Beekeeping practices and physicochemical properties of honey produced in Lerala village, Botswana

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L Bareki


This study was conducted to evaluate the physicochemical properties of Apis mellifera honey produced in Lerala village and to assess the beekeeping practices. Sale of honey is an important source of income for beekeepers in Lerala village. There are two types of honeybee production systems in the study area: traditional backyard beekeeping and forest honey harvesting. A total of six honey samples obtained from two sources (modern hive and forest) were analysed for physicochemical properties following standard procedures. A semi-structured questionnaire was used to assess beekeeping practices by interviewing 15 individuals who have experience in beekeeping. The  average values for moisture content, total ash, free acidity, reducing sugars, sucrose, pH, water-insoluble solids and hydroxymethylfurfural of honey samples obtained from modern hives  were 18%, 0.24%, 31 meq/kg, 56.6%, 1.88%, 4.24, 0.05 g/100g and 26.6 mg/kg, respectively. The corresponding values for honey obtained from the forest were 17.7%, 0.28%, 27.7 meq/kg, 58%, 2%, 5.18, 0.07 g/100g and 10.9 mg/kg, respectively. Honey source significantly (P≤0.05) influenced the pH, reducing sugars and sucrose contents of the honey samples while ash, free acidity, water-insoluble solids and moisture content were not significantly (P>0.05) different between the two sources of honey. The pH, sucrose and reducing sugars content of forest honey samples were significantly (P≤0.05) higher than honey obtained from modern hives. All the parameters analysed were within the limits set by the Codex Alimentarius Commission for honey. The major challenges faced by beekeepers in the study area include lack of skills and knowledge of beekeeping, weak extension services and lack of bee handling and honey processing equipment. Thus, there is a need for training of beekeepers on improved beekeeping practices and provision of inputs such as modern hives and honey handling and processing equipment to farmers.


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How to Cite
BarekiL. (2019). Beekeeping practices and physicochemical properties of honey produced in Lerala village, Botswana. Botswana Journal of Agriculture and Applied Sciences, 13(1), 22-32.
Author Biography

L Bareki, Botswana University of Agriculture and Natural Resources

Department of Food Science and Technology, Botswana University of Agriculture and Natural Resources, Gaborone, Botswana