Ethiopia has the potential to harvest more than 500,000 tons of honey annually, Expert said.
Because of its unique production environments and suitable climate, Ethiopia has comparative advantages to produce and supply high-quality honey and beeswax for the global market at competitive price.
International Centre of Insect Physiology and Ecology (icipe) More Young Entrepreneurs in Silk and Honey (MOYESH) Programme Coordinator Dr. Workneh Ayalew told The Ethiopian Herald that the country has a wide potential for honey production.
Currently, the country is producing honey below its potential. Despite, the potential to harvest 500,000 tons of honey, it is harvesting not more than 60,000 tons of honey annually.
Besides, there is a potential to harvest up to 50,000 tons of beeswax but the country is harvesting below 10,000 tons of beeswax annually.
The Climate Resilient Green Economy (CRGE) strategies and the ongoing comprehensive forest rehabilitation efforts could contribute a lot to generate more income from the beekeeping sub-sector.
The millions of hectares of protected and rehabilitating degraded habitats, forests, and bushlands can be used to establish commercial beekeeping, according to him.
Ethiopia is endowed with diverse agro-ecologies that are very suitable for raising honeybees where indigenous bee forages can support commercial beekeeping and promote honey sector investment, he said.
By making sufficient inputs available, conserving indigenous plant species, allocating suitable area of harvesting and infrastructure, designing proper policies, promoting market linkage, among others, are fundamental towards harnessing the honey sector potential, Dr. Workneh said.
Research surveys indicate that there are more than 7,000 indigenous plant species that help to harvest quality honey products countrywide.
Pesticide chemicals application on crops, lack of modern honey harvesting technologies, and the low attention given to the sector are challenging the sector's production and contribution for the national economy, he said adding, ensuring integrated pest management and reducing the application of chemicals on crops is important.
"Every chemical has its own short-term and long-term consequences on vegetation and insects like bees. Thus, utilizing organic-based and pro-environment agricultural inputs is important to maintain the safety of biodiversity," he stressed.
Beyond honey and beeswax production, bees play a significant role in facilitating pollination for the flower industry, coffee, crops, and fruit and vegetables.
Rehabilitating bees is essential not only for the honey production but ensuring sustainable ecological services.
Credit: The Ethiopian Herald