OpenIDEO is an open innovation platform. Join our global community to solve big challenges for social good. Sign Up / Login or Learn more

No Bees; No Food

About one-third of all plants or plant products eaten by humans are directly or indirectly dependent on bee pollination.

Photo of Bee Happy
2 0

Written by

Lead Applicant Organization Name

BEE HAPPY ENTERPRISES LIMITED

Lead Applicant Organization Type

  • Small company (under 50 employees)

Website of Legally Registered Entity

https://www.beehappyke.com/

How long have you / your team been working on this Vision?

  • Under 1 year

Lead Applicant: In what city or town are you located?

Nairobi City

Lead Applicant: In what country are you located?

Kenya

Your Selected Place: what’s the name of the Place you’re developing a Vision for?

Kisii County, 1,318 km^2

What country is your selected Place located in?

Kenya

Describe your relationship to the place you’ve selected.

Bee Happy's story started with a chimney in our founder's ancestral home in Keumbu, a village in Kisii County, Kenya. Having moved to Nairobi City for school and work, a few bees made the chimney their home. We then decided to place a few hives on the farm for the bees to move in to, and they did; giving us honey for home consumption and pollinating the wide floral diversity of the Kisii Highlands.

Since then, we grew our apiary to 60 hives; providing us with more honey for commercial use.

This place serves as our ancestral home, where we visit at least three times a year. It is also our bread basket as the farm provides our nuclear and extended family with maize, bananas, avocados, traditional vegetables, guavas, sweet potatoes among other food products. 

Describe the People and Place: Provide information that would be helpful for an outsider who has never been there and may have no context about this Place to better understand the area.

The Kisii Highlands is home to one of the most economically active communities in Kenya with rolling tea estates, coffee, banana groves and their world-famous soapstone sculptures. It is one of the most densely populated areas in the country, their lands are currently overpopulated despite their rolling fertile hills, spurring immigration to other cities.

The most common trees in Kisii are the Eucalyptus spp. family (blue gum/eucalyptus), Grevillea robusta and Black Wattle (Acacia mearnsii).It has been theorized that in future Kisii (Gusii) will increasingly be 'colonized' by the above few species of plants, as there is little awareness or even desire to re-plant the slow-growing and less economically valuable indigenous plant forms. Crops cultivated include; tea, bananas, maize, avocados, coffee and napier grass.

Their traditional staple meal is Obokima (finger millet flour or maize flour cooked with water to a hardened dough-like consistency). It is often served with traditional vegetables and stew. Although the people's diet is frequently associated with bananas this is usually supplemental and not considered to be a proper meal, but a popular snack. Milk is beyond doubt the favorite among Abagusii.


What is the estimated population (current 2020) in your Place?

1266860

Challenges: Describe the current (2020) and the future (2050) challenges that your food system faces.

Bee Happy has experienced the following challenges in our food system; honey production.

1. Hive Management; with our offices in Kenya's capital and apiary 300km away in Kisii, monitoring the performance of our hives was difficult. We have also had people who have expressed their interest in beekeeping as a passive income activity but have found managing hives a challenge as they do not have time to dedicate.

2. The global decline in the bee population; This has been due to climate change. Despite Kenya being at the heart of East Africa, Africa's largest honey-producing region ( Ethiopia ranks first followed by Tanzania then Kenya) bee population decline has been no exception.

3. Access to market for beekeepers; The company is constantly looking for more beekeepers to supply honey. Small scale beekeepers with less than 10 hives often struggle to find a market or good prices for their honey; this has led to some teaming up to form cooperatives.


In future 2050, we anticipate the following problems to our food system;

1. Honey Shortage; If the decline in the population of the bees is not checked then the supply of honey is bound to follow suit. 

2. Poor Crop Yield; This is a result of climate change coupled with the decline in the population of bees who perform close to 80% of all pollination. 

3. Reduced Incomes; Poor crop yields are bound to affect every household as African economies have a history of heavy reliance on agriculture.

Address the Challenges: Describe how your Vision will address the challenges described in the previous question.

In our vision, Bee Happy seeks to create a Bee and Honey System that encourages beekeeping so as to increase the population of bees in the region, increase pollination and by extension improve crop yields, and to enable households with as little as 1 hive to have access to sell their honey to us.

Our system:

Hive Monitoring Tool; The use of weight, temperature, and humidity sensors connected to an app where one can monitor each hive remotely, know how much honey each hive has, predict swarming of bees and know the general health of the hive. This data can be used by scientist to better understand bees from various parts of the world and take better care of them.

This technology is available and could be developed further over the next few decades to include more data points such as the number of bees, behavior of the queen bee, pollen collected and study bee behavior within the hive with minimal disturbance.

Beekeepers who use our hive monitoring application will receive assistance in honey harvesting and will be provided with a ready market for their honey. The application will send alerts to Bee Happy and to the beekeeper letting them know that their honey is ready for harvesting.

We believe this mode of beekeeping with technology will encourage more people to keep bees on their farms not only to earn an extra coin but also to pollinate their crops or flowers for better yields. Bee Happy will be interested in the honey, we hope to have no honey shortage in 2050.

The hive monitoring technology exists in some first world countries but has proved to be expensive and inaccessible to the people of this region. No application has been developed to cater to the unique needs of this region.

High Level Vision: With these challenges addressed, now provide a high level description of how the Place and the lives of its People will be different than they are now.

The people of Kisii derive most of their income through the cultivation of their fertile farms. Our System will have supplemented the farmer's crop income through the sale of honey from their hives. 

It is said that a honey bee colony is worth 100 times more to the community than to the beekeeper. The bees will, in turn, provide pollination to the crops resulting in better yields.

The region would be a safe haven for bees.


Full Vision: How do you describe your Vision for a regenerative and nourishing food future for your Place and People for 2050?

Bee Happy's vision seeks to create a Bee and Honey System that encourages beekeeping so as to increase the population of bees in the region, increase pollination and by extension improve crop yields, and to enable households with as little as 1 hive to have access to sell their honey to us.

Hive Monitoring Tool; The use of weight, temperature, and humidity sensors connected to an app where one can monitor each hive remotely, know how much honey each hive has, predict swarming of bees and know the general health of the hive. This data can be used by scientist to better understand bees from various parts of the world and take better care of them.

This hive technology will be developed further over the next few decades to include more data points such as the number of bees, behavior of the queen bee, pollen collected and study bee behavior within the hive with minimal disturbance.

Food Traceability will be achieved as we would be able to know who supplied the honey in each jar. This combined with the development in blockchain technology will enable us to create a honey registry and ease monitoring of honey reserves across the region.

Beekeepers who use our hive monitoring application will receive assistance in honey harvesting and will be provided with a ready market for their honey. The application will send alerts to Bee Happy and to the beekeeper letting them know that their honey is ready for harvesting. As a for-profit company; Bee Happy will be interested in the honey, we hope to have no honey shortage in 2050.

We believe this mode of beekeeping with technology will encourage more people to keep bees on their farms not only to earn an extra coin but also to pollinate their crops or flowers for better yields.

Current dietary trends have shown a move from sugar to honey due to health reasons. This is set to continue into the future with more people not only using honey to sweeten their tea but also in pastries, cooking, medical remedies and in the manufacture of skin and hair products.

We see a future where this technology could be applied across East Africa which is Africa's largest honey production region to help the people and to save the bees.



How did you hear about the Food System Vision Prize?

  • Website
  • VC4A

2 comments

Join the conversation:

Comment
Spam
Photo of Itika Gupta
Team

Hi Bee Happy  Great to see you joining the Prize!

We noticed your submission is currently unpublished. Was this your intention? We'd love to have your submission included in the Prize. Even if you've not started populating your Vision just yet, by publishing your submission you can make it public for other teams in your region to see, get in touch and possibly even collaborate with you.

You can publish it by hitting the "Publish" button at the top of your post. You can also update your Vision at any time before 31 January 2020 by clicking on the "Edit Contribution" on top. If you need inspiration or guidance, take a look at the Food Vision Prize Toolkit.
Here is the link to the Prize Toolkit: http://bit.ly/2X4ZxQk

Look forward to seeing your Vision evolve through the coming weeks.

Spam
Photo of Bee Happy
Team

Thank you @Itika Gupta, the toolkit is quite helpful. We will be sure to publish our vision by 30 January 2020.