“Honey market is better than that of other agriculture products for the fact that it brings much money per a given quantity. Honey is food, use in local brews, serves in certain medicinal purposes, although it is seasonal, its prices are good.”MAF Beekeeper’s Survey Report July 2008 .
South Sudan is situated on a large fertile ground with enormous Sunshine and abundant water resource. Arable land makes up 80% of its territory; 99% percent of South Sudan’s income is from oil resource and 83% of its population lives in rural areas. Many citizens depend on small scale agricultural farming of food crops such as maize, sorghum, millet and vegetables like cassava, legumes (sesame, peanuts, and groundnuts). Livestock rearing, fishing and beekeeping are livelihoods activities also practiced. Recent antagonistic relations with Sudan have pushed South Sudan to diversify its economy. It is in this capacity that beekeeping is seen to impact lives of individuals, diversify economy and attract investments.
Beekeeping is credited for potential “socio-economic development of residents,” specifically for food and medicine sources to local communities. Honey bees also known as Apis mellifera, the bees that produces honey, wax and honey bee products like pollen, royal jelly and propolis, “offer outstanding therapeutic potential for many debilitating human diseases including cancer, tuberculosis, mental illness, HIV/AIDS, Parkinson’s disease, hypertension and other cardiovascular disorders.”If scaled up, honey and honey paraphernalia production could comparatively outshine other agricultural produce in terms of resourcefulness in the local and international consumers demand.
Surveys conducted in Wulu County (Lakes State), Mundiri West County in (Western Equatoria State); and Yei County, Juba County (Central Equatoria State) by the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry (MAF) in 2008 rated above many livelihood agricultural activities for better income generation. That is indicatively an opportunity to invest on beekeeping to upgrade economic statuses of beekeepers. MAF’s survey report disclosed honey market as superior than other agricultural produce in money market demand. It showed honey uses beyond household consumptions. Honey is required in local breweries, for medicinal purposes, while sold at staggering higher prices at state HQs and Juba markets. Both affluent nationals and international customers are top consumer customers. The higher the demand for honey and honey paraphernalia “the producers would increase production.”
Traditional beekeeping has long been an important activity to local beekeepers, yet its practices have had terrible implications on the environment and bee species. Cutting and burning down of trees and cracking out barks of trees for beehives, production and harvesting are unfriendly ways that have destructive consequences for the honey produces, bee species and environment. Transformative ways to improve quality and quantity of honey, breeding of bee colonies, promote multiplication of bee species, and to preserve environment should be sought. Proliferation of modern beehives, scaling up training on safe processing, handling, harvesting and storage for honey for beekeepers must be encouraged.
According to New Sudan Honey Producers Association (NSHPA), a beekeeper in Maridi, “harvested a total of 1,154 kgs of honey” from his “140 traditional bark hives” between March and May 2004, and earned him “over $ 500.” Today, it is possible the same farmer could earn over $1,000 with an equivalent honey quantity. Not only would such an income provide for household consumption, it could take care of education and healthcare services for children. Like microfinance support, Beekeepers could be afforded small loans to kick start their projects.
Influx of international investors, presence of international organizations, in addition to the increasing South Sudanese city dwellers offer decent customer and consumer markets for Beekeeper’s products in South Sudan. Why not support this sector if you are the government or international development organization? After all, beekeeping is just like any agriculture activity. Most importantly, there are people who do nothing else for a living, but beekeeping.
 Deutscher Tropentag, October 7-9, 2008 in Hohenheim; “Competition for Resources in a Changing World: New Drive for Rural Development.” Overview of Traditional Beekeeping in Sudan by M.A Elisa and M. Ruth.
 Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry (MAF), Bees for Development. Beekeeper’s Survey Report, July 2008. Can be found at: http://www.beesfordevelopment.org/uploads/Sudan%20Ministry%20of%20Agriculture%20JM210708.pdf