Women and Youth Sensitive Apiculture
This report provides an overview of a partnership between 2SCALE and Bench Maji Forest Coffee Producer Farmers' Cooperative Union LTD in Ethiopia to transform the traditional honey production system into a more inclusive and competitive agribusiness. The partnership aims to involve women and youth in beekeeping by introducing improved beehives, providing technical training, and enhancing communication and linkages along the value chain. Ethiopia has a long history of beekeeping, and it is known for its diverse honeybee flora and many honeybee colonies. However, the traditional honey production system, which involves hanging beehives on tall trees in the forest, poses risks to producers, results in low-quality honey, and excludes women from participating in the sector. The partnership addresses gender-based constraints in the industry, including male dominance, limited training opportunities for women, time management challenges, and lack of inclusive capacity building. By promoting modern backyard honey production using improved beehives and providing training and support, the partnership aims to empower women and youth and create employment opportunities for smallholder farmers. The partnership's success is attributed to factors such as changing gender dynamics, political will and policy initiatives prioritizing agriculture and gender equity, support from partners and relatives, and the engagement of extension workers. The partnership aims to shift the honey production system towards a more sustainable and inclusive model that benefits the community and improves household incomes. Through the collaboration, women and youth have embraced beekeeping and are eager to lead and inspire others. Men's involvement and support have also empowered women in the sector. Extension workers are crucial in equipping farmers with knowledge and skills, leading to improved honey quality and increased income.