Analysis of farm household technical efficiency in small-scale beekeeping enterprise in Mwingi and Kitui, Kenya
Beekeeping generates both socioeconomic and environmental benefits. It is crucial for agricultural well-being owing to the natural biological interdependence that comes from insects and is a useful means of strengthening livelihoods because it uses and creates a range of assets. Beekeeping has been promoted among marginalized rural farmers in Kenya as an alternative source of income generation that improves forest resource management and conserves biodiversity by governments and development agents, for instance, ICIPE’s Commercial Insects Programme (CIP). The main objectives of this paper are to measure the technical efficiency levels of Kenyan small-scale beekeeping enterprises and to investigate the degree to which various factors influence efficiency levels in these farms. Data Envelopment Analysis (DEA) was applied to farm-level cross-sectional data collected in mid-2013 after the implementation of CIP activities. Our empirical results indicate that CIP participants and improved farmers (using using both traditional and modern hives) had the highest average levels of technical efficiencies. CIP participants had average technical efficiencies of 0.56, which is higher than non-participants, who achieved average technical efficiencies of
0.26. While improved farmers achieved the highest average levels of technical efficiencies (0.59), the overall level of technical efficiencies in the study area was low (0.35) indicating that a large room for improvement still exists. Participation in CIP had a significant influence on technical efficiency levels of the small-scale
farmers. Other important factors influencing the technical efficiencies were found to include farmers’ knowledge in honey harvesting and colony transfer, and access to land. Most importantly, gender, age, education and farmers’ years of beekeeping experience had no statistically significant influence on the technical efficiencies of small-scale beekeepers in Kenya. The findings of this study can inform the design
and the implementation of interventions targeting beekeeping, thereby strengthening beekeeping as an alternative source of income generation.
Keywords: Beekeeping, Beehive, Commercial Insects Programme, Technical Efficiency, Data Envelopment Analysis