uWatch Ltd, UK and The Source Plus, Kenya partnership formalised.
uWatch Ltd and The Source Plus Ltd who have been working together, self-funded for nearly 3 years, have formalised the association as the ApiTrace Partnership.
The localisation of uWatch’s apiary management system Bee.Watch is being delivered on the ground in Sub-Saharan Africa by a subsidiary of The Source Plus, the Africa Apiculture Consortium. The system is called ApiTrace.
The goals of the ApiTrace Partnership are to alleviate poverty and address gender equality and the lack of employment opportunities in remote, rural communities across Africa by bringing the market for traceable, and hence exportable honey to rural producers.
Producers will bring their honey to the local Honey Processing Hub (HPH) and be paid instantly, turning honey into a cash crop. There are ¼ million honey producers in Kenya alone where over 78% are women and girls and 98% are domestic producers.
“You see very little quality African honey on supermarket shelves in the UK due to lack of traceability. Bee.Watch started in our own apiary when we put a QR code on every hive to facilitate recording of inspections on the Bee.Watch app.”
Beryl Guiver of uWatch Ltd
“We researched available honey management systems that could be localised and uWatch sent us their system to test in Swahili. It included apiary and swarm management but also pesticide monitoring which is very high on our government’s agenda.”
Andrew Soita of The Source Plus
Traceability is achieved by the use of integrated innovative information technology from QR coded hives, apps that work when there is no GSM signal, the use of GPS to verify data capture locations and Radio Frequency Identification Systems (RFIDs) on honey barrels integrated with weighing machines. These features are incorporated in ApiTrace.
Beekeeping is a widespread activity in Sub-Saharan Africa that anyone can participate in as people can produce a valuable cash crop without having to own land.
Apiculture has a low environmental impact and there are many ecological benefits linked to honeybees which are well documented and understood. ApiTrace generates invaluable big data while supporting both rural communities and the environment.
The implementation of the first HPH will be taking place Autumn 2022, it will run on renewable energy sources, have training facilities for AAVQs (African Apiculture Vocational Qualifications) to provide a quantifiable resource of qualified beekeepers as markets develop and output increases.
Localised from uWatch’s Bee.Watch Hive Management system, the ApiTrace app is available in English, Swahili, and French, and is readily translatable into other languages.
Innovate UK is funding the feasibility study for the HPH currently being undertaken jointly by the two companies to be completed by the end of March 2022.