Bees for Development believes that beekeeping can be a feasible means for people to move themselves out of poverty; that wax and honey production can be a lucrative, cash generating activity. However, for beekeeping to offer a significant boost to household incomes it must be done on sufficient scale to make a difference. This may be challenging for people who are used to working at subsistence level, with low levels of production and informal trade but it is increasingly understood that subsistence farming alone cannot lift people out of poverty.
In most countries there is high demand for honey that is frequently not met by local production and with increasing interest in healthy lifestyles this market is expanding. Consequently, if producers are able to satisfy local markets and then gain access to more distant urban markets all sections of the supply chain will be more satisfied and thousands of new producers will be able to participate. This will raise both individual incomes and contribute to the national economy.
This change is not about creating very large scale bee farms - it is already known that the scale at which people produce honey is very variable. The key to the growth of the industry is for many beekeepers to be involved, for each beekeeper to be motivated to increase their harvest and to change the way trade works so that bulked honey can be supplied directly from the producers to consumers, packing companies or wholesalers. In this way developing small and medium scale beekeeping at household level can supply a growing industry.
Of course, the conditions for beekeeping must be right but this is not the focus of this page. To transform and increase trade the following points need to be considered:
The best way for beekeepers to be able to access these opportunities is to form a marketing group for consolidating honey. Consolidating, or bulking honey is the accumulation of honey from a number of producers into a large quantity with the intention of making a large-scale, single onward sale or processing and packing. Without being able to offer significant volumes of honey to a buyer, producers are vulnerable to taking whatever price they can get. Marketing honey as group enables beekeepers to offer a large volume of honey for sale, negotiate better terms and lower their marketing costs. This system also allows beekeepers to pack for retail sale themselves or to sell directly to existing packers. Access to a reliable market will encourage beekeepers to take the necessary steps to improve quality, for example using only appropriate and clean containers and to implement traceability systems, an essential component of international export standards.
Print topic information
|African Honey Trade Workshop (no.81)||Bees for Development|
|Assessment of the status and capacity of honey packers and beekeepers in Uganda||Bees for Development|
|Beekeeping economics - woodland beekeeping in Zambia||Janet Lowore, Nicola Bradbear|
|Bees, trade - and success||Ingram, V.|
|CABESI - a multi-faceted, self-help project||Gloor, R. & Thomas, H.|
|Generating Income From Beekeeping in Afghanistan||FAO|
|Governing Forest Commons in the Congo Basin: Non-Timber Forest Product Value Chains||Ingram, V.|
|Guiding Hope Business Award Press Release||Guiding Hope|
|Honey from Africa and the international market||Bees for Development|
|Increasing marketing opportunities in Amhara Region, Ethiopia||Mekonnen, S.|
|Market access centres make the difference||Thierry,B; Schneider,E|
|Market access for beekeepers||Lowore, J. Bradbear, N.|
|Marketing Bee Products||IBRA|
|Organic Beekeeping, the experience of Cooperativas Sin Fronteras||Valdes, H.|
|Plan Bee; linking Kenya beekeepers to the market.||Baiya, H. and Nyakundi, B.|