Beekeeping can be sources of valuable economic/financial strength and an important occupation to enormous numbers of rural people’s livelihoods worldwide (FAO, 2009). Beekeeping in Ethiopia is common and one of the agricultural activities which is practiced by many farmers. Honey and bees wax are the major bee products used for domestic consumption and export earnings, and also plays source of cash income for the rural community. Ethiopia, with around 23.6% of African and 2.1% of the world production, is the leading honey producer in Africa and is one of the ten largest producers of honey and beeswax in the world (Kassaye, A. 1990). In Recent survey results of CSA showed traditional, transitional and improved beehives were recognized for honey production in Ethiopia with total of more than 6.52 million beehives exist, out of which about 6.32mil (96.98%) are traditional, 69,399(1.06%) transitional, and 127,373(1.97%) modern beehives CSA, 2017. In Ethiopia, traditional beekeeping is the oldest and the broadly practiced, which have been carried out by the people for many years. Several million bee colonies are managed with the same old traditional beekeeping methods in most parts of the country (Fichtl and Admasu, 1994)
Honey production and beekeeping are environmentally friendly practices and relatively easy to engage in. These non-farming business activities have the potential to provide a wide range of economic contributions. Two main economic values possibly be derived from engaging in beekeeping: income generation from marketing honey and its by-products and the creation of non-gender-biased employment opportunities except for traditional way of beekeeping which needs climbing big trees. Additional benefits from beekeeping are associated with the purely biological nature of bees’ activities, such as plant pollinating and conservation of natural flora. Because of its relatively low labor requirements, if properly handled, beekeeping can coexist almost effortlessly with regular farming activities, such as growing crops, horticulture production, and animal husbandry (FAO, 1990).
Under Ethiopian farmer management condition it is reported that the average amount of crude honey produced from the traditional hive is estimated to be 5-6 kg per hive per year on average and, the average yield of pure honey from modern beehive is 15–20 kg/year (Gezahegne, 2001). However, in potential areas, up to 50–60 kg of harvest has been reported HBRC, 1997). This low productivity was due to the type of hive beekeeping farmers’ use. To improve the low yield of honey per hive different packages was introduced and implemented and among them was the introduction of modern hive. Modern beekeeping methods aim to obtain the maximum honey yield, season after season, without harming bees. Modern movable- frame hive consists of precisely made rectangular box hives super imposed one above the other in a tier in three orders.
Even though the high potentiality of the country for beekeeping and its extensive practices, beekeeping research conducted in the nation so far has not managed to characterize and document the apicultural resources and associated constraints of the sector for its proper intervention and utilization to specific potential regions (Chala, K.2012). Success in beekeeping primarily results from the utilization of improved beekeeping technologies that are suitable for local bee types and conditions (CSA, 2012). There have been different socio economic characteristics of beekeepers that can influence the adoption of modern beehive thereby not benefited from the production of modern beehives.
According to some studies conducted regarding to determinants of adoption of modern beehive and to some extent the financial benefits driven from adopting modern beehive shows that there are different socioeconomic factors that determine the level of adoption. According to study conducted in Kenya social/cultural factors including sex of the household head, marital status of the farmer, size of the house hold, size of land, education levels, social status and cultural beliefs strongly contribute in influencing adoption of new technologies. The study also concluded that managerial skills institutions such as extension services positively influence adoption of new technologies through building capacity of farmers, acquired by offering need-based practical training (BENSON I.M 2016). According to study conducted by Workeneh in Atsbi Wemberta in Tigria credit, Knowledge, educational level of household head, perception and apiary visit were found to be positively and significantly influencing adoption of improved box hive. The financial benefit driven from adopting modern beehive is twice as much as that of traditional beehive (Workneh, 2007). Another study conducted by Workeneh revealed that education of household head, use of credit, apiary visit, knowledge about the technology and perceptions a positively affect adoption of modern beehive. Regarding to financial benefit obtained yield is the major determinant (Workeneh, 2011). According to study conducted in Arsi zone Oromia the main determinants of adoption are farmyard size, number of local hives beekeepers possessed, training provision and participation on training, wealth status of beekeepers, and participation of beekeepers on nonfarm income sources. In addition to these studies, study conducted by Tamirat, house type owned by the household, livestock possession, land holding, total bee colony possession, income generated from non-farm activities, demonstration and training given relating to modern beehive use can significantly affect the adoption of modern beehive and also the financial benefit driven from it (Tamirat.G. 2015).
So far, there is no study undertaken to assess the determinants of adoption of modern beehive and the financial benefits driven from adopting it under the environmental conditions of the study area. In order to improve beekeeping sector, selection and adoption of hive types has to be based on productivity, availability and profitability. Thus, it was essential to assess the beekeeping production system as a whole and identify the determinants of hive technology preference and the major constraints of this subsector in the study area. In addition to the factors affecting the adoption, the financial benefits driven from adopting this modern beehive technology is also analyzed.