Exploring market opportunities, current practices and uses of propolis ("Bee glue") in western Uganda
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In Uganda one 1% of the population is reported to have ventured into production and processing of propolis. This is low compared to the level of exploitation in Europe and Asia. Therefore, there is need to promote utilization of these beneficial products. Currently, there is limited knowledge of propolis production, processing, distribution, uses and practices. In order to develop strategies for increased commercialization of the non-conventional products, this study assessed the current uses, current practices/methods used and the market potential of propolis and its related products. This was aimed at understanding market potential, current practices and uses of propolis in human and animal health. A cross sectional survey using a semi-structured questionnaire was conducted .A total of 36 participants from Bunyangabu district were interviewed. Propolis was mainly used as a cough and flue treatment (41.7%) and wound care product (30.6%). Few used it as an immune booster (27.8%). Beekeepers mainly harvested propolis by scrapping from the hive openings (80.6%).Propolis tinctures were the dominant product (36.1%) with varied methods and concentrations. All respondents did not know the market potential of propolis. Product storage methods, handling and hygiene varied greatly. Most of the storage containers used were against proposed guidelines i.e. transparent instead of dark brown. From our profitability analysis it was established that a processor could make up to 126,750UShs per kg of propolis. Meaning there is potential for increased incomes through propolis but farmers and processors need to the trained on proper production, handling and processing of propolis.