The study aims to evaluate major challenges, opportunities and future prospects of bee keeping and honey production in three districts of Waghimra Zone (Abergell, Sekota and Gazgibala). To collect data, 332 respondents were selected using systematic random sampling from the three districts. Data were collected using semi-structured questionnaire, observation, keyinformant interveiw and focus group discussion. Data were analyzed using descriptative statistics and analysis of variance (ANOVA) using statistical package for social science (SPSS) version-20. The results of this study indicated that beekeeping is one of the most important income generating activities besides other agricultural activities. The major challenges identified were prevalence of pests and predators, recurrent drought, indiscriminate application of pesticides and herbicides, lack of bee forage associated with deforestation, lack of credit service for the beekeeping sector, absconding and migration of bee colonies, high cost and limited availability of modern beekeeping equipment’s and accessories, shortage of water, and lack of skill in beekeeping management. It has been revealed that the opportunities for beekeeping in the study areas were the existence of abundance of honeybee colonies, availability of potential flowering plants, sources of water for bees, increasing market demand for beehive products, existence of soil and water conservation practice and area enclosure in the area, beekeepers' experience and indigenous knowledge and socio-economic value of honey. Thus, based on these findings, improving the awareness of the beekeepers through training and strong extension service, supplying cheap bee keeping inputs, capacitating to beekeepers to control the pests and predators are important to address the identified challenges and to improve the overall honey production in Waghimara Zone.
Key words: Bee colony, beehives, beekeeping, challenges, honey production, opportunities.
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