Evaluation of the sustainability of the meliponicola sector in southern Ecuador using a sustainability index
Diana del Cisne Encalada Jumbo
Georg-August-Universität Göttingen , Forest Economics and Sustainable Land-Use Planning, Germany
The need to have economically viable, socially inclusive and respectful of the environment production systems is a priority to guarantee the efficient use of natural resources. Also, sustainability assessments of these systems constitute a fundamental input to make adequate decisions about future investments or adjustments to those carried out. At a global level, meliponiculture has been recognised as an activity with great potential to promote sustainable development, particularly in rural areas of developing countries, due to the multiple economic, social and environmental benefits that this activity generates. This work proposes the construction of an index of economic, social and environmental sustainability for identifying effective strategies for the sustainable development of the meliponicola sector in the South of Ecuador. Ecuador has a great potential for the development of the meliponicola activity and has high rates of poverty, particularly in the rural sector. Using a questionnaire designed for the evaluation of sustainability indices, 326 stingless bee keepers were surveyed on their farms. 50 indicators were identified, 20 from the economic dimension, 12 from the social dimension and 16 from the environmental dimension, based on which a sustainability index was constructed that obtained a value of 0.21 out of the range between 0 and 1, denoting low sustainability in the sector. Among the dimensions evaluated, the environmental presented a better situation (0.33), with respect to social (0.14) and economic (0.14). The results of the study will help decision makers and non-governmental organisations interested in developing strategies and implement technologies and good practices that contribute to their sustainable development.
Keywords: Meliponiculture, stingless bee, sustainability index, sustainable development
Contact Address: Diana del Cisne Encalada Jumbo, Georg-August-Universität Göttingen , Forest Economics and Sustainable Land-Use Planning, Göttingen, Germany, e-mail: d.encaladajumbostud.uni-goettingen.de