OpenIDEO is an open innovation platform. Join our global community to solve big challenges for social good. Sign Up / Login or Learn more

Self-help business model: Quality honey, happy beekeeper and healthy environment

This is production and marketing of organic honey from the natural forest area working with rural unemployed youth connecting to market.

Photo of Jony Girma

Written by


Ethiopia has huge potential of honey production which has annual production of about 53,000 tons of honey per year. This is 10 % of total potential of the country. Out of the annual production only five percent reaches the market in value added way. Most of the honey wasted on the farm gate due to lack of colony management skill, poor postharvest handling and lack of improved technologies. Our idea is to work with rural unemployed youth support them to have well organized commercial bee farm, developing learning center, establishing collection and value addition center near to beekeepers site, developing coaching system, developing organic production scheme and linking to support other beekeepers. This is about developing self-help business model and meets the sustainable organic export market. Since beekeeping activities are seasonal, it is important to make all season specific information available on time. Beekeepers will be trained, share experience and practice before adopting improved technologies. The collection and value addition center makes the beekeepers to supply their product easily without any transportation which control the postharvest handling problems. They can learn how to add values on their product to earn more prices. In addition, they will have premium price from sales of organic and fair-trade honey. This project will solve the postharvest problem, access to information to improved technologies, connect to market and unemployment problem.


Beekeepers in the forest area, unemployed youth, agricultural graduates and any other actors in the honey value chain are beneficiaries of this project.




  • Yes


  • I’ve worked in a sector related to my idea for over a year


  • Yes, for more than one year.


I am professional in Organic Agriculture and Agricultural Economics. I have experience in organic system development in non-timber forest product. I have established a company working in production, processing and marketing of bee product in Ethiopia.

The honey sector in the country is one of the few sectors that have the most potential to achieve transformation and growth across all categories of rural households. There are an estimated 5.15 million hives in Ethiopia which are almost all entirely maintained by traditional methods by approximately 1.4-1.7 million beekeepers households, who are keeping bees as a means of income generation and livelihood improvement. As a result, Ethiopia is the first in Africa and tenth in the world in honey production. In the natural forest area, 95% of their livelihood depends on honey production. Beekeeping does not require fertile land, a large area, or much initial capital. This makes the sector attractive for small farmers with limited resources. As a result, the importance of beekeeping in poverty reduction and conservation of natural resources have been emphasized by different stakeholders. However, despite its potential role in the development of rural economy, the beekeeping sector faces a number of problems. Lack of beekeeping skills, inappropriate production technologies, weak market access, weak price incentive systems, and limited financial capacity of beekeepers are the major problems which largely reduce the potential contribution of the honey sub-sector. There is a big challenge to bring quality and quantity honey on the market. This is due to poor quality production and big postharvest loss by the beekeepers. The current increasing demand for the organic honey on the international market needs to systematically tackle the mentioned problem and explore the opportunity for the beekeepers.  Our project needs to work with rural unemployed youth to solve the problem through strong business model which bring real and tangible change in the natural forest area. Through supporting them in farm development, certification scheme, developing value addition system and linking them to the sustainable export market. Therefore our intervention will support in connecting to the market, providing information and value addition (storage and processing). 


Join the conversation:

Photo of Jony Girma

Thank you we will work togther. I am happy to share my experince in the sector. 

View all comments