An Estimation Of Honey Supply Response In Malawi
Sindi, S I
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The Government of Malawi has earmarked honey production as one of the potential income generating activities in the rural areas and this has been stipulated in government policy documents specifically the Malawi Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper and the Malawi Growth and Development Strategy. As such, it has initiated a number of activities, which include linking honey farmers to market outlets, linking them to financial service providers, improving rural infrastructure, permitting honey farmers to hang their beehives in forest reserves at no cost and increasing annual budgetary allocations towards beekeeping activities. All these activities are aimed at motivating farmers to increase honey production. Despite these initiatives, the honey sub-sector is characterised by low production which even fails to meet domestic demand. Moreover, available evidence in literature has shown that local producers have a vast potential capacity to produce more honey. However, there is paucity of empirical evidence on the responsiveness of local producers to price and non-price factors and hence their capacity to fill the gap between demand and supply. This study was, therefore, undertaken to evaluate the supply responsiveness of honey farmers to these price and non-price factors by employing an Error Correction Model (ECM) that used annual time series data for the 1980 - 2010 period. The results of the study indicate that supply of honey in Malawi is positively influenced by its own price, amount of rainfall, beekeeping extension services and trend; and negatively by the cost of beehives. The study therefore recommended that the government should restrict honey imports, construct dams and promote irrigation in relatively dry areas, further increase its monetary allocation towards beekeeping activities, improve technologies in the honey sub-sector and subsidise the cost of beehives to make them affordable to honey producers thereby boosting honey production.