The Open Agriculture Journal




ISSN: 1874-3315 ― Volume 14, 2020
REVIEW ARTICLE

The Contribution of Managed Honey Bees to Crop Pollination, Food Security, and Economic Stability: Case of Ethiopia



Zekiros Fikadu1, *
1 Department of Animal Science, Aksum University, Shire Campus, Shire, Ethiopia

Abstract

This paper reviews the role and economic importance of the pollination service by honey bees (Apis mellifera) to agricultural crops and food security in the Ethiopian context. Honey bees provide pollination services that are crucial for sexual reproduction and improving the quality and quantity of many agricultural crops. From the significant 53 crops cultivated in Ethiopia, 33 (62.2%) of them are dependent on biological pollinators. Besides this, honey bees play a vital economic role, and their contribution to pollination service in agriculture crops is around 0.815 billion dollars in Ethiopia. Nevertheless, this contribution is unnoticed by Ethiopian farmers. Pollination by honey bee plays an essential role in human nutrition and supplies food security, income in households, and ecosystem services. Declines in insect pollinators, including honey bees across the world, have raised concerns about the supply of pollination services to agriculture, and it is because one-third of agriculture productions depend upon pollination, mainly by honey bees. Among the several factors responsible for the decline of honey bee colonies, improper pesticide application, and climate change are the elements and make them at risk. The potential adverse effects of pollinator declines include direct economic losses incurred by reduced crop yields as well as broader impacts on the agricultural activity because of lower productivity in the ecosystems. Through promoting and the use of honey bee pollination service as agricultural development packages, it is possible to improve honey bee production and crop yield in Ethiopia.

Keywords: Crop yield, Economic benefit, Ethiopia, Honey bee, Pollination service, Public perception.


Article Information


Identifiers and Pagination:

Year: 2019
Volume: 13
First Page: 175
Last Page: 181
Publisher Id: TOASJ-13-175
DOI: 10.2174/1874331501913010175

Article History:

Received Date: 09/08/2019
Revision Received Date: 18/11/2019
Acceptance Date: 22/11/2019
Electronic publication date: 31/12/2019
Collection year: 2019

© 2019 Zekiros Fikadu.

open-access license: This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International Public License (CC-BY 4.0), a copy of which is available at: (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/legalcode). This license permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.


* Address correspondence to this author at Department of Animal Science, Aksum University, Shire Campus, Shire, P.O.Box, 134 Shire, Ethiopia; Tel: +251914000729; Fax: +251344444898; E-mail: zekat2007@yahoo.com





1. INTRODUCTION

Pollination is an essential process in the production of seed plants, and it results in a genetically diverse production of offspring [1Dafni A, Kevan PG, Husband BC. Practical pollination biology. Cambridge (Ont.). Enviroquest Ltd 2005; 20: 114-28. [https://www.cabdirect.org/cabdirect/abstract/20053155384].]. Globally, one-third of the total human food supply depends on insect pollination [2Klein AM, Vaissière BE, Cane JH, et al. Importance of pollinators in changing landscapes for world crops. Proc Biol Sci 2007; 274(1608): 303-13.
[http://dx.doi.org/10.1098/rspb.2006.3721] [PMID: 17164193]
-5Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) Roubik DW, Adriano-Anaya ML, Campos LA, et al. The Pollination of Cultivated Plants: A Compendium for Practitioners12018; ]. Production of agriculture crops is increasing by 50% through bees pollination [2Klein AM, Vaissière BE, Cane JH, et al. Importance of pollinators in changing landscapes for world crops. Proc Biol Sci 2007; 274(1608): 303-13.
[http://dx.doi.org/10.1098/rspb.2006.3721] [PMID: 17164193]
]. Honey bees (Apis mellifera) are economically essential insect pollinators all over the world [6Calderone NW. Insect pollinated crops, insect pollinators and US agriculture: Trend analysis of aggregate data for the period 1992-2009. PLoS One 2012; 7(5):e37235.
[http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0037235] [PMID: 22629374]
-11Pashte VV, Said PP. Honey Bees: Beneficial Robbers. Int J Agri Sci Res 2015; 5(5): 343-52. [https://www.researchgate.net/publication/283010724].]. They provide ecologically for pollination of natural, wild vegetation plants and agricultural crops; as a result, they play a significant role in the landscape and natural resource preservation [6Calderone NW. Insect pollinated crops, insect pollinators and US agriculture: Trend analysis of aggregate data for the period 1992-2009. PLoS One 2012; 7(5):e37235.
[http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0037235] [PMID: 22629374]
, 10Muli E, Patch H, Frazier M, et al. Evaluation of the distribution and impacts of parasites, pathogens, and pesticides on honey bee (Apis mellifera) populations in East Africa. PLoS One 2014; 9(4):e94459.
[http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0094459] [PMID: 24740399]
, 12Kevan PG. Pollinators as bioindicators of the state of the environment: species, activity, and diversity. Agric Ecosyst Environ 1999; 74: 373-93.
[http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S0167-8809(99)00044-4]
, 13Garibaldi LA, Steffan-Dewenter I, Winfree R, et al. Wild pollinators enhance fruit set of crops regardless of honey bee abundance. Science 2013; 339(6127): 1608-11.
[http://dx.doi.org/10.1126/science.1230200] [PMID: 23449997]
].

The apiculture sector is one of the essential livestock subsectors, which contributes significant importance to the livelihoods of the people in Ethiopia [14Aklilu Y. An audit of the livestock marketing status in Kenya, Ethiopia and Sudan (volume 1). AU-IBAR (Africa Union-Inter-African Bureau for Animal Resources), Nairobi, Kenya 2002; 1-19.]. Beekeeping in Ethiopia plays a vital role in the agricultural, environmental activity, and it serves as a source of additional cash income for beekeepers [15Abebe J, Amssalu B, Kefelegn K. Floral phenology and pollen potential of honeybee plants in North- East dryland areas of Amhara region, Ethiopia. J Agric Vet Sci 2014; 7(5): 36-49., 16Gemechis L. Honey production and marketing in Ethiopia. Am J Life Sci 2015; 3(1): 42-6.
[http://dx.doi.org/10.11648/j.ajls.20150301.18]
]. This sector plays a great role directly by providing valuable output such as honey, beeswax, queen, bee colonies and indirectly other products such as pollen, royal jelly jelly, bee venom and propolis in which it has high demand globally for different functions including medicinal and nutritional value [17Wakhal MD, Bhujbal M, Pais EVD. Analysis of honey, pollen and royal jelly by high performance liquid chromatography-A review. Apiacta 1999; 30(1): 6-11.-19Koshiyama AS, Lorenzon MCA, Tassinaria WD. Spatial econometrics applied to study the influencing factors of honey prices in brazil. Braz J Oper Prod Manag 2011; 8(1): 121-32.
[http://dx.doi.org/10.4322/bjopm.2011.007]
].

Animal pollinators include many insect species (managed and wild), species of birds are crops pollinators, and the honey bee are considered one of the primary pollinators [20Nielsen A, Reitan T, Rinvoll WA, Brysting KA. Effects of competition and climate on a crop pollinator community. Agric Ecosyst Environ 2017; 246: 253-60.
[http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.agee.2017.06.006]
]. Honey bee plays a central role in agriculture as pollinators, and their contribution to the global economy for food production is estimated between $ 235 and $ 285 billion annually [21Lautenbach S, Seppelt R, Liebscher J, Dormann CF. Spatial and temporal trends of global pollination benefit. PLoS One 2012; 7(4):e35954.
[http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0035954] [PMID: 22563427]
] and $0.815 billion in Ethiopia, which is 6.24% of the agricultural GDP [22Alebachew WG. Economic value of pollination service of agricultural crops in Ethiopia: Biological Pollinators. J Apic Sci 2018; 62(2): 265-73.]. According to Shrestha [23Shrestha B. Honeybees and Environment. Agriculture and Environment. Gender Equity and Environment Division. Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives, HMG 2004; 1-8.], the impact of honey bee pollination to crop production and quality has been estimated to be more than the value of honey and wax production. The economic benefit of the honey bees pollination service is 4.58 times higher than the honey production in Ethiopia [22Alebachew WG. Economic value of pollination service of agricultural crops in Ethiopia: Biological Pollinators. J Apic Sci 2018; 62(2): 265-73.].

Other sources revealed that income generation, food consumption, pollination of crops, and natural resource conservation are among the list of importance of the beekeeping sector [24Zekiros F, Gangwar SK, Meseret H. Challenges on different honey production system in Agro-ecology of Tahtay-koraro north western tigray, ethiopia. Glob J of Bio-Sci and Biotechnol 2018; 7(3): 331-5.]. Therefore, the objective of this paper will focus on reviewing the role, economic importance of honey bees (Apis mellifera) pollination service to agricultural crops, and food security in Ethiopia.

1.1. Role of Honey Bee Pollination Service on the Productivity of Different Agriculture Crops in Ethiopia

As Central Statistical Agency informs every year, fifty-three significant crops are cultivated in Ethiopia [22Alebachew WG. Economic value of pollination service of agricultural crops in Ethiopia: Biological Pollinators. J Apic Sci 2018; 62(2): 265-73.]. Out of the 53 major agricultural crops cultivated in Ethiopia, 33 of them (62.2%) are dependent on biological pollinators, and from the total biological pollinator, honey bees contribute 80% of pollination service [22Alebachew WG. Economic value of pollination service of agricultural crops in Ethiopia: Biological Pollinators. J Apic Sci 2018; 62(2): 265-73.]. This indicated that honey bees are the most efficient insect pollinators in cultivated crops. Workers of honey bees visit multi-flowering plant species at a time to collect nectar and pollen at a time they serve as cross-pollinator. Both survival and conservation of genetic diversity of many crops and wild plant populations largely depend on insect pollination service [25FAO, (Food and Agricultural Organization). Conservation and management of pollinators for sustainable agriculture. The International response. A contribution to the International Workshop on solitary bees and their role in pollination held in Berberibe, Cerara 200419]. Concerning specific insects, it is expected that almost one-third of all plants or plant produced food eaten by humans is dependent directly or indirectly on bees for their pollination [26Bradbear N. Bees and their role in forest livelihoods: A guide to the services provided by bees and the sustainable harvesting, processing and marketing of their products 2009. FAO.Pub.]. This shows that the life of humans somewhat depends on the existence of honey bee. Without any extra cost for inputs, only the use of crops pollinated by honey bees, has been proven to produce higher yields and better quality [27Kozin RB. Insect pollination of crops.Amsterdam Publishing Press 1976; 125-34.-29Devkota K, Dhakal SC, Thapa RB. Economics of beekeeping as pollination management practices adopted by farmers in Chitwan district of Nepal. Agric Food Secur 2016; 5(6): 1-6.
[http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s40066-016-0053-9]
].

Even though improved agricultural technologies include the use of the quality seed, applying techniques, high-yielding varieties, good agronomic practices (timely irrigation and fertilizers) increased agricultural crop production. However, without pollination, neither the fruit nor the seed will be set appropriately. The pollination process is an essential activity for the production of fruit plants, a variety of flowering plants deal with fundamental ecosystems facilities to human welfare [2Klein AM, Vaissière BE, Cane JH, et al. Importance of pollinators in changing landscapes for world crops. Proc Biol Sci 2007; 274(1608): 303-13.
[http://dx.doi.org/10.1098/rspb.2006.3721] [PMID: 17164193]
, 12Kevan PG. Pollinators as bioindicators of the state of the environment: species, activity, and diversity. Agric Ecosyst Environ 1999; 74: 373-93.
[http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S0167-8809(99)00044-4]
]. Beekeeping plays a parallel role in the cross-pollination of industrial farming crops and medicinal plants with the manufacturing of honey. The honey bee is a strong pollinator for many crops. It is the pollinator species that can be most easily managed by humans in enormous numbers for the pollination of highly diverse crops [30Aebi A, Vaissiere BE, Vanengelsdorp D, Delaplane KS, Roubik DW, Neumann P. Back to the future: Apis versus non-Apis pollination. Trends Ecol Evol 2012; 27(3): 142-3.
[http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.tree.2011.11.017]
, 31Hung KJ, Kingston JM, Albrecht M, Holway DA, Kohn JR. The worldwide importance of honey bees as pollinators in natural habitats. Proc Biol Sci 2018; 285(1870):20172140.
[http://dx.doi.org/10.1098/rspb.2017.2140] [PMID: 29321298]
]. Reports indicate that honey bee boosts the production of different fruit crops up to 30-40% [32Jadran KK. Measurement of economic efficiency for the projects of bee raising inside and outside towns in Wasit Governorate. Al-Anbar J Vet Sci 2011; 9(3): 112-21.] and increases the production of most agriculture crops by 5-50% [2Klein AM, Vaissière BE, Cane JH, et al. Importance of pollinators in changing landscapes for world crops. Proc Biol Sci 2007; 274(1608): 303-13.
[http://dx.doi.org/10.1098/rspb.2006.3721] [PMID: 17164193]
].

Honey bee pollination is as essential for crop production as water and fertilizer but, its role is not well understood and appreciated in the local farming system [33Jacobs F, Simoens C, Graaf D, Deckers J. Scope for non-wood forest products income generation from rehabilitation areas: Focus on beekeeping. J Drylands 2006; 1(2): 171-85.]. Exposing sesame (Sesamum indicum L.) to honey bee during flowering time increases the pod and seed productions [34Pharaon MA, Dounia Chantal D, Esther NO, Fernand-Nestor TF. Pollination Efficiency of Apis mellifera L. (Hymenoptera: Apidae) on Flowers of Sesamum indicum L. (Pedaliaceae) at Bilone (Obala, Cameroon). Int J Res Stud Agri Sci 2018; 4(3): 12-20. [http://dx.doi.org/10.20431/2454-6224.0403003].]. In a study conducted previously, both open pollination and Apis mellifera pollination treatments were sufficient to increase the seed yield of sesame by 22% and 33% [35Panda P, Sontakke BK, Sarangi PK. Preliminary studies on the effect of bee (Apis cerana indica F.) Pollination on yield of sesamum and niger. Indian Bee J 1988; 50: 63-4.], and 43.92% and 35.23% [36Das R, Jha S. Insect pollinators of sesame and the effect of entomophilous pollination on seed production in new alluvial zone of west bengal. Int J Curr Microbiol Appl Sci 2019; 3(8): 1400-9.
[http://dx.doi.org/10.20546/ijcmas.2019.803.164]
] respectively, which is more than that of pollination excluding insects. Other scientific documents describe that it is possible to increase the production of sarsoon (Brassica Rapa rilocularis) and toria (Brassica napus) by 47% [37Stephen E, Irshad M. Economics impact of pollinators in crop production of Pakistan 2012.] and yield and physicochemical properties of tomatoes (Solanum Lycopersicum) [38Bashir MA, Alvi AM, Khan KA, et al. Role of pollination in yield and physicochemical properties of tomatoes (Lycopersicon esculentum). Saudi J Biol Sci 2018; 25(7): 1291-7.
[http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.sjbs.2017.10.006] [PMID: 30505172]
] through honey bees pollination and insect pollinators respectively.

In Ethiopia, research evidence documented that honey bee pollination increased the seed yield of Niger seed by about 43% [39Admasu A, Nuru A. Effect of honeybee pollination on seed yield and oil content of niger (Guizotiaabyssinica Proceedings of the First National Conference of Ethiopian Beekeepers Association Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. 2002; pp. 2002; 67-73.], onion (Allium cepa L.) yield by double [40Debisa L, Adimasu A, Gizaw E, Amsalu B. Effects of honeybee pollination on seed allium cepa: HBRC, ethiopia. Ethiopian J Anim Prod 2008; 8(1): 79-84.] and by 94% [7Amssalu B, Nuru A, Radloff E, Hepburn R. Multivariate morphometric analysis of honeybees (Apis mellifera) in the Ethiopian region. Apidologie (Celle) 2004; 35(1): 71-81.
[http://dx.doi.org/10.1051/apido:2003066]
]. According to Bezabih & Gebretsadikan [41Bezabih G, Gebretsadikan K. Managed honeybees (Apis mellifera L.) increase onion (Alliun cepa) seed yield and quality. Livest Res Rural Dev 2014; 26(1) [http://www.lrrd.org/lrrd26/1/gebr26008.htm].], the seed yield of onion increased by 41.2%, the mass of 1000 seeds by 25%, and the germination percentage by 68% through open pollination especially by honey bees. Crane [42Crane E. Bees and Beekeeping: Science, practice and world resources. Comstock Publishing Associates (Cornell University Press) 1990.], also reported that honey bees pollination increases the yield of Citrus sinesis by 30%, watermelon by 100%, and tomato by 25%. Besides the yield maximization of honey bee pollination service, they also contribute to improving the quality of different crops such as onion [41Bezabih G, Gebretsadikan K. Managed honeybees (Apis mellifera L.) increase onion (Alliun cepa) seed yield and quality. Livest Res Rural Dev 2014; 26(1) [http://www.lrrd.org/lrrd26/1/gebr26008.htm].], apple fruit [43Tura B, Admassu A, Kibebew W. Role and economic benefits of honey bees’ pollination on fruit yield of wild apple (Malus sylvestris (L.) Mill.) in central highlands of ethiopia. Bee World 2018; 95(4): 113-6.
[http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/0005772X.2018.1522834]
], and sesame seeds [34Pharaon MA, Dounia Chantal D, Esther NO, Fernand-Nestor TF. Pollination Efficiency of Apis mellifera L. (Hymenoptera: Apidae) on Flowers of Sesamum indicum L. (Pedaliaceae) at Bilone (Obala, Cameroon). Int J Res Stud Agri Sci 2018; 4(3): 12-20. [http://dx.doi.org/10.20431/2454-6224.0403003].].

According to Tura et al. [43Tura B, Admassu A, Kibebew W. Role and economic benefits of honey bees’ pollination on fruit yield of wild apple (Malus sylvestris (L.) Mill.) in central highlands of ethiopia. Bee World 2018; 95(4): 113-6.
[http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/0005772X.2018.1522834]
] from Table 1 through honey bees pollination, it is possible to increase the marketable apple fruit yield by about 50%, and the average marketable apple fruit yield per individual tree is 3.2 kg (caged with honey bees), and 2.2 kg (open to all insect pollinators). Another study by Gebremedhn and Tadesse [44Gebremedhn H, Tadesse A. Effect of honeybee (Apis mellifera) pollination on seed yield and yield parameters of Guizotia abyssinica (L.f.). Afr J Agric Res 2014; 9(51): 3687-91. [https://www.academicjournals.org/AJAR].], revealed that pollination of crops caged with a honey bee was significantly affecting the seed yield Niger seed (16.7 quintals/ ha) than crops yield caged without insects (9.6 quintals/ha). Sufficient pollination service results in higher marketable fruit yields and quality, per tree of apple crops, compared with those unexposed to insect pollinators [30Aebi A, Vaissiere BE, Vanengelsdorp D, Delaplane KS, Roubik DW, Neumann P. Back to the future: Apis versus non-Apis pollination. Trends Ecol Evol 2012; 27(3): 142-3.
[http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.tree.2011.11.017]
, 43Tura B, Admassu A, Kibebew W. Role and economic benefits of honey bees’ pollination on fruit yield of wild apple (Malus sylvestris (L.) Mill.) in central highlands of ethiopia. Bee World 2018; 95(4): 113-6.
[http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/0005772X.2018.1522834]
, 45Khan AK, Ahmad JK, Razzaq A, et al. Pollination effect of honey bees, Apis mellifera L. (Hymenoptera: Apidae) on apple fruit development and its weight. Persian Gulf Crop Prot 2012; 1(2): 1-5. [https://www.researchgate.net/publication/256838387].]. Generally, the fruit yield of Malus sylvestris increased by 77.8% if we were using honey bee as pollinators and by 22.2% using insect pollinators with free access to the apple trees compared to trees caged without pollinators [43Tura B, Admassu A, Kibebew W. Role and economic benefits of honey bees’ pollination on fruit yield of wild apple (Malus sylvestris (L.) Mill.) in central highlands of ethiopia. Bee World 2018; 95(4): 113-6.
[http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/0005772X.2018.1522834]
]. The productivity and quality of strawberry were increased by the use of honey bee as a pollinator [46Çolak AM, Sahinler N, Islamoglu M. The effect of honeybee pollination on productivity and quality of strawberry. J Agric Sci 2017; 32(2): 87-90. [https://doi.org/10.28955/alinterizbd.335835].]. Stimulating the use of beekeeping for pollination of crops will be of benefit to both the beekeeper and the farmer. Therefore, farmers should use pollination service to maximize their income without paying an extra cost through only placing the honey bees on the cropland during the flowering session.

1.2. Economic Value of Honey Bee Pollination Service

Cross-pollination through honey bee is essential to increase quality through a more unified ripening period and earlier harvesting time. Honey bees pollination service not only maximizes agricultural crop production but also increases the honey yield harvested from the hive because honey bees collect more nectar and pollen while they pollinate the flowering The economic value of pollinators for some agricultural crops was estimated to be $ 0.815 billion dollars in Ethiopia, and in addition to this, the regional distribution is shown as Oromia and Amhara regional being ranked the first and second regional states to benefit from biological pollinators in the country [22Alebachew WG. Economic value of pollination service of agricultural crops in Ethiopia: Biological Pollinators. J Apic Sci 2018; 62(2): 265-73.]. In the absence of the pollinators, the economic value may drop by 16% [47Bareke T, Addi A. Effect of honeybee pollination on seed and fruit yield of agricultural crops in Ethiopia. MOJ Eco Environ Sci 2019; 4(5): 205-9.
[http://dx.doi.org/10.15406/mojes.2019.04.00155]
].

Table 1
The mean and standard error (SE) of marketable fruit yield per tree, per hectare of apple trees, and seed yield of Niger seed /hectare under different treatment.


Table 2
Economic Value of Pollination (EVP) service for biotically pollinated crops (agricultural and horticultural) in Ethiopia.


In Ethiopia, during the 2015/16 production season (Table 2), the economic value of pollination service for the specific crops ranges from $ 2,500,905.0 to $ 1,010.7 in which coffee is higher pollination economic value ($ 2.5 million), followed by Faba bean ($ 1.431 million) and Niger seed ($ 1.430 million) respectively [22Alebachew WG. Economic value of pollination service of agricultural crops in Ethiopia: Biological Pollinators. J Apic Sci 2018; 62(2): 265-73.]. Honey bee pollination service improves both the quantity and quality of apples and its impact is increasing the market value and growers’ profits [48Garibaldi LA, Aizen MA, Klein AM, Cunningham SA, Harder LD. Global growth and stability of agricultural yield decrease with pollinator dependence. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 2011; 108(14): 5909-14.
[http://dx.doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1012431108] [PMID: 21422295]
-50Geslin B, Aizen AM, García N, Pereira A, Vaissiére EB, Garibaldi AL. The impact of honeybee colony quality on crop yield and farmers’ profit in apples and pears. Agric Ecosyst Environ 2017; 248: 153-61.
[http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.agee.2017.07.035]
]. According to Tura et al. [43Tura B, Admassu A, Kibebew W. Role and economic benefits of honey bees’ pollination on fruit yield of wild apple (Malus sylvestris (L.) Mill.) in central highlands of ethiopia. Bee World 2018; 95(4): 113-6.
[http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/0005772X.2018.1522834]
], application honey bees pollination service has boosted the income by 136.6 US$ per 100 apple trees. It is important to use honey bees pollination service as a yield-enhancing tool and/or technology and as a development extension package to improve productivity and food security in individual producers’ level and boosting the national economy in Ethiopia (Table 3).

1.3. Perception of Farmers’ on Pollinators and Pollination

Nowadays, there is a global loss of pollination services that resulted in a $302 billion reduction in the value of production across all sectors [57Bauer DM. The Macroeconomic Cost of Catastrophic Pollinator Declines 2011; 13.]. Reduction in output through pollination service is due to human-induced impacts such as habitat destruction, land-use change, use of chemicals (pesticides and herbicides), climate change, and invasive species [58Kearns CA, Inouye DW, Waser NM. Endangered Mutualism: The Conservation of Plant-pollinator Interaction. Annu Rev Ecol Syst 1998; 29(1): 83-112.
[http://dx.doi.org/10.1146/annurev.ecolsys.29.1.83]
, 59FAO, (Food and Agricultural Organization). Tools for Conservation and use of pollination service, Initial Survey of Good Pollination Practices, Glob­al Action on Pollination Services For Sustainable Agriculture 2018.]. Abundances and distributions of pollinator species are affecting agricultural yields, and other agroecosystem functions in many ways. About 77% of farmers in the gozamin district of the Amhara region in Ethiopia did not know pollination and the importance of insect pollinator, and they consider crop pests to insect pollinators [60Misganaw M, Mengesha G, Awas T. Perception of farmers on importance of insect pollinators in gozamin district of Amhara Region, Ethiopia. Biodiversity Int J 2017; 1(5): 54-60.
[http://dx.doi.org/10.15406/bij.2017.01.00029]
]. The majority of cocoa producing farmers in Ghana (87.6%) did not have the general scientific concept of pollination [61Frimpong AK, Kwapong PK, Gordon I. Cocoa farmers’ awareness of pollination and its implication for pollinator-friendly practices. Res Rev Biosci 2013; 7(12): 504-14.]. However, 50% of beekeeping farmers in the Chitwan district of Nepal were aware of the pollination services provided by the bees [29Devkota K, Dhakal SC, Thapa RB. Economics of beekeeping as pollination management practices adopted by farmers in Chitwan district of Nepal. Agric Food Secur 2016; 5(6): 1-6.
[http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s40066-016-0053-9]
].

Only a few farmers (23%) know the role honey bees play in pollination service [60Misganaw M, Mengesha G, Awas T. Perception of farmers on importance of insect pollinators in gozamin district of Amhara Region, Ethiopia. Biodiversity Int J 2017; 1(5): 54-60.
[http://dx.doi.org/10.15406/bij.2017.01.00029]
], and similar to this the majority of farmers in western Kenya [62Kasina JM, Kraemer M, Martius C, Wittmann D. Farmers’ knowledge of bees and their natural history in Kakamega district, Kenya. J Apic Res 2009; 48(2): 126-33.
[http://dx.doi.org/10.3896/IBRA.1.48.2.07]
] and Uganda [63Munyuli T. Farmers’ perceptions of pollinators’ importance in coffee production in Uganda. Agric Sci 2011; 2(3): 318-33.
[http://dx.doi.org/10.4236/as.2011.23043]
] were not aware of the importance of pollination for crop production. This indicates the need for training and awareness creation to the farmers on the significance of pollinators to enhance productivity. In most parts of Ethiopia, golden pollination service of honey bees is not recognized well. Therefore, it is still a need and essential to create awareness on the relevance of honey bees pollination service to farmers.

Table 3
Economic values of honey bee pollination in different parts of the world.


1.4. Pollination and Human Nutrition

The most significant benefit of beekeeping lies in the fact that honey bees pollinate agricultural and horticultural plants. Pollinators play an essential role in human nutrition in the developing world [64Ellis AM, Myers SS, Ricketts TH. Do pollinators contribute to nutritional health? PLoS One 2015; 10(1):e114805.
[http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0114805] [PMID: 25575027]
]. Besides, the economic impacts and the possible consequences for the socio-economics of human societies, loss of pollination may also affect human nutrition [65Vanbergen JA, Hear M, Breeze T, Potts SG, Hanley N. Status and value of pollinators and pollination services; A report to the department for environment, food and rural affairs (Defra) 2014. ID PH0514.]. Insect-pollinated crops are crucial for proper human diet [66Eilers EJ, Kremen C, Smith Greenleaf S, Garber AK, Klein AM. Contribution of pollinator-mediated crops to nutrients in the human food supply. PLoS One 2011; 6(6):e21363.
[http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0021363] [PMID: 21731717]
], and they provide nutritional variety and nutrients, including lipids, vitamins, folic acid, and minerals, which are essential for human health [2Klein AM, Vaissière BE, Cane JH, et al. Importance of pollinators in changing landscapes for world crops. Proc Biol Sci 2007; 274(1608): 303-13.
[http://dx.doi.org/10.1098/rspb.2006.3721] [PMID: 17164193]
, 66Eilers EJ, Kremen C, Smith Greenleaf S, Garber AK, Klein AM. Contribution of pollinator-mediated crops to nutrients in the human food supply. PLoS One 2011; 6(6):e21363.
[http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0021363] [PMID: 21731717]
]. In addition to the quality and quantity improvement, insect-pollinated crops also provide about 70% vitamin the deficiency of which is a primary human health concern worldwide, and pollinators are responsible for up to 40 percent of the world’s supply of nutrients [66Eilers EJ, Kremen C, Smith Greenleaf S, Garber AK, Klein AM. Contribution of pollinator-mediated crops to nutrients in the human food supply. PLoS One 2011; 6(6):e21363.
[http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0021363] [PMID: 21731717]
]. Hence, generally, it is possible to deduce that loss of pollinators and the service they provide could produce a potential problem on human nutrition, although the magnitude of the problem will often depend on geographical location and degree of societal development.

1.5. Contribution of Apiculture to Food Security

Ethiopia designed a competitive advantage in honey and beeswax production improvement to develop a substantial export trade is an essential goal of the Growth and Transformation Plan (GTP) to eradicate poverty [67Ethiopia’s agricultural sector Policy and Investment Framework (PIF) 2010–2020. Addis Ababa, Ethiopia: 2010 2010. MoARD.]. Apiculture is one of the livelihood sources in most developing countries, and its success has been noted in countries like Ethiopia [68Mazorodze BT. The contribution of apiculture towards rural income in honde valley Zimbabwe. 2015.National Capacity Building Strategy for Sustainable Development and Poverty Alleviation Conference May 26-28, 2015; 2015.]. Beekeeping plays a critical role in agriculture and having many comparative advantages that help farmers to improve their livelihoods and ensure food security [69Aynalem T. Beekeeping, climate change and food security: The case of Eastern Amhara Region, Ethiopia. Livest Res Rural Dev 2017; 29(83). [http://www.lrrd.org/lrrd29/5/tess29083.html]., 70Reda GK, Girmay S, Gebremichael B. Beekeeping practice and honey production potential in Afar Regional State, Ethiopia. Acta Universitatis Sapientiae Agri Environ 2018; 10(1): 66-82.
[http://dx.doi.org/10.2478/ausae-2018-0006]
]. In addition, it is an excellent source of income for landless farmers [71Tufo B, Jimma A, Zeleke B. Demonstration and participatory evaluation of improved beehives and cooperative and market linkage formation in dawro zone southern ethiopia. J Fisheries Livest Prod 2017; 5(3): 1-5.
[http://dx.doi.org/10.4172/2332-2608.1000239]
]. Beekeeping has a significant contribution in alleviating poverty and improving the standard and wellbeing of the rural beekeeping community through the income from the sector as secures of financial power [72Gezahegne T. Apiculture in Ethiopian. Agriculture Third ApiExpo Africa 2012. 26th - 29th September 2012 Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.]. Practically, beekeeping does not compete with crop production and animal husbandry practice, but it is advantageous for agricultural and horticultural plants.

Ethiopian government focuses on the rehabilitated Ex-closure areas given to landless youths through organizing them as trained cooperatives and providing initial capital to run modern beekeeping activities as alternative employment opportunities and food security [73Zekiros F, Gangwar SK. Assessment of honey production on different agro- ecology in Woreda Tahtay-Koraro North Western of Tigray, Ethiopia. Int J Sci Nature 2017; 8(4): 765-9.]. The honey bee produces honey, and brood is an essential source of food [74Teferi K. Status of Beekeeping in Ethiopia- A Review. J Dairy Vet Sci 2018; 8(4): 1-12.
[http://dx.doi.org/10.19080/JDVS.2018.08.555743]
, 75Agrawal TJ. Beekeeping Industry in India: Future Potential. Int J Res Appl Natu Soci Sci 2014; 2(7): 133-40.]. In agriculture production, pollination plays a crucial role in enhancing food security and yield stability through the linking of an ecosystem with agricultural production [76Dicks LV, Abrahams J, Atkinson J, et al. Identifying key knowledge needs for evidence-based conservation of wild insect pollinators: A collaborative cross-sectoral exercise. Insect Conserv Divers 2013; 6(3): 435-46.
[http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1752-4598.2012.00221.x]
-78Sutter L, Jeanneret P, Bartual AM, Bocci G, Albrecht M. Enhancing plant diversity in agricultural landscapes promotes both rare bees and dominant crop-pollinating bees through complementary increase in key floral resources 2017.
[http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/1365-2664.12907]
].

In the country, about 1.55 million households are engaged and getting incomes from beekeeping [79Sebeho HK. Production and Quality Characteristics of Ethiopian Honey: A Review. Academic J Entomol 2015; 8(4): 168-73.
[http://dx.doi.org/10.5829/idosi.aje.2015.8.4.96210]
]. Due to bimodal rains, beekeepers harvested honey twice a year [73Zekiros F, Gangwar SK. Assessment of honey production on different agro- ecology in Woreda Tahtay-Koraro North Western of Tigray, Ethiopia. Int J Sci Nature 2017; 8(4): 765-9., 80Gidey Y, Bethelhem K, Dawit K, Alem M. Assessment of beekeeping practices in Asgede Tsimbla district, Northern Ethiopia: Absconding, bee forage and bee pests. Afr J Agric Res 2012; 7(1): 1-5.
[http://dx.doi.org/10.5897/AJAR10.1071]
, 81Haftom G, Zelealem T, Girmay M, Awet E. Seasonal honeybee forage availability, swarming, absconding and honey harvesting in Debrekidan and Begasheka Watersheds of Tigray, Northern Ethiopia. Livest Res Rural Dev 2013; 25(4). [http://www.lrrd.org/lrrd25/4/haft25061.htm].]. The country produces about 47,352 tons of crude honey and 5.4 thousand tons per year [82Food FAO. Food and Agriculture Organization: Livestock Primary 2017.-84Seyoum E, Anja A. Assessment of beekeeping production system and constraints in basketo special woreda, Southern Ethiopia. Hortic Int J 2018; 2(3): 124-7.
[http://dx.doi.org/10.15406/hij.2018.2.00039]
]. Out of the total honey produced, almost 80%is used for local consumption and for local brewing called Tej, and the remaining is sold either as table honey in the domestic market or to the export market [74Teferi K. Status of Beekeeping in Ethiopia- A Review. J Dairy Vet Sci 2018; 8(4): 1-12.
[http://dx.doi.org/10.19080/JDVS.2018.08.555743]
]. Keeping a resilient honey bee colony and managing them in a wall manner help to ensure the future viability of crops. It provides vital stability in the agricultural sector and millions of people as employment opportunities. Maximizing the yield of honey bee-pollinated plants can improve the performance of the agriculture sector, increase national wealth, and help to ensure the long-term food security and economic resilience of the rural populations.

1.6. Challenges of Honey Bee Pollination Services

Farmers use different inputs, including pesticides, to grow subsistence and commercial crops of different varieties for agricultural crop maximization. Even if honey bees pollination has proved to be essential for food production, directly and indirectly, the supply of human food and animal feed resources are considered to be at risk today [85Daily GC. Nature’s Services: Societal Dependence on Natural Ecosystems 1997; 392.-87Abrol DP. Plant-pollinator interactions in the context of climate change - an endangered mutualism. J Palynology 2009; 45(2): 1-25.]. Beekeepers are experiencing high colony losses due to the unwise application of pesticides [88Kerealem E, Tilahun G, Preston TR. Constraints and prospects for apiculture research and development in Amhara region, Ethiopia. Livest Res Rural Dev 2009; 21(172). [http://www.lrrd.org/lrrd21/10/ejig21172.htm]., 89Mengistu ZM, Beyene JT. Beekeeping in Ethiopia, a case of agrochemical uses in west Gojjam Zone. Bee World 2014; 91(1): 8-11.
[http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/0005772X.2014.11417575]
] and climate change [90Tessema A. Beekeeping, climate change and food security: the case of Eastern Amhara Region, Ethiopia. Livest Res Rural Dev 2017; 29(83). [http://www.lrrd.org/lrrd29/5/tess29083.html].]. Insecticides and herbicides have been reported as significant causes of death and absconding of the honey bee colonies [91Desalegn B. Assessment of pesticides use and its economic impact on the apiculture subsector in selected districts of Amhara region, Ethiopia. J Environ Anal Toxicol 2014; 5(3): 1-4.
[http://dx.doi.org/10.4172/2161-0525.1000267]
, 92Melisie M, Damte T, Thakur KA. Farmers’ insecticide use practice and its effect on honeybees (Apis mellifera) foraging on onion flower in Adami Tullu district of Ethiopia. Glob J Pests Dis Crop Prot 2016; 4(1): 139-45. [http://www.globalscienceresearchjournals.org/].] and their food source [88Kerealem E, Tilahun G, Preston TR. Constraints and prospects for apiculture research and development in Amhara region, Ethiopia. Livest Res Rural Dev 2009; 21(172). [http://www.lrrd.org/lrrd21/10/ejig21172.htm].]. Due to the misapplication of these chemicals, honey bee mortality and reduction of honey bee colonies, which eventually results in a reduction of bee products and crop yield are faced [88Kerealem E, Tilahun G, Preston TR. Constraints and prospects for apiculture research and development in Amhara region, Ethiopia. Livest Res Rural Dev 2009; 21(172). [http://www.lrrd.org/lrrd21/10/ejig21172.htm]., 93Melisie M, Damte T, Thakur KA. Effect of some insecticidal chemicals under laboratory condition on honey bees [Apismellifera L. (hymenoptera: Apidae)] that forage on onion flowers. Afr J Agric Res 2015; 10(11): 1295-300. [ https://doi.org/10.5897/AJAR2014.9277].]. Reports indicate that there was a decline of honey bee colonies in Ethiopia [47Bareke T, Addi A. Effect of honeybee pollination on seed and fruit yield of agricultural crops in Ethiopia. MOJ Eco Environ Sci 2019; 4(5): 205-9.
[http://dx.doi.org/10.15406/mojes.2019.04.00155]
, 60Misganaw M, Mengesha G, Awas T. Perception of farmers on importance of insect pollinators in gozamin district of Amhara Region, Ethiopia. Biodiversity Int J 2017; 1(5): 54-60.
[http://dx.doi.org/10.15406/bij.2017.01.00029]
, 91Desalegn B. Assessment of pesticides use and its economic impact on the apiculture subsector in selected districts of Amhara region, Ethiopia. J Environ Anal Toxicol 2014; 5(3): 1-4.
[http://dx.doi.org/10.4172/2161-0525.1000267]
, 94Serda B, Zewudu T, Dereje M, Aman M. Beekeeping practices, production potential and challenges of bee keeping among beekeepers in haramaya district, eastern ethiopia. J Veterinar Sci Technol 2015; 6(5): 2-5.
[http://dx.doi.org/10.4172/2157-7579.1000255]
] due to pesticide application and deforestation. The impacts of pesticides on honey bee production are likely to be aggravated by the limited knowledge among users on the toxicological and chemical properties of these substances and the fact that labels on pesticide containers were in a language that cannot be understood.

Even variation in the production system, the average honey bee colony holding capacity of beekeepers is 5 [24Zekiros F, Gangwar SK, Meseret H. Challenges on different honey production system in Agro-ecology of Tahtay-koraro north western tigray, ethiopia. Glob J of Bio-Sci and Biotechnol 2018; 7(3): 331-5., 95Tesfaye B, Begna D, Eshetu M. Beekeeping practices, trends and constraints in bale, south-eastern ethiopia. J Fisheries Livest Prod 2017; 5(1): 1-9.
[http://dx.doi.org/10.4172/2332-2608.1000215]
, 96Tessema AA, Zeleke MZ. Study on the beekeeping situation, the level of beekeepers knowledge concerning local honeybee subspecies, their productive characteristics, and behavior in eastern amhara region, ethiopia. Advan Agri 2017. ID 6354250.]. Agrochemical poisoning is the primary challenge for the beekeeping sector, and three-quarters of beekeepers lose two honey bee colonies per year [89Mengistu ZM, Beyene JT. Beekeeping in Ethiopia, a case of agrochemical uses in west Gojjam Zone. Bee World 2014; 91(1): 8-11.
[http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/0005772X.2014.11417575]
] and some beekeepers lost all their colonies [88Kerealem E, Tilahun G, Preston TR. Constraints and prospects for apiculture research and development in Amhara region, Ethiopia. Livest Res Rural Dev 2009; 21(172). [http://www.lrrd.org/lrrd21/10/ejig21172.htm].] due to unwise application. Through the application of pesticides, the subsequent financial loss to the beekeepers is estimated to be about 819291.4 US$ at selected districts of the Amhara Region, Ethiopia [91Desalegn B. Assessment of pesticides use and its economic impact on the apiculture subsector in selected districts of Amhara region, Ethiopia. J Environ Anal Toxicol 2014; 5(3): 1-4.
[http://dx.doi.org/10.4172/2161-0525.1000267]
]. Scientific study indicates that all of the farmers apply agrochemicals on barley, wheat, millet, and onion before blooming [89Mengistu ZM, Beyene JT. Beekeeping in Ethiopia, a case of agrochemical uses in west Gojjam Zone. Bee World 2014; 91(1): 8-11.
[http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/0005772X.2014.11417575]
] and majority of farmers apply chemicals on mango (92.9%), orange (97.2%), potato (81%) and maize (81%) at blooming and liquid spray at the morning and the middle of the day [89Mengistu ZM, Beyene JT. Beekeeping in Ethiopia, a case of agrochemical uses in west Gojjam Zone. Bee World 2014; 91(1): 8-11.
[http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/0005772X.2014.11417575]
, 91Desalegn B. Assessment of pesticides use and its economic impact on the apiculture subsector in selected districts of Amhara region, Ethiopia. J Environ Anal Toxicol 2014; 5(3): 1-4.
[http://dx.doi.org/10.4172/2161-0525.1000267]
, 92Melisie M, Damte T, Thakur KA. Farmers’ insecticide use practice and its effect on honeybees (Apis mellifera) foraging on onion flower in Adami Tullu district of Ethiopia. Glob J Pests Dis Crop Prot 2016; 4(1): 139-45. [http://www.globalscienceresearchjournals.org/].]. The majority of farmers use pesticides at the time when the honey bees most visited the flowering plants to collect nectar and pollen; as a result, they poison themselves or contaminate the resources found in the hive. Pesticide application is increasing its impact, including honey yield, killing flowering plants, pollination service, and efficiency and honey bees population. Limiting the use of pesticides [94Serda B, Zewudu T, Dereje M, Aman M. Beekeeping practices, production potential and challenges of bee keeping among beekeepers in haramaya district, eastern ethiopia. J Veterinar Sci Technol 2015; 6(5): 2-5.
[http://dx.doi.org/10.4172/2157-7579.1000255]
] and wise application of pesticides during the flowering period of crops is important to minimize honey bee losses in Ethiopia.

1.7. Knowledge Gaps and Priorities for Future Research on Honey bee Pollination Service

  • The contribution honey bees to pollination service to the yield and/or quality of multiple crops from individual pollinator species and pollinator communities should be identified and documented appropriately.
  • It needs a further assessment of why farmers do not use pollination services as yield and quality improvement tools and technology.
  • The socioeconomic and environmental relevance of honey bees pollination service should be assessed and documented.
  • Skill and knowledge gap on the farmers how and when to use pesticides [89Mengistu ZM, Beyene JT. Beekeeping in Ethiopia, a case of agrochemical uses in west Gojjam Zone. Bee World 2014; 91(1): 8-11.
    [http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/0005772X.2014.11417575]
    , 91Desalegn B. Assessment of pesticides use and its economic impact on the apiculture subsector in selected districts of Amhara region, Ethiopia. J Environ Anal Toxicol 2014; 5(3): 1-4.
    [http://dx.doi.org/10.4172/2161-0525.1000267]
    , 92Melisie M, Damte T, Thakur KA. Farmers’ insecticide use practice and its effect on honeybees (Apis mellifera) foraging on onion flower in Adami Tullu district of Ethiopia. Glob J Pests Dis Crop Prot 2016; 4(1): 139-45. [http://www.globalscienceresearchjournals.org/].].
  • Farmer’s awareness of honey bees pollination service to agricultural crop production is low [60Misganaw M, Mengesha G, Awas T. Perception of farmers on importance of insect pollinators in gozamin district of Amhara Region, Ethiopia. Biodiversity Int J 2017; 1(5): 54-60.
    [http://dx.doi.org/10.15406/bij.2017.01.00029]
    ].
  • Developing conservation policy for pollinators; especially, honey bees, and legislation and monitoring for pesticide application [47Bareke T, Addi A. Effect of honeybee pollination on seed and fruit yield of agricultural crops in Ethiopia. MOJ Eco Environ Sci 2019; 4(5): 205-9.
    [http://dx.doi.org/10.15406/mojes.2019.04.00155]
    , 89Mengistu ZM, Beyene JT. Beekeeping in Ethiopia, a case of agrochemical uses in west Gojjam Zone. Bee World 2014; 91(1): 8-11.
    [http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/0005772X.2014.11417575]
    , 92Melisie M, Damte T, Thakur KA. Farmers’ insecticide use practice and its effect on honeybees (Apis mellifera) foraging on onion flower in Adami Tullu district of Ethiopia. Glob J Pests Dis Crop Prot 2016; 4(1): 139-45. [http://www.globalscienceresearchjournals.org/].].
  • Awareness creation on protecting the honey bees from pesticide poisoning and the importance of honey bees on agricultural crop pollination [47Bareke T, Addi A. Effect of honeybee pollination on seed and fruit yield of agricultural crops in Ethiopia. MOJ Eco Environ Sci 2019; 4(5): 205-9.
    [http://dx.doi.org/10.15406/mojes.2019.04.00155]
    , 60Misganaw M, Mengesha G, Awas T. Perception of farmers on importance of insect pollinators in gozamin district of Amhara Region, Ethiopia. Biodiversity Int J 2017; 1(5): 54-60.
    [http://dx.doi.org/10.15406/bij.2017.01.00029]
    ].

CONCLUSION

Globally, one-third of the total human food supply depends on insect pollination and animal pollination. The honey bee is responsible to pollinate 62.2% of crops cultivated in Ethiopia. In this respect, mainly, the honey bee has brought about a significant economic contribution to improve agricultural crop production quantity and quality, essential for ecological maintenance and improvement, human food, and nutrition security in Ethiopia. Nevertheless, the double benefit approach of honey bees pollination service has been overlooked in agricultural development strategies and has not been included as a technological input in agricultural development packages. High-value agriculture is being promoted in several areas and extension institutions offer packages of practices for each type of crop. However, the importance of managing pollination to achieve higher yields still has been overlooked in Ethiopia.

In Ethiopia, farmers have no way of knowing how essential honey bees pollination services to their crops. This gap in the agricultural extension system needs to be addressed by designing policies and strategies to use honey bees pollination service as a tool and technology for the improvement in production and sustainability.

Recently, a decline in honey bee keeping has been reported in Ethiopia, owing to several factors including the unwise use of pesticide climate change. The use of pesticides has been affecting the honey bees through poisoning, death, destroying the honey bees forage, pollination service, and efficiency. This, in turn, results in a reduction of bee products and crop yield.

To reduce the ecological damage and losses, what is required is understanding the commercial and pollination service needs of the country. Furthermore, utilizing honey bees pollination services will help to maintain and sustain the ecology and agricultural crop production. In conclusion, promoting the honey bees pollination service as the tool for improving honey production and crop yield in Ethiopia is essential.

CONSENT FOR PUBLICATION

Not applicable.

FUNDING

None.

CONFLICT OF INTEREST

The author declares no conflict of interest, financial or otherwise.

ACKNOWLEDEGEMENTS

I would like to express my heart full gratitude to my friend Mr. Gedam Brhane for providing critical comments and suggestions besides spending lots of his valuable time editing the manuscript.

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