Improved bee forage development as an input to enhance beekeeping productivity and income of smallholder farmers in Ethiopia
Improved bee forage development as an input to enhance beekeep- ing productivity and income of smallholder farmers in Ethiopia International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI), IPMS-ILRI, P.O. Box 5689, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia1. Introduction 3.2 Understanding on the dynamics of bee forage sourcesBeekeeping has been indentified as an important income generating commoditythat fits well within the smallholder agricultural development and resource con-servations in Ethiopia. Traditionally, beekeeping has been managed as a sideline Rainfall patternactivity and its potential as sources of household income has been underutilized 90largely due to limited skills on the dynamics of nectar flow and its relationshipto honeybee colony management. In this regard, various interventions and ap- 75proaches has been tested and promoted on bee forage development integrated Rainfall distribution (%) 60with honeybee colony management to enhance market oriented beekeeping pro-ductivity. The approaches of bee forage interventions, achievements and lessons 45learned are presented. 302. Intervention approaches and implementation 15 0 Happy period Transitional period Dry period Frost period Period of the year 3.3 Changes in skills on Honeybee population Maximum Nectar flow status nectar flow Maximum Increasing nectar Declining Decline flow nectar flow Build up March July October February March July October February Month Month3. Achievements 3.4 Changes in skills on marketable oriented beekeeping products/bee forage3.1 Changes in bee forage availability Steep lands bee forage development: Before (left) and after interven- tion (right) 3.5 Mechanisms of skill/experience sharing and uptake • Learning and experience sharing platforms established. • Experience have been shared among experiences and less experienced beekeepers. Bottomlands bee for- • Special field visits, tours, exhibition and discus- age development: Be- sions to reflect lessons captured. fore (left) and after intervention (right) Uptake in Atsbi-Womberta district Backyard bee forage develop- ment: After intervention 4. Lessons learned Irrigated bee forage • Strengthen the skills and experience on basic understanding of the dynamic relationships of nectar flow and honeybee development: After colony management is essential for profitable beekeeping management. intervention • Beekeeping needs a year round full time follow up and found to be a profitable option for landless youth. • Establishment of learning platforms and experience sharing tour of beekeepers is an easy way to scale out and up market oriented beekeeping management. • Beekeeping has been a profitable business under extreme rainfall variability and relatively resilient to rainfall induced stress.