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COSTS AND RETURNS OF SMALL SCALE HONEY BEE PRODUCTION
The study analysed costs and returns of small scale honey bee production in Ohaozara Local Government Area of Ebonyi State, Nigeria. A multi-stage random sampling technique was used in selecting a total of 40 respondents for the study. Primary data used for the study were collected with the aid of structured questionnaire that was administered to sampled respondents. Both descriptive and inferential statistics were used to analysed field data collected. The result shows that greatest majority (83.33%) of the respondents were within the age of 21-50 years. Also, majority (54.17%) of them were male who were married (51.67%) while (55.83%) of them had household size of between 5-9 persons. Moreso, majority (82.5%) of the honey bee producers have acquired various forms of formal education. Further analysis indicates that 74.17% of them are Christians who are mostly traders (37.5%). Arable crop production (52.5%) dominated the agricultural activities of the honey producers, while 65.0% of them have hives capacity of above 30 litres. The annual income from bee production was mostly (42.5%) found to be below N50,000.00, while more than half (61.67%) of them earned a annual total income of N200,000.00 and above. The study further showed that most (48.33%) of respondents used stan on the ground method for honey production. Based on the type of feed used for honey production, sugar syrup and nectar with 57.5% and 37.5% responses respectively were observed among the producers, while most (48.335) of them preferred harvesting honey in the daytime. The methods of colony building adopted by the producers were: collect swarms (32.5%), purchase colonies (40.85), and purchase nucleus colonies (34.17%). Hives use for honey production were mostly clay pot (40.83%) and landstroth (40.0%). Most (49.17%) of the respondents sourced their materials from open market. The most marketing strategies employed by the honey producers were: creating awareness (36.67%), sales promo (23.33%), sales through middlemen (40.0%) and retailers (26.67%). Small scale honey production was found to be profitable with a profit of N102,950.00 and a gross margin of N139,300.00 while the benefit cost ratio (BCR) was N1.96k. The small scale honey producers identified institutional, economic, and social constraints as factors constraining effective honey production. It was recommended that: regular training and retraining programme should be organized for the honey producers, provision of adequate extension services to update their knowledge and skills, and formation of cooperative societies among the producers to take advantage of prevailing economic policies for exportation of honey to international markets.