Cultural barriers towards women and youth entry to apiculture production in Maara Sub-County, Kenya

Keywords: apiculture, cultural barriers, indigenous knowledge, skills, formal learning


The study adds to extension education knowledge by revealing cultural barriers inhibiting the uptake of apiculture enterprise among women and youths in Maara Sub-County, Kenya. Data were gathered from twenty-three smallholder farmers selected through purposive sampling based on gender and age from Maara Sub-county, Kenya. Data were collected through the use of structured interview schedule. The study revealed that women and youths’ participation in apicultural activities hindered by cultural restrictions which included taboos, inheritance, traditions, and attitudes. The taboos inhibiting female farmers from engaging in apicultural production were; forbidding women from climbing trees, sitting beehives in apiaries, and honey harvesting. Traditions such as the belief that apiculture is meant for elderly men discouraged youths and women entrant to the industry. Only interested and older sons from the farm families could inherit apiaries in the community. A majority of female and young farmers were blinded by the negative attitude they had towards the enterprise hence they could not participate. Even though apprenticeship was the main channel of equipping farmers with apicultural knowledge and skills, personal experiences and social gathering played a vital role. Few farmers also acquired knowledge through formal schooling. Cultural restrictions need to be eased to attract women and young farmers in apiculture production. Extension education would also enhance the adoption of the farm enterprise through dissemination of modern beekeeping technologies.


Adams, E. C. (2018). How to become a beekeeper: Learning and skill in managing honeybees. Cultural Geographies, 25(1), 31–47.

African Union (AU). (2019). The inaugural report on the status of apiculture in Africa 2019: Opportunities and strategies for development of the sector. African Union, Inter-African Bureau for Animal Resources.

Agoba, M. R., & Akongo, T. (2001, October 28–November 1). Gender issues in beekeeping: The Uganda case [Conference session]. APIMODIA XXXVII International Apicultural Congress (ICC), Durban, South Africa.

Anoliefo, G. O., Nwokeji, P. A., & Ikhajiagbe, B. (2015). Influence of traditional taboo practices on natural resource conservation in Uli, Ihiala local government area of Anambra State Nigeria; Sustainable community development. Journal of Environmental Sustainability, 4(4), 1–13.

Bunde, A. O., & Kibet, K. (2016). Socio-economic factors influencing adoption of modern beekeeping technologies in Baringo County, Kenya. International Journal of Science and Research, 5(6), 960–969.

Caroll, T., & Kinsella, J. (2013). Livelihood improvement and smallholder beekeeping in Kenya: Unrealised potential. Development in Practice, 23(3), 332–345.

Chemwok, C. K., Tuitoek, D. K., & Nganai, S. K. (2019). Factors influencing honey production in Marigat, Baringo County, Kenya. International Journal of Research and Innovation in Social Science, 3(2), 426–434.

Chisita, T. C. (2012, May 24). Knotting and networking agricultural information services through Web 2.0 to create an informed farming community: A case of Zimbabwe [Conference session]. World Library and Information Congress: 78th IFLA General Conference and Assembly, Helsinki.

Creswell, J. W. (2012). Educational research: Planning, conducting, and evaluating quantitative and qualitative research (4th ed.). Pearson

Davis, K. E., & Negash, M. (2005, October 17-21). Gender, wealth, and participation in community groups in Meru Central Distirct, Kenya. [Conference session]. International Research Workshop on ‘Gender and Collective Action, Chiang Mai, Thailand.

European Commission. (2020). Honey market presentation. European Union.

Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO). (2017). The community land rights of the women and youth in Turkana County, Kenya [Policy brief].

Fikru, S. (2015). Review of bee and honey production in Ethiopia. Journal of Animal Science Advances, 5(10),1413–1421.

Franz, N., Piercy, F., Donaldson, J., & Richard, R. (2010). How farmers learn: Implications for agricultural educators. Journal of Rural Social Sciences, 25(1), 37–59.

Gangwar, R., & Kameswari, V. L. (2016). Attitude of rural youth towards agriculture as a means of livelihood. Journal of Applied and Natural Science, 8(2), 879–882.

Glaser, B. G., & Strauss, A. L. (1967). The discovery of grounded theory: Strategies for qualitative research. Transaction.

Heckle, R., Smith, P., Macdiarmid, J. I., Campell, E., & Abbott, P. (2018). Beekeping adoption: A case study of three smallholder farming communities in Baringo County, Kenya. Journal of Agriculture and Rural Development in Tropics and Subtropics, 119(1), 1–11.

Honey Bee Health Coalition. (2019). Best management practices for hive health: A guide for beekeepers (1st ed.).

Karpati, L., Csapo, Z., & Vanyi Arvane, G. (2009, December 9–11). Innovation and rural development: The solution for the Hungarian beekeeping sector [Paper Presentation]. European Association of Agricultural Economists (EAAE), 113th Seminar, Belgrade, Serbia.

King, L. E. (2013). Elephants and bees: Could honey bees be effective deterrents for Asia’s crop-raiding elephants. Sanctuary Asia Magazine.

Masara, C. (2010). Learning commercial beekeeping: Two cases of social learning in southern African community natrual resources management contexts [Master’s thesis, Rhodes University]. South East Academic Libraries System (SEALS) Digital Commons

Mburu, P. D. (2015). Mapping of the honey value chain and analysis of changes in gender roles and factors influencing women empowerment among beekeepers in Kitui county, Kenya [Doctoral dissertation, University of Nairobi]. University of Nairobi Digital Repository

Mburu, P., Affognon, H., Irungu, P., Mburu, J., & Raina, S. (2015, July 16). Beekeeping for women empowerment: Case of commercial insect programme in Kitui County, Kenya [Paper Presentation]. International Association for Feminist Economics (IAFFE) 24th Annual Conference, Berlin, Germany.

Minus , K., Woods , J., Roberts, R., English, C., & Rodriguez , B. (2021). Empowering the caregiver network of farmers with a disability: A case study of the North Carolina AgrAbility project. Advancements in Agricultural Development, 2(1), 95-106.

Miriti, L., Masiga, C., Wamue, N., & Maina, I. (2019). Gender gaps in the levels of participation in improved bee keeping: Case of the Maasai community in Trans Mara, Narok County, Kenya. Journal of Livestock Policy, 1(1), 1–22.

Mungai, E. N., & Ogot, M. (2012). Gender, culture and enterprenuership in Kenya. International Business Research, 5(5), 175–183.

Mwakatobe, A. R., Ntalwila, J. A., Kohi, E. M., Kipemba, N., & Mrisha, C. (2016). Income generation promote the participation of youth and women in beekeeping activities in Western Tanzania. Journal of Entomology and Zoology Studies, 4(4), 718–721.

Ryan, F., Coughlan, M., & Cronin, P. (2009). Interviewing in qualitative research: The one-to-interview. International Journal of Therapy and Rehabililation, 16(6), 309–316.

Sibani, C. M. (2018). Impact of Western culture on traditional African society: Problems and prospects. Journal of Religion and Human Relations, 10(1), 56-72.

Šūmane, S., Kunda, I., Knickel, K., Strauss, A., Tisenkopfs, T., Rios, I. D. I., Rivera, M., Chebach, T., & Ashkenazy, A. (2018). Local and farmers’ knowledge matters! How integrating informal and formal knowledge enhances sustainable and resilient agriculture. Journal of Rural Studies, 59, 232-241.

Tharaka Nithi County Government. (2018). Development Plan CIDP 2018-2022. County Government of Tharaka Nithi.

Trompenaars, F., & Hampden-Turner, C. (1993). Riding the waves of culture: Understanding cultural diversity in business (2nd ed.). Nicholas Brealey.

Verma, T. C., Meena, K. C., Aswal, S., & Singh, D. K. (2018). Socio-personal and economic analysis of apiculture enterprise in Hadauoti region of Rajasthan. Economic Affairs, 63(1), 261–268.

Wambua, B. M., Musimba, N. K., & Muli, E. (2016). Socioeconomic analysis of beekeeping technologies in Kenya: A case study of Kitui County. International Journal of Education and Research, 4(4), 345–354.

Yang, J. (2015). Recognition, validation, and accreditation of non-formal and informal learning. UNESCO Institute of Lifelong Learning.

Zoccali, P., Malacrino, A., Campolo, O., Laudani, F., Algeri, G. M., Giuntu, G., & Palmeri, V. (2017). A novel GIS-based approach to assess beekeeping suitability of Mediterranean lands. Saudi Journal of Biological Science, 24 (5),1045–1050.

How to Cite
Gikunda, R. M., Ooga, D. M., Okiamba, I. N., & Anyuor, S. (2021). Cultural barriers towards women and youth entry to apiculture production in Maara Sub-County, Kenya. Advancements in Agricultural Development, 2(2), 73-85.