Serial Nigerian entrepreneur, Amaete Umanah has developed a monitoring system with his company, Honeyflow Africa that allows beekeepers to monitor their hives. The Honeyflow Africa system is composed of a battery of sensors feeding information to a smartphone app that allows the beekeeper to monitor their hives remotely.
Amaete said while speaking with the beekeepers, they mentioned that one of their biggest problems is the bee leaving the hive and they don’t know why. He said bees leave for different reasons such as lack of space or water, or too much noise and an early warning system allows beekeepers to take preventive measures.
This initiative is similar to Healthy Hives 2020 USA, a multi-year million-dollar research initiative which is well on its way to finding measurable and tangible solutions for improving the health of honey bee colonies in the USA by the end of 2020.
In a report by the officials of the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Development, Nigerian Export Promotion Council and apiculture (beekeeping) experts, Nigeria consumes about 400,000 tonnes of honey annually but produces less than 10 percent of its total consumption. This can only mean one thing, that the importation of honey is high. Amaete said he believes this initiative can restructure the Nigerian honey industry.
“We’re digitizing how we monitor bees,”. “With modern technology…we can help local economies and alleviate poverty,” Amaete told CNN Africa.
Experts in the field believe that Nigeria’s honey industry has the potential to grow. Honey is the most popular natural sweetener in the world and the global trade in bee products is increasing. Due to its diverse use, the worldwide consumption of honey is so huge that supply can barely cope with demand.
Africa consumes more than three times the amount of honey it produces. Apart from Ethiopia, Kenya and Tanzania which produce most of the continent’s honey, other large markets like Nigeria and South Africa have a lot of unmet demand for bee products.
In 2017, Mr David Musa, the team leader, USAID BeeKeeping Pollination Project said that Nigeria can generate over 10 billion dollars from local and international trade in honey and other hive products.
This initiative might do well to create an opportunity for Nigeria to tap into the honey industry and other bee products such as beeswax candles. It could also help to save the country revenue that would normally go into the importation of honey as well as encourage people to venture into beekeeping.