Bee Keeping and Coffee Production as Potential Alternative Livelihoods for Coffee Farmers in Sheema District
Keywords:Bee keeping, livelihoods, integration
To ensure sustainable living standards for coffee farmers, integrating coffee plantations with bee keeping would be a potential alternative livelihood option since beekeeping contributes additional incomes from the sale of honey and other bee products without compromising coffee production. Therefore, the study aimed at assessing the contribution of integrating coffee and bee keeping to coffee farmers’ incomes, attitude and perception of farmers on integrating coffee with bee keeping, technologies coffee farmers use while integrating coffee with bee keeping and the challenges farmers face while integrating bee keeping. The study utilized a cross section research design and a sample of 210 respondents was chosen using simple random sampling and questionnaire, interviews and observation were used to collect primary data from the respondents. It was established that adoption of bee keeping integration resulted in an improvement in income from 6.7% in 2020 to 7.1% in 2021 and this was statistically significant (P<0.05). Farmers had a positive perception of integrating bee keeping with coffee and majority perceived it as source of additional income, require few resources to commence, the necessary skills can be quickly transferred, hives are made from local resources and not labour intensive 210 (100%). The study findings also established that most farmers were not using innovative technologies and the major technologies farmers were using included; possession of top bar or Langstroth p=0.022, provision of supplemental feeds p=0.04 and engaging in bee pollination services and pollen collection p=0.046 as compared with the time spent while integrating bee keeping in coffee plantations.
The study further established the challenges farmers face while integrating coffee with bee keeping as; poor management skills, shortage of honey forage, diseases pests and predators, lack of awareness about valuable contribution of bees, lack of trainers and training opportunities, lack of new research information, inadequate bee keeping equipment, price fluctuations and lack of grading system, bee hive theft, weak producer organizations and lack of clear policies to protect the producers from pesticide poisoning. The study recommended provision of constant trainings, formulation of participatory policy that would encourage conservation of pollinators and farmers to be equipped with knowledge and tools to enable them to make informed decisions.
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