Natural Honey: Honey and Wax Ethiopia is the regional leader in Eastern Africa in bee product business development and far exceeds other countries in Africa in terms of volumes of honey and beeswax harvested and traded, and levels of investment in the formal sector. However stakeholders in Ethiopia know that there is more to be done to develop the sector into a robust industry. Ethiopia is the World’s 10th biggest honey producer and the 4th largest beeswax producer after China, Mexico and Turkey. Owing to its varied ecological and climatic conditions, Ethiopia is home to some of the most diverse flora and fauna in Africa, making it highly suitable for sustaining a large number of bee colonies. Ethiopia reportedly has the largest Bee population in Africa with over 10 million bee colonies, out of which about 7.5 million are confined in hives and the remaining exist in the forest. Ethiopian Honey Accredited for EU: Ethiopian honey was awarded the EU Third Country Listing of Animal-Based Products' accreditation as of xxx. Though, the quantity of Ethiopian honey product ranks first in Africa and tenth in the World, the country has been unable to sell it on the world market. One of the obstacles was getting the quality accreditation, which latter on been solved. Honey Supply and Quality: Ethiopia produces significant quantities of honey with estimates ranging from 24,600 to 43,000 tones per year. About 95% of honey production is harvested by means of local methods, and beekeepers use a range of materials to make hives. The vast majority of all honey harvested goes to make Tej, Ethiopian honey wine, and it is clear that the demand for this wine is driving the honey industry. The annual production of wax is estimated to 3200 tones, without considering beeswax wasted in the remote areas. Beeswax is a valuable hive product obtained from honeybees. It is a by- product of the honey production. Beeswax is largely collected from traditional hives rather than the modern hives. The wax yield from traditional hives is 8-10% of the honey yield, compared to 0.5-2% from modern hives. The bulk of the supply of beeswax is obtained as residual from “Tej” production, a mild alcoholic beverage popular throughout Ethiopia. In Tigray region in 2001/02, however, an estimated amount of about 635.4 tones of raw honey was produced. According to the data indicated in the Bureau of Agriculture, major producing areas are: K/Awlaelo, A/Womberta, Ahferom, Tselemti, Ganta-Afeshum and Kolla-Tembien Woredas in their order of importance and potential. On the other hand, the region has put the Woredas of Tselemti, Medebay- Zana, Ahferom, Hintalo- Wajirat and Enda-Mehoni as potentially the most promising areas for the production of honey in the region. The Castor study has projected that an amount equivalent to 1818 MT, 2116 MT and 2703 MT would be harvested in 2003/04, 2004/05 and 2005/06 respectively. The total estimated bee population in Tigray is about 195,541 bee colonies (Board, projected, 2006/07). The Eastern zone is supplying the highest share by the size of bee colonies (28%) followed by Southern zone (19%), and the rest by North Western, Eastern and South Eastern zones. It is believed that Ethiopian honey is of good quality even though in the world market it is considered to be often dark in colour and strong in flavour. These characteristics are however taken by many to be not signs of poor quality but as signs that indicate the "need of a specialized market for this type of honey. “In fact the Ministry of Agriculture (MoA) study stressed that the existence of the "willingness of celiain markets to pay premium prices for dark coloured, strong flavoured honey of the type produced in Ethiopia" should be better exploited (Ibid. MoA, V.III, P.61). Pure Organic Honey is available and produced through honey processing plc available in the region. The chemical composition and quality parameter meets the world standard. This company is also in a position to produce wax having a chemical composition and properties that meet world standard set for determining the quality of bee wax. Honey Price: Both raw and extracted honeys have good local and international markets all the year round. Slight spatial differences in prices, which are attributed to the variation in quality and distance, are always observed in the local market for honey. Significantly high prices are observed in Tigray in comparison to the rest of the country. This is accounted by different customers due to the superior quality and color of the honey produced in many pans of the region. Average prices for raw honey and extracted pure honey at Addis Ababa for Sep/Oct.2002 range from Birr 14.67 -20/kg. The retail price of raw honey in Tigray for the same period ranged from Birr 12.67 at Endabaguna to about 26.33 Birr at Mekelle (Ibid Statistical Bulletin, No. 276). On tile international scene, prices for honey are observed to have risen from about USD 850/MT in the early 1990s to about USD 1220 per Mt during 1996 (Ibid, S.M. Gidada). A substantial rise in world prices is observed ill the past few years. The average prices for 1997-2000 could be calculated from data of the Export Promotion Agency, as USD 3531.2/MT. The amount of natural honey exported from Ethiopia is about 406 tones and valued 1,179,000 USD and the wax export was amounted 415 tones and earned 1,825,000 USD in the year 2007/8.
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