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Ethiopia: Not only the honey, but also the beeswax business has great potential in Ethiopia. Ethiopia is the third biggest beeswax producer in the world and number one in Africa with approximately 3,000 harvested t/year, while the experts estimate the production potential at 50,000 t/year. [1] [2] The current production rate per hive is 0.95 kg/year, with the major yield of beeswax out of the crude harvest of honey and other bee products from traditional (wax portion: 8.0-10.0%) rather than modern hives (0.5-2.0%). [3] [4] [5] Despite the greater amount of beeswax yield in traditional hives, it is from lower quality, due to the more difficult purification process (increased amount of foreign material). Ethiopian beeswax’ quality from all over the country was evaluated, and in general, the quality is at a similar level as the rest of the world, but adulteration of the product constantly increases. The reasons are not only processing companies with unsuitable facilities for beeswax processing, but also the adulteration with cheaper fats (e.g. animal fat, plant oil and paraffins). [3] Another quality-lowering factor are tej-breweries. Many of the Ethiopian beekeepers do not know the value of beeswax, and/or do not have the needed processing materials to sell the beeswax. [6] Thus, most of the harvested honey goes directly into tej-brewing and during the process, beeswax is separated as a byproduct (sefef) and will be sold to beeswax exporters and collectors, but the quality of this byproduct is low. Nuru and Edessa (2006) found, that the processing of crude beeswax with modern techniques is almost twice as efficient than using traditional methods to gain pure beeswax. [7] In 2005, there were 16 registered companies who export beeswax, but only 4 of them are active, due to a lack of supply, not to a lack of international need. [3] So far, there is no published data on the use of beeswax in Ethiopia, but it is believed, that a significant amount of beeswax is used to produce candles for orthodox churches. [3] For further information on the beeswax' import and export quotes see: "Import/Export of honey bee products".

Indonesia: Prior to 1996 and 1997 official data on the import and export quotes were provided to FAO. Ever since, the trading quotes of beeswax were based on estimations (see: "Import/Export of honey bee products"). In general, there is no information on the beeswax business in Indonesia: what are the production rates, is there a general use for beeswax, is it even harvested, is there a market chain, ... According to a local scientist (Universitas Padjadjaran, Indonesia) beeswax is widely used for the production of cosmetics. He further claims, that to purchase beeswax, a direct order has to be made to the particular beekeeper. In contrary to that, Shouten et al. (in press) assessed the beekeeping situation on 4 islands of Indonesia by conducting group discussions and interviews and they observed, that participating beekeepers did not know about the value of beeswax and therefore discard it. [8]


  1. Gupta, R. K., Reybroeck, W., van Veen, J. W., & Gupta, A. (2014). Beekeeping for Poverty Alleviation and Livelihood Security: Vol. 1: Technological Aspects of Beekeeping. Dordrecht, Springer Netherlands.
  2. Negash, B., & Greiling, J. (2017). Quality Focused Apiculture Sector Value Chain Development in Ethiopia. Journal of Agricultural Science and Technology A, 7(2), 107-116.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 Gemechis, L. Y. (2014): Beeswax production and marketing in Ethiopia: Challenges in value chain. Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, 3(6), 447-451.
  4. SNV/Ethiopia (2005). Strategic intervention plan on honey & beeswax value-chains, snv support to business organizations and their access to markets (boam).
  5. Wilson, R. T. (2006). Current status and possibilities for improvement of traditional apiculture in sub-Saharan Africa. Sierra, 550, 77.
  6. Serda, B., Zewudu, T., Dereje, M., & Aman, M. (2015). Beekeeping Practices, Production Potential and Challenges of Bee Keeping among Beekeepers in Haramaya District, Eastern Ethiopia. J Veterinar Sci Technol, 6(255), 1-5.
  7. Nuru, A., Edessa, N. G. (2006). Profitability of processing crude honey. EBA 5th annual conference proceedings. Conference Paper. 91-100.
  8. Shouten, C. N., Lloyd, D. J., & Lloyd, H. (2019). Beekeeping with the Asian Honey Bee (Apis cerana javana Fabr) in Indonesia. (status: 10.11.2018)