Business challenges faced by apiculture SMMEs in Northern, Swaziland.
Masuku, Brenda Samkelisiwe.
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Apiculture or beekeeping is a new initiative in Swaziland, aimed at improving livelihoods for rural people. There is a potential for growth in the industry, but the question is, “are the rural beekeepers gaining from this opportunity?” The aim of this study was to highlight business challenges that hinder rural beekeepers from exploiting the industry opportunities. In order to ascertain the challenges faced by the beekeepers, a sample of farmers from Northern Hhohho, Swaziland was studied. A probability sample of 41 rural beekeepers was drawn from a population size of 384 beekeepers. The sample composed of 58.5% females and 41.5% males, with a majority of them, 29.3% falling between the ages of 31 – 40 years. Results of the study show that 53.7% of the respondents relied solely on beekeeping as their source of income, or livelihood. Northern Hhohho was chosen because of its natural vegetation and climate, which makes the area conducive for beekeeping. It is also a predominantly rural area. Data was collected through a questionnaire, developed for this research and administered to the beekeepers in that area. The study revealed that lack of input resources and an unstructured industry are the reasons for failure of the business ventures. A salient point is the lack of entrepreneurial skills of the beekeepers. It is recommended that, improving entrepreneurial skills, for the SMME beekeepers and Swaziland government intervention in facilitating input resources could benefit the rural beekeepers, in terms of ensuring sustainability of their business. This would create value for both beekeepers and the Swaziland economy.