Technical and socioeconomic assessment of honey production in Cameroon western highlands
Socio-economic and technical characteristics of 113 beekeepers selected randomly in three Divisions (Bamboutos, Mifi, Menoua) of the Sudano Guinean highlands zone of West Region of Cameroon were assessed through survey using a semi-structural questionnaire, direct interviews and observations from April to July 2014. The main results were as follow: beekeeping is mostly done by men (79.6%) aged between 50-60 years. Many of them are Christians (75.2%), married (88.5%) and taking care of more than 5 persons. 95.6% of the beekeepers have been to school. Some of them have not received a proper training but have been exercising for more than 15 years. The bee colonies, bred through extensive the system, belong to the yellow Apis mellifera adansonii. The number of hives varies from 1 to more than 101, with
an average of 40 hives per beekeeper. The fixed (traditional) and mobile (modern) hives are the commonly used. The bait used is mainly wax (91.2%). The interval between hives installation and bee populating as well as hives installation and honey harvest is not evaluated by beekeepers. The products harvested are honey (100.0%), wax (69.9%), propolis (44.2%), pollen (15.9%) and royal jelly (3.5%). The average amount of honey harvest varies from 4 to 7 liters per colony. Honey is kept within the comb or stored in a filtered form. Honey colors were light amber (36.7%). The estimated annual gain from honey production ranged from 16 000 to 16 875 and from 28 125 to 28 625 FCFA per hive, for fixed and mobile hives respectively. Constraints to beekeeping are socio-economic (financial problems), technical (lack or inadequacy of the framework) and pathological (insects). The majority of beekeepers would like to continue the activity and wish to improve and increase the size of the apiary despite these constraints.
Key words: Beekeeping, performances, constraints, perspectives, Western Cameroon.