Micah B. Masuku
Swaziland has substantial potential in beekeeping with her rich flora, proper ecological conditions and existence of colonies. However, the Swaziland beekeeping sector has not yet efficiently utilized the rich natural resources. The apiculture sector in Swaziland is still faced with challenges in respect to marketing and importation as a result of the quality of honey and competition from South African honey. The objectives of the study were to describe the socioeconomic characteristics of beekeeping farmers and determine the factors affecting honey production among smallholder beekeepers. Primary data was collected from 37 randomly selected respondents from a population of 63 beekeepers. The results revealed that 62.2% of the respondents were married, 32.4% were above the age of 55, and mostly 86.5% used the Swazi top-bar types of hives. The results further showed that honey production was explained by the farmer’s experience and colony size, implying that an increase in the farmer’s experience by 1% would result in 0.41% increase in the amount of honey produced, while a 1% increase in colony size would result in 0.57% increase in honey production. The study has shown that there are plenty opportunities to improve the livelihoods of smallholder farmers by engaging in beekeeping. In order for farmers to improve their honey production, they need to increase the colony size and also use langstroth beehives because of their high productivity.
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