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Ethiopia: The country belongs to the largest honey producers in Africa and is among the top ten worldwide (Import/Export of honey bee products) and due to bimodal rains, honey can be harvested at least twice a year. [1] [2] The annual honey production was estimated to 43,000 t/year with a potential honey production of about 550,000 t/year. [3] [4] [5] The potential annual honey production was estimated based on a nationwide modernization of the beesector (modern hive, increased number of hives/beekeeper, ...) Approximately, 95% of bee hives (hive types) in Ethiopia are traditional with low productivity. [4] According to Gemechis (2016) and MoARD (2007) traditional beehives produce around 5-8 kg honey [3] [6], while the average honey yield in modern hives ranges from 15-20 kg. [5] [7] According to FAO, the average amount of honey per hive over 24 years was 7.55 kg and therefore is in agreement with the prior mentioned observations. [8] 70-80% of produced honey is used for the production of tej (traditional beverage) and the remaining percentage is sold as table honey. [7] [9] [10] 10% of honey is consumed directly by the beekeeping households, while the rest is sold for gaining income. [6] One major quality problem is the high moisture level of honey. Samples from all over the country revealed moisture content between 15.25% and 30.45%. The outcome varies with the type of used hives (traditional hives have 1.5-3.0% higher moisture content than modern hives) and the sample region (highly humid areas are more affected). [6] Honey from traditional hives is sometimes a mixture of pollen, wax and honey, because it is not common among some Ethiopian beekeepers to separate the crude honey from other components. [10] [11] To the favoured storage materials for honey belong plastic bags, tins/barrels, plastic containers, clay/log pots and animal skin. [12] The leading honey and beeswax producing regions in Ethiopia include Oromia (41%), SNNPR (22%), Amara (21%) and Tigray (5%) (honey market value chain). [10]

According to FAO statistics (2018), the total volume of produced honey between the years of 1993 and 2004 increased constantly, but fluctuated afterwards: 24,000 t in 1993, 28,000 t in 1998, 40,900 t in 2004, and 42,000 t in 2008, 45,905 t in 2012, 0 t in 2013/2014 and 47,706 t in 2016. [8] As in the figure below, official data of FAO statistics (2018) also showed a honey production of 0 t in the years 2013 and 2014. [8]

Honey production in Ethiopia (1993-2016); *Data is based on estimations of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO); **Data is not available.

The amount of produced honey per hive ranged between 6.86 kg in 1993 and 10.49 kg in 2006 with an average production of 7.55 kg/hive in the years 1993-2016 (figure below). [8]

Honey yield per hive in Ethiopia (1993-2016); *Data is based on estimations of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO); **Data is not available.

Indonesia: Unfortunately, neither FAO, nor another statistical provider gives any data on the honey production of Indonesia. However, it is estimated, that Indonesia needs 3,750 t of honey per year, while there is a supply of only 500-2,000 t per year. [13] [14] De Jong (2000) estimated the honey production in the region of Kalimantan (based on beekeeping with “honey boards”) between 53 kg and 267 kg per beekeeping operation (family) per year. [15] Shouten et al. (2019) assessed the beekeeping situation on 4 islands of Indonesia and found, that the mean annual honey yield from A. cerana beehives ranges from 0.5 kg to 5 kg per hive and strongly depends on the season. One surveyed beekeeper mentioned a three times higher honey yield when harvesting in the wet season compared to a dry season's yield. The authors claim, that those results should be interpreted with caution, because questioned beekeepers rarely kept records. [16] It has to be mentioned, that beekeeping in Indonesia is still considered to be a “part time farming activity” and therefore the beekeeping sector is still small. There are various forms of gaining honey, for example working with small colonies of stingless bees, or the practice of honey hunting of A. dorsata, where the forest honey is often consumed locally and therefore the data on the amount of harvested honey is not passed on for statistical assessments. [17] Further, the honey consumption per person per year is with 15 g very low. [13] There is less current information on the quality of Indonesian honey, but a study in 1988 revealed high moisture content between 20.7 and 36.3% (22 samples from Sumatran village markets) and adulteration with sucrose (cane sugar, or sugar syrup) in most of the samplings (biggest problems in beekeeping). In addition, some of the investigated honey samples were boiled to evaporate the water for a higher viscosity of the product, which led to a high hydroxymethylfurfural (HMF) content. [18] In consistence is a not yet published study bei Shouten et al. (in press) who described a mean moisture content of 24%. [16] According to a local scientist (Universitas Padjadjaran, Indonesia), Indonesian beekeepers sell their honey in two different forms, table honey (common honey packed in a glass jar) and nest honey, called “madu sarang” (honey sold including the whole comb). Selling nest honey is gaining more attractiveness, due to the widespread problem of honey adulteration.

For further information on the honey's import and export quotes see: Import/Export of honey bee products.


  1. Adeday, G., Shiferaw, M., & Abebe, F. (2012). Prevalence of Bee Lice Braula coeca (Diptera: Braulidae) and Other Perceived Constraints to Honey Bee Production in Wukro Woreda, Tigray Region, Ethiopia. Global Veterinaria, 8(6), 631-635.
  2. MoA & ILRI (2013). Apiculture value chain vision and strategy for Ethiopia. Addis Ababa, Ethiopia: Ministry of Agriculture and International Livestock Research Institute.
  3. 3.0 3.1 MoARD (2007). Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development. Livestock Development Master Plan Study. Phase I Report - Data Collection and Analysis, Volume N - Apiculture. Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
  4. 4.0 4.1 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.
  5. 5.0 5.1 Taye, B., Desta, A., Girma, C., & Mekonen, W. T. (2016). Evaluation of transitional and modern hives for honey production in the Mid Rift Valley of Ethiopia. Bulletin of Animal Health and Production in Africa, 64(1), 157–165.
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 Gemechis, L. Y. (2016). Honey Production and Marketing in Ethiopia. Agriculture And Biology Journal Of North America, 7(5), 248-253.
  7. 7.0 7.1 Gidey, Y., & Mekonen, T. (2010). Participatory Technology and Constraints Assessment to Improve the Livelihood of Beekeepers in Tigray Region, northern Ethiopia. CNCS, 2(1), 76-92.
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 8.3 FAO (2018). FAOSTAT database collections. Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. Rome. Access date: 23.04.2018. URL: http://faostat.fao.org
  9. Legesse, G. Y. (2014). Review of progress in Ethiopian honey production and marketing. Livestock Research for Rural Development 26(1), 1-6.
  10. 10.0 10.1 10.2 SNV/Ethiopia (2005). Strategic intervention plan on honey & beeswax value-chains, snv support to business organizations and their access to markets (boam).
  11. Fichtl, R., & Adi, A. (1994). Honeybee Flora of Ethiopia. Margraf Verlag Germany.
  12. Awraris, G., S., Yemisrach, G., Dejen, A., Nuru, A., Gebeyehu, G., & Workneh, A. (2012). Honey production systems (Apis mellifera L.) in Kaffa, Sheka and Bench-Maji zones of Ethiopia. Journal of Agricultural Extension and Rural Development, 4(19), 528-541.
  13. 13.0 13.1 Widiatmaka, W., Wiwin, A., Chandrasa, E. S., & Lailan, S. (2006). Geographic Information System and Analytical Hierarchy Process For Land Use Planning of Beekeeping in Forest Margin of Bogor Regency, Indonesia. Jurnal Silvikultur Tropika, 7(3), 50-57.
  14. Roman, A. (2006). Effect of Pollen Load Size on the Weight of Pollen Harvested from Honeybee Colonies (Apis mellifera L.). Journal of Apicultural Science, 50(2), 47-57.
  15. De Jong, W. (2000). Micro-differences in Local Resource Management: The Case of Honey in West Kalimantan, Indonesia -a Brief Comment. Human Ecology, 28(4), 631-639.
  16. 16.0 16.1 Shouten, C. N., Lloyd, D. J., & Lloyd, H. (in press). Beekeeping with the Asian Honey Bee (Apis cerana javana Fabr) in Indonesia. (status: 10.11.2018)
  17. De Jong, W. (2002). Forest products and local forest management in West Kalimantan, Indonesia: implications for conservation and development. Wageningen: Tropenbos International.
  18. White, J. W., Platt, Jr. J. L., Allen-Wardell, G., & Allen-Wardell, C. (1988). Quality Control for Honey Enterprises in Less-Developed Areas: An Indonesian Example, Bee World, 69(2), 49-62.