|Experts have called for significant investment in honey production within indigenous forests because it promises high economic returns to rural families. Honey production level in Kenya stands at approximately 60,000 tons per annum (Mugure 2001). Bulk of the honey produced is consumed locally, as food and for local brews. Only about 20,000 tons finds its way to the market outside the administrative locations. And only about 2% of the annual production is exported. Thus, for bulk of the honey producers in Kenya, marketing of honey remains largely a local affair; and hence most honey producers in Kenya suffer from exploitation by middlemen.
The Government of Kenya has appreciated that apiculture has potentially valuable contributions to the development of the economy in terms of offering employment, as food, medicinal products, source of income both at the local and national level. Therefore, to improve this industry, the Government of Kenya needs market information to enable it review the policies in respect of the apiculture industry, to fully exploit its potential.
Production and marketing information in the honey industry in Kenya is very scarce. As a result, information on honey market access and potential is extremely fragmented. Consequently, there are difficulties in making decisions that would lead to the improvement of the sector. This study assessed the honey production in Muumoni Division, Mwingi District, its marketing access system, and how it is structured in the City of Nairobi. Specific objectives of the study included: to compare the prices of honey and honey products offered in Muumoni Division with those offered in the City of Nairobi; to establish the major marketing outlets for honey and honey products in the City; determining the potential for selling honey in Nairobi directly; the opportunities available for sellers of honey, as well as the constraints, if any, affecting the marketing of honey in the City of Nairobi; finding out the nature of competition and pricing strategies employed by marketing outlets within the City of Nairobi and determining the role of the Government of Kenya in influencing the market access for honey and honey products in the City of Nairobi.
Both primary and secondary data was collected for further quantitative analysis. The study thus used a set of three questionnaires, administered on producers, marketing outlets and consumers. Stakeholder participation was emphasized in all stages. Both descriptive and quantitative data analysis methods were employed in the study.
The findings of the study have both theoretical and practical implications on the development of apiculture industry in Kenya. Theoretically, the study is to contribute to the advancement of knowledge in Apicultural Industry matters in Kenya. It has also, highlighted factors that influence the production of honey and honey products, and, the factors that impact on the honey market access and potential in Kenya. The study has also practical significance because it may lead to the improvement of strategies in both production and marketing aspects of the apiculture industry by identifying the opportunities necessary for the exploitation of this natural resource. The study may be of immediate benefit to the Ministries of Agriculture and Livestock Development in the formulation of future apiculture policies aimed at enhancing production and market access for honey and honey by-products. The study shall also form a base on which others can develop their studies.