Ethiopia produce about 98% of it is from traditional hives . For many farmers, beekeeping is one of their major activities in addition to livestock keeping and agriculture. Not all round the year but sometimes, there is an increase in honey bee colony in each farmer’s apiary site. As indicated in Table 6, this increment is because of availability of good market price. But sometimes the colony number decreases because of varies factors. As the data collected from the respondents show, most of the apiary sites face shortage of food for their honey bee colony.
|Constraints||% of respondents||Rank|
|High cost of modern hives and accessories||44.30||1|
|Shortage of bee forage||23.50||2|
|Pests and predators||20.50||3|
|Poor infrastructure development||17.70||4|
Table 6: Major constraints of beekeeping in the study area. Source: Field survey, September, 2014
Most of the respondents replied that honey is collected at end of rain season between October and December. From the total interviewed farmers, about 73.6% were harvesting honey only once time per year. It was observed that most of these beekeepers were used traditional hives for honey production. The reaming 26.4% of the respondents were harvesting honey twice per year. These respondents were able to harvest honey twice per year because of they are practicing provision of supplementary feed for their bee colonies during the dry season and also follow seasonal colony management practice.
Major constraints of beekeeping in the study area
Ethiopia has immense natural resource for beekeeping activity. However, like any other livestock, this sub sector has been ceased by complicated constraints. The prevailing production constraints in the beekeeping sub sector of the country would vary depending on the agro ecology of the areas where the activities is carried out [13,15].
High cost of modern bee hives and accessories
The interviewed beekeepers responded during the field survey that some of the bee equipments such as modern bee hives, wax printers and honey extractors are very expensive and thus farmers could not affordable to buy and use these equipments (Table 6). Currently, the cost of one modern bee hive ranges from 900-1000 Ethiopia birr, the cost of honey extractor is ranges 4,000-5,000 Ethiopian birr and the cost of wax printer is ranges from 5,000-6,000 ETB, . As a result of these, there is a shortage of appropriate technologies for production, collection, processing, packing and storage in the area. As indicated in Table 4 Unavailability credit, Inaccessible of credit agents and late delivery of credits for those farmers who want to invest in modern honey production in the district. Most of the district farmers were resource poor and thus they are unable to buy and use modern bee technologies to improve honey yield (Figures 2A-2D).
Shortage of bee forage
According to the interviewed beekeepers, this problem is directly related with season. They faced shortage of bee forage at dry season. They get surplus bee forage at wet season i.e. summer, autumn and spring. So at time of dry season they supply additional feed source for their honey bee colony like sugar syrup, barley flour, honey, pea flour and chick pea flour (Figure 3).
Pests and predators
Ethiopia, as one of the sub-tropical countries, the land is not only favorable to bees, but also for different kinds of honey bee pests and predators that are interacting with the life of honey bees . Pests and predators cause a serious devastating damage on honey bee colonies with in short period of time and even overnight. The interviewed beekeepers were stated the major bee pests and predators in the district were: mites, spider, bee-eater birds, lizard etc. are the most serious problems to beekeeping development.
As illustrated in the chart below the higher percentage (37.5%) of interview responded that their source of water for their honeybee colony is the nearby pond. Followed by water harvesting structures (25.0%) as a Source of water for their honey bee colony (Figures 4 and 5).
Beekeeping equipment’s and protective materials
Effective bee colony management requires the use of appropriate equipment and accessories, e.g., modern bee hives, the protective clothing, bee smoker, bee brush and hive tools. Lack of these equipment and protective clothing has been a big hindrance to the adoption of beekeeping and the resultant low productivity. The experiences in the other part of the country have shown that growth of the apiculture sub-sector in terms of efficiency and productivity is mainly dependent on technology inputs. Moveable frame beehives and intermediate bee hives are an existing improved honey production technology, . But these technologies have not been adopted adequately by many beekeepers in the study area (Figures 6A-6D).
Only 70% of the respondents use different types of beekeeping equipment’s like smoker, gloves, boots, water sprayer, bee brush, queen excluder, and knife and bee veil. The rest 30% of the respondents use no beekeeping equipment’s. They use their bare hands for any kind of beekeeping activities. So this is one factor to hinder the sector in the study area.
Reproductive swarming is a common phenomenon in honeybee colonies. As indicated in the Table 7 below, in all respondents’ colony there is an occurrence of swarming. In 57.14% (n=29) respondents apiary site, swarming occurs in every season of the year while in the rest farmers apiary site (42.85%) it occurs every year that means once in the year. Respondents added that the seasonal swarming occurs every spring season this is the presence of surplus bee forage. Even though swarming is advantageous to the farmers, but most of the farmers are not capable of controlling swarming while a few of them are capable of controlling swarming. They can control swarming by removing queen cells, by using large volume hives, or by supplying empty hive. But those who fail to control swarming are due to lack of those listed techniques.
|Presence of swarming||50||100|
|Frequency of swarming|
Table 7: Swarming frequency Source: Field survey, September, 2014
Inspection of honeybee colonies
Sample respondents were interviewed to describe the frequency of inspecting their apiary and honeybee colonies and 13.3%, 14.02% and 23.45% of the respondents replied that they take a look internally into the hives every week, every fifteen day and every month (Table 8) respectively. Moreover 15.23%, 23.21% and 37.6% of respondents inspect externally every week, every fifteen day and every month, respectively. Though, inspection of hives and apiary is indispensable to safeguard honeybee colonies from different natural disasters and various hazards (pests, diseases and chemical poisoning), respondent beekeepers believe in that visiting the apiary and the hive externally or internally during rainy season causes diseases. For this reason, during rainy seasons the apiary is covered with grasses which may intern serve as a hiding place of pests of honeybees. Experiences show that external colony inspection can be done at any season, however, caution is required in what season and at what frequency the internal inspection should be conducted. In this regard, training beekeeper farmers is essential.
|Total sample (N=50)|
|Types of inspection|
|Inspection frequency||Internal (%)||External (%)|
|Every 15 day||14.02||23.21|
|Not at all||13.77||4.36|
Table 8: Percent distribution of frequency of external inspection of apiary by farmers. Source: Field survey, September, 2014
Honey production and season
The amount of honey produced from one bee hive per year varies from places to places, which in most cases is determined by the existences of plenty pollen and nectar source plants and the level of management and input. The maximum amount of honey harvested from traditional, movable hive and modern hive were 7, 8 kg and 9 kg respectively and the minimum records from all three type of hives in the study areas were 4 kg, 4 kg and 6 kg (Table 9). These results are indicators of the existence of room for increasing performances of these beehives through improved use of hive. This also notes us that they are still below the line of productivity what the beekeeping industry can perform. Based on the results of the current study, the average amount of honey harvested from traditional, movable and modern hive were 5.86 kg, 5.86 kg and 7.14 kg per hive, respectively (Table 9). The honey value obtained from traditional hive is almost equal to the national average yield (5 kg) and the result reported by  that states the average amount of honey harvested per traditional hive in West, South West and North Shewa zones to be 6.2 kg.
|Total sample (n=120)|
Table 9: Average Productivity of different hives. Source: Field survey, September, 2014
Storage (packing) practices of honey
The majority of the sample households responded that they do not store honey primarily because of high demand of honey in the study area and secondly because of lack of storage facilities. But Sometimes some beekeepers keep the honey for prolonged period when at the time of they could not get buyer or to get better price in off time. Nearly 73.4% of respondents sold their honey immediately after harvest. The remaining 26.6%, sold during one, two, three, four and five months after harvesting time. Because all beekeepers in the study area do not have any association (Honey Collection and Marketing Cooperative), which may give them an opportunity to benefit from rise in price in off-seasons, they sell their honey to other customers. Although honey is generally produced chiefly for sale, farmers do keep some amount for different purposes. In the study area, the harvested honey was used for income generating (56.9%), home consumption (22.4%), and cultural ceremonies (12.3%), as a medicine (8.4%) and as a beverage. As reported by the sample respondents, plastic bucket (100%) was used to store honey for short period.
In the study area, some beekeepers got beekeeping extension service from NGO. There were no extension workers in the study area to encourage or to give advices for the farmers from governmental sector. Some of the respondents got training or experience from senior farmers or from neighbor farmers. From the foregoing analysis, it can be concluded that the respondents were not receiving any kind of extension support from extension workers. This would have negative contribution for apicultural sector in the study area. So the farmers should be offered effective extension service (Figures 7A and 7B).
The authors are very grateful to Jigjiga university research directorate for consistent support starting from the beginning to the final stage of this work, collaboration with field work, data collection for his support and encouragement by financing this work. The Somali regional state Agricultural office is also gratefully acknowledged for the support in collection of the data and offering the required data in due course of data collection.