Apiculture project increased the income of smallholders


SNV Ethiopia’s apiculture project increased the income of smallholder beekeepers.

SNV Ethiopia implemented Apiculture Scaling-Up Programme for Income and Rural Employment (ASPIRE) project from 2013 to the end of 2017.

Along with consortium partners the Ethiopian Apiculture Board, Enclude and ProFound, SNV Ethiopia implemented ASPIRE in 52 woredas of the country to develop and commercialise the apiculture sector in Ethiopia.

ASPIRE mainly focused in increasing the income of 30,000 (at least 20% women) smallholder and follower (copy) beekeepers to at least € 360 (ETB 8400 ) per annum. In so doing the project aims to make Ethiopia a significant exporter of apiculture products.

Income and rural employment

The project emphasised both on business and institutional development in the apiculture value chain.

According to ASPIRE’s final report the project has achieved more than the target in terms of increasing the income of 30,000 beekeepers and their respective followers.

Through company-led and light touch business support the project reached and built the beekeeping skill of 31,376 (21% women) beekeepers and 33,290 (6,568 women) copy beekeepers engaged in improved beekeeping.

These beekeepers achieved significant increase in income from their beekeeping activities. According to annual result assessment report (conducted by PRIN), the average gross annual income from beekeeping has increased from € 169 (in 2013) to € 397 (in 2017) for men and from € 98 (in 2013) to € 328 (in 2017) for women beekeepers.

Out of the total target 14% (4,500 landless young people) accessed enclosure areas to generate their income and contributed to environmental protection.

Making Ethiopia significant honey exporter

Despite its untapped huge potential, the country is exporting only 2 to 3% of the annually produced 500,000 tons of honey. This project had an objective of making significant contribution to increase the volume of honey the country is exporting. To make this objective a reality, the project emphasised both business and institutional development in the honey value chain.

The annual ASPIRE result assessment survey conducted by an independent firm (PRIN 2) revealed that the increase in volume of production is tripled for female and doubled for male beekeepers. According to the assessment, the average honey production for men is 128.9 kg while for women beekeepers is 102.2 kg compared to the baseline amount of 65 Kg for men and 34.6 kg for women beekeepers. This change is due to both increase in productivity per hive and increase in the number of hives per beekeeper.

In addition to the honey, beekeepers have showed increased interest in diversifying their bee products. Community organisations and individual beekeepers have started engaging in collection, processing and marketing of wax to diversify their bee products. Some beekeepers have also started producing propolis.


ASPIRE project builds on the achievements of the Business Organisations and their Access to Market project (BOAM) that has laid the fundamentals for the honey value chain development in Ethiopia. The project was funded by the Embassy of the kingdom of Netherlands and co-financed with some technical assistance by GIZ. It is designed to contribute to poverty reduction in rural areas of Ethiopia by establishing a dynamic and sustainable apiculture sector.

During the project closing event participants asked for scale up in