Situation of beekeeping and its implication for SAMS Business Development in Ethiopia
In Ethiopia, beekeeping is a longstanding traditional practice and currently out of ten households, one (10 %) keeps honeybees. The country’s potential for honey production is huge, with production potential of 500 thousand tones. This is because of the fact that the country has a diverse and unique natural and cultivated flora that is suitable for beekeeping. This has helped to put the country among the major honey producers in the world. Honey in Ethiopia generally produced as a cash crop, with yearly sales amounting 90 to 95 % of total production. Because of the lack of appropriate market, 70 % of the marketed honey goes to the production of fermented local beverage (Tej) and only 30 % is used as table honey. This fact shows that if beekeeping properly supported and the huge potential is tapped, business development/Commercialisation of beekeeping activities is relatively easier in Ethiopia. Commercialisation in the context of SAMS entails creating business minded beekeepers, scaling-up production, addressing quality and apiary management issues, developing cooperatives, establishing market links with processors, buyers and so on.
Left: Tej in special glass, ready for consumption. Right: Purified table honey.
In order to realise a sustainable market, HOLETA planned to promote a strong role for the private sector in establishing business relationships and commercialisation of different SAMS products. In this approach, private sectors will take the lead in mobilizing beekeepers and providing training and other embedded services. In such approach, beekeeping commercialisation developed with the expansion of honey production that could successfully generate a marketable surplus. In the process HOLETA’s complementary support services included:
- enhancing the capacity of private companies to establish business relationships and develop export competitiveness
- Strongly work with other local and international partners in facilitating and developing SAMS businesses and the extension of SAMS techniques
- Promoting the increased engagement of youth and women.
Business relationship development
Collaborative activities and capacity development initiatives were agreed between HOLETA and two private companies to engage beekeepers in SAMS business development and relationships during the last two months and this imitative will continue with other similar companies and private operators. The planned activities included providing beekeepers with training in production and quality and honey collection and marketing arrangements.
Quality assurance manuals
International buyers are coming to realise the huge potential of apiculture in Ethiopia, and are willing to invest more of their time and money on business partnerships. Measures required to support these opportunities include a strong legal framework to address adulteration, raising awareness of honey quality issues at the country level. HOLETA will develop one quality management manual on quality production and harvest, processing and marketing and food safety in local language.