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ACEIoT trains beekeepers on Smart Hive Technology to multiply produce

The University of Rwanda’s African Center of Excellence in Internet of Things (ACEIoT), established at the College of Science and Technology a specialized training session for beekeepers associated with beekeeping cooperatives in Huye and Nyaruguru districts from July, 21 to 23.

This training is one of key activities under the project funded by International Centre of Insect Physiology and Ecology (ICIPE), implemented in partnership with NARADA Electronics Limited.

The main focus of this training was to introduce the beekeepers to the Smart Bee Hive Technology (SBHT) device, which has been specifically developed to enhance their beekeeping activities and ultimately boost honey production.

Elias Ntawuzumunsi, a doctoral student at the African Centre of Excellence in Internet of Things, brought the idea of introducing IoT in bees keeping through which the SBHT device was developed in the ACEIoT in collaboration with NARADA LTD.

According to him the SBHT device is an innovation that monitors various essential elements within the beehives.

"It can track temperature, humidity, sound, movement inside and outside the hives, bee colonies’ lifestyle, and more. By utilizing sensors, beekeepers can remotely control these parameters through their smartphones.

The device is equipped with a digital siren to deter animals and intruders, smoke detectors to notify beekeepers of forest fires, and an air ventilation system to protect bees exposed to harmful external air," he said.

Explaining the inspiration behind the project, Ntawuzumunsi emphasized the significance of honey for health and recognized the untapped potential in Rwanda’s beekeeping industry.

He conducted extensive surveys and consultations with beekeepers from Huye and Nyaruguru Districts, identifying their challenges and needs, which played a vital role in developing the SBHT device.

Damien Hanyurwimfura, Associate Professor and Acting Director of ACEIoT, who is the Principal Investigator of the project highlighted the collaborative effort with NARADA Ltd to ensure the device’s viability and sustainability in Rwanda.

The device’s affordability and solar-powered design make it an eco-friendly and economically viable option for beekeepers.

"The device will undoubtedly have a significant impact on honey production as it addresses all the essential elements critical to successful beekeeping, while also providing timely alerts to beekeepers whenever issues arise. Furthermore, our commitment to fostering innovation extends beyond the development of the Smart Bee Hive Technology," he said.

"At our university, we have established an incubation hub that nurtures the creative ideas of our doctorate students. Through this initiative, we are actively seeking opportunities to collaborate with industry players, allowing us to bring these inspiring projects to life and apply them for the betterment of the Rwandan community and beyond," Hanyurwimfura said.

For beekeepers like Tantina Mukanzayire from Nyaruguru District, the SBHT technology offers a transformative solution. The device addresses key issues such as lack of adequate information about hive conditions, theft of honey produce, and colony health monitoring.

"With the SBHT, beekeepers can now take precise actions to regulate temperature and humidity, manage colonies effectively, and ensure optimal conditions for honey production," Mukanzayire said.

With funding from the International Centre of Insect Physiology and Ecology (ICIPE), the African Center of Excellence in Internet of Things (ACEIoT) at the University of Rwanda has been working on the "Smart Bee Hive Technology" project for the past two years.

Through the partnership with Africa Regional Scholarship and Innovation Fund (RSIF) for applied sciences, engineering, and technology, knowledge of the device has already been disseminated to more than 20 beekeepers