The study analysed costs and returns of small scale honey bee production in Ohaozara Local Government Area of Ebonyi State, Nigeria. A multi-stage random sampling technique was used in selecting a total of 40 respondents for the study. Primary data used for the study were collected with the aid of structured questionnaire that was administered to sampled respondents. Both descriptive and inferential statistics were used to analysed field data collected. The result shows that greatest majority (83.33%) of the respondents were within the age of 21-50 years. Also, majority (54.17%) of them were male who were married (51.67%) while (55.83%) of them had household size of between 5-9 persons. Moreso, majority (82.5%) of the honey bee producers have acquired various forms of formal education. Further analysis indicates that 74.17% of them are Christians who are mostly traders (37.5%). Arable crop production (52.5%) dominated the agricultural activities of the honey producers, while 65.0% of them have hives capacity of above 30 litres. The annual income from bee production was mostly (42.5%) found to be below N50,000.00, while more than half (61.67%) of them earned a annual total income of N200,000.00 and above. The study further showed that most (48.33%) of respondents used stan on the ground method for honey production. Based on the type of feed used for honey production, sugar syrup and nectar with 57.5% and 37.5% responses respectively were observed among the producers, while most (48.335) of them preferred harvesting honey in the daytime. The methods of colony building adopted by the producers were: collect swarms (32.5%), purchase colonies (40.85), and purchase nucleus colonies (34.17%). Hives use for honey production were mostly clay pot (40.83%) and landstroth (40.0%). Most (49.17%) of the respondents sourced their materials from open market. The most marketing strategies employed by the honey producers were: creating awareness (36.67%), sales promo (23.33%), sales through middlemen (40.0%) and retailers (26.67%). Small scale honey production was found to be profitable with a profit of N102,950.00 and a gross margin of N139,300.00 while the benefit cost ratio (BCR) was N1.96k. The small scale honey producers identified institutional, economic, and social constraints as factors constraining effective honey production. It was recommended that: regular training and retraining programme should be organized for the honey producers, provision of adequate extension services to update their knowledge and skills, and formation of cooperative societies among the producers to take advantage of prevailing economic policies for exportation of honey to international markets.
1.1 Background of the Information (Study)
Honey beekeeping is the practice of maintaining honey bee colonies for the purpose of the by-products (Obialor, 2003). The modern honey beekeeping scientifically know as apiculture is the improvement of the art and science of beekeeping for man’s economic and health benefits. It is also the practice of honey bee rearing that combines the knowledge of the local behaviour and biology of the bees with that of the knowledge of the environment and the use of apiry equipment to maximize honey production and output of the bee hive products.
According to Anineme (2006) honey is produced by honey bee workers mainly from the nectar of flower or honey dew on leaves, back of tree etc. Thus, honey is defined as “the nectar and saccharine exudation of plants, gathered, modified and stored as honey in the comb by honey bees (Apis Mellifera).
Keeping honey bee is very essential for man’s benefit.
Traditionally, honey bees are kept in many countries where they are used for many purposes. However, due to low technology being employed, Africa has the lowest yield per colony compared with other continent. For example the Occeania had an average of 38kg (F.A.O, 1996). North America and USSR each had an average of 25kg while America had an average of 9kg per colony in 1984 (F.A.O, 1996).
As reported in USDA (2007), honey is a mixture of different components including sugar mainly fructose, glucose and other carbohydrates, water, trace amount of vitamins and minerals and other compounds. Moreover, honey has a religious significance, as Hebrew bible contain many reference to honey (F.A.O, 2005). In the book of judges for example, Samson found a sworn of bees and honey in the carcass of a lion (14:8) while the book of exodus famously described the promise land as land flowing with milk and honey (33:3).
A school of thought has it that honey bees are indigenous to Nigeria. For a good understanding of beekeeping, it is useful to describe their natural history (Marieke, 1991). Much of the knowledge about honey bees is derived from managed colonies, especially those kept in moveable comb lives.
According to Marieke (1991), the most commonly found honey bee in Nigeria is Apismellitera daugonii which lives in colonies throughout the year. Other species of honey bees include A jemenitica, A. Mellifera Aousdorsata, A Mellinifaracarnica and A. Cabonosa.
Bee keeping implies the manipulation of a bee colony by man based on the understanding of the science for the purpose of tapping all the social and economic benefits of honey bee. Bee farming is predicted on several understanding of the bee. Management practice can be relatively simple, low level technologies or even fairly complicated producers using more sophisticated equipment. Bee keeping is lucrative in many level of technology; the level should be compatible with the local cultural and economic reality.
A bee colony consist of queen (mother bee) which a fertile egglaying female and about 10,000-200,000 worker bees which are infertile (Marieke, 1991). According to Marieke Mustsears (1991), the male bees (drones) which are stingless and larger than workers are present seasonally. Worker bee in the same colony are variously colored, some have yellow branded abdomens while others have black abdomens. The queen may be either yellowish-brown or black.
In nature, honey bees use various places as nest, such as holes in tree, the underside or thick branches, a shrub curved by climbers or any other cool dark place. According to Marieke (1991), honey bee colony may occur at any height from ground level to 20-30m above ground and even below ground level. Large colonies are usually found in valleys or near a lake. A lack sticky material called propolies mad of resins collected from trees by the bees is used to fill up holes in the walls of the nest to close off parts of the nest cavity (Crave, 1990). In order to maintain a dark environment which favors the performance of the honey bee, the entrance is covered completely with a shield or propolies leaving a few holes (12cm across) to pass through.
In Nigeria, apiculture is a traditional way of beekeeping which started existing for longer than it can be remembered with straw, basket, gourd or pot lives playing an important role in production of honey.
However, the technology used by traditional bee farmers is generally very basic and results in extremely poor yields and poor quality product which often heads to destruction of colonies. Hives placement on trees is potential hazardous activity. Bee keepers can reap very larger honey harvests if they use improved (modern) beekeeping methods.
This modern method can ensure that the bee colony is not destroyed at the time of harvest of honey, as it often happens with over smoking of traditional hives. In some other countries, Malaysia, bee farming development to small farmers. The goal was direct transfer of high technology of bee farming. In many cases, though development programmes have led to many people becoming bee hivers using relatively expensive equipment meant for bee farming in relation to the potential, little return was realized from their investment made available but technical assistance was poor.
Beekeeping is a relatively inexpensive enterprise when compared with other agricultural endeavors. This is an activity, which fits well with the philosophy of community development. This is a great potential for developing beekeeping in many area. In addition, beekeeping helps us in the following ways;
- Supplies an additional non-perishable food for rural people.
- It provides a means of gainful work when the farmers are not involves in planting crops.
- Creates employment for local craftsman who make equipment.
- It creates income and nutritionally valuable honey.
- It ensures an increase in yield than many tropical crops such as coffee, citrus through enhanced pollination.
Honey bee are known solely as pollinators of fruits and vegetables which result to high yield of crops, still the practice of honey bee farming is vast in Nigeria (Akachukwu 1995). Although, it is vast but the produce gotten is not even enough for the Nigeria economy alone not to talk of exporting of the produce of foreign exchange earnings.
In other developed countries about 4% of total population is into honey bee farming by large scale which is enough for their countries used and for exporting purposed. Note that the production honey are large quantity and but the crops around the honey beekeepers yield very well, making the farmer to save returns in crops.
Generally, honey beekeeping attracts the attention of a great-percentage of the population these days of its profitability. It is variable (Prolific) complimentary activity for rural people and requires very little investment and produces quick returns (Njoku 1997). It should therefore, be promoted as component of integrated with a well-organized extension services to serve as a link between the apiculture specialist and the rural beekeepers (Njoku 1997). Therefore, it is very essential that Nigeria society aims at fostering all activities that can be possible to enhance progress in bee research so that the full economic value of bee farming will be realized and possibility of increased production should be establishes.
1.2 Problem Statement
The association between bee and human is a long and close one. Bees are very essential not only as providers of useful substance such as honey and wax, but moreso, as pollinators of crops. Mythology and Folk medicine are rich in bee. Though, bee stings on provocation and in need to defend their hives, this seemingly discouraging economic importance should not be minded. Since protective clothing reduces the incidence to a bearable minimum. Honey, an invaluable food item is a source of instant energy as it comes with 96% predigested and only an infinitesimal proportion is lost during absorption. It is recommended for all, both ill and health people alike honey. Honey is recommended in holy scripture, (The Holy Bible). The Bible, proverbs chapter 24 verses 13 “son eat honey, it is good. Just as honey from the comb is sweet on tongue” bee farming thus follows a varied and interacting pattern in different parts of the word. As new crops are grown and new agriculture by killing weeds before the lower and rapid harvesting of fodder crops both reduce the bees forage.
In some areas, the control of insect which wild bees and other beneficial insects, those resting place may be endangered by the reduction of waste land (Grout 1963).
Intensive production systems required improved management to curtail their potential. The performance is very dependent on the level of management and control of;
- The selection of good breeding given to keep an efficient colony population.
- Health and use of appropriate disease control measure.
- Crop and rector flow for improve nutrition and high quality products.
- Marketing by identification of where and when the best price may be achieved. Government assistance is lacking in creating a favorable economic environment and the right incentive for increased production.
Moreover, a continuing input of agricultural extension advice is needed to maintain the necessary management standards. Livestock farmers are masters of their occupation, although majority is illiterate, but has local experience in any intervention for development of acceptable technical package capable of increasing production at farmers level was hampered by spare reliable data base due to limited research on base inadequate understanding of the production system has leads to complete neglect of tremendous opportunity attainable for exploiting the indigenous bee species. It is therefore important to know the real worth of bee in our society.
Motives of the Study
To work with the local community to increase the understanding of organic and ecological issues to contribute to sustainable development in Nigeria and to improve the local green environment.
1.3 Objectives of the Study
In generally, the broad objective of this study is to analyze the cost and returns analysis of small scale honey bee production in Ohaozara Local Government Area of Ebonyi State, Nigeria. The specific objectives are as follows:
- Describe the socio-economic characteristic of the honey bee farming in the area in relation to their output.
- Identify the various methods of honey bee keeping practiced in the study area.
- Identify constraints militating against honey bee farming of small scale honey bee production in the study area.
- Identify the source of materials as well as marketing channels for honey in the area.
- Analyze cost and returns of honey bee production.
The socio-economic characteristics of honey bee production have no significant influence on the total revenue obtained from honey bee production in the study area.
1.5 Justification of the Study
It is clearly known that rural honey producers face a problem of low production, though no identification of the problem has been made (Marieke, 1991).
Meanwhile, there is the need to investigate the factors militating against honey production and ways of improving the traditional way of honey producer in Ohaozara.
Similarly, the study is timely since there is increasing shift of emphasis to non-oil exports. This is a result of emphasis on revenue from the oil products. The oil industry is also wrecked with a problem of instability and may not generate enough revenue for the execution of the country’s projects in the near future.
This study is also essential, because little or no empirical work has done in the area. This research therefore, is planned to look into the endowment of the area as it concerns honey production and methods of exploring these potentials.
In the same vein, it is an important contribution to ascertain how farmers diversify their earnings. This, however, serves as crop insurance and reveals the usefulness or apicultural practices in the economy of the farmers.
1.6 Limitation of the Study
The study was base on the assumption that the sample farmers were through representation of the other characteristic in socio-economic status, but the following problems was encountered first:
- Excessive noise due to near by markets’ churches and factories within the area
- Bush burning
- Lack of honey combs and accessibility of honey bees to garden with flowering plants.
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