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Date of Award

Spring 2020

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts

Department

Historical & Political Studies; College of Arts & Sciences

First Advisor

Dr. Hilary Parsons Dick

Abstract

Upheld by 12 million smallholder farms which account for 95% of agricultural production, Ethiopian’s are highly dependent on their agricultural industry. These smallholder farms account for 85% of the country’s labor force, and this lack of income diversification has led to an estimated 33% of Ethiopians living in poverty. While the agricultural industry is not annually sustainable due to drought and lack of infrastructure, Ethiopia’s thriving apicultural (beekeeping) industry has led the country to become the highest honey producer in Africa, creating over 45,000 tons of honey per year. With the help of non-governmental organizations (NGOs), beekeeping has been promoted nationwide as an income diversifying practice, prompting over 1.9 million households to adopt the craft.

I argue that with the support of NGOs, beekeeping fosters localized self-reliant development, which in turn encourages a fruitful cycle of economic and ecological diversification, providing alternative forms of income as well as enhancing existing agricultural practices and plots. Case studies provide detailed analyses of apiaries, including regional factors, number of hives, honey yield, etc, which are necessary in determining the effectiveness of beekeeping in local communities. By turning to apiculture-focused NGO websites and personal testimonials, I analyze the goals and practices initiated in rural Ethiopian communities in order to understand the direct economic and social effects of beekeeping.

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The Buzz About Ethiopia: A Look at Self Reliance, Beekeeping, and Local Economies

Upheld by 12 million smallholder farms which account for 95% of agricultural production, Ethiopian’s are highly dependent on their agricultural industry. These smallholder farms account for 85% of the country’s labor force, and this lack of income diversification has led to an estimated 33% of Ethiopians living in poverty. While the agricultural industry is not annually sustainable due to drought and lack of infrastructure, Ethiopia’s thriving apicultural (beekeeping) industry has led the country to become the highest honey producer in Africa, creating over 45,000 tons of honey per year. With the help of non-governmental organizations (NGOs), beekeeping has been promoted nationwide as an income diversifying practice, prompting over 1.9 million households to adopt the craft.

I argue that with the support of NGOs, beekeeping fosters localized self-reliant development, which in turn encourages a fruitful cycle of economic and ecological diversification, providing alternative forms of income as well as enhancing existing agricultural practices and plots. Case studies provide detailed analyses of apiaries, including regional factors, number of hives, honey yield, etc, which are necessary in determining the effectiveness of beekeeping in local communities. By turning to apiculture-focused NGO websites and personal testimonials, I analyze the goals and practices initiated in rural Ethiopian communities in order to understand the direct economic and social effects of beekeeping.