Student Designs Sustainable Beekeeping System

Student Designs Sustainable Beekeeping System
Ivan Brown's improved model of a beehive to aid in the survival of bees, offer a more sustainable option for beekeepers and additional income sources for small scale farmers

Ivan Brown, an MTech Industrial Design student from the University of Johannesburg (UJ) has designed a new sustainable beekeeping system. He named this project as Beegin.

Brown actually wanted to help in the survival of bees by tackling the problem of decreasing population. This is a huge problem that beekeepers are facing around the world.

In actual, this sustainable beekeeping system is specifically developed for agriculture. For instance, for the business of beekeepers and urban farmers.

Brown’s project is a dual research project. In this, he has developed a beekeeping system and a beehive production system as well. According to him, the beehive production system will aid in the survival of bees and by extension, tackle the problem of decreasing pollination.

Brown said, “Although I have always been fascinated by bees and apiculture, the project emerged from the thorough research. I interviewed urban farmers who told me they were interested in beekeeping but could not afford the equipment, I interviewed beekeepers who explained how the industry is in decline due to theft, vandalism, diseases, pests, fires, floods and pesticides. I began working with the farmers and beekeepers to develop a solution, and at the moment I have 5 urban farmers and 5 beekeepers testing out the system, with some great initial results.”

This sustainable beekeeping system is accessible, affordable for small-scale farming communities. It will also stimulate socioeconomic development.

The moulds in the system to create the beehives can be sold or sponsored. This will help people in producing beehives locally for themselves and their communities.

“The aim of the project is to develop an appropriate (sustainable and accessible) system for beekeeping in South Africa. If successful, it will contribute towards food security in two ways: indirectly by bringing additional income to marginalized, small-scale farming communities and directly by helping to protect the pollination source of 70% of food crops. At the core of Beegin lies the lightweight concrete beehive – a more durable, low-cost and protective structure that emerged through participatory development with beekeepers and urban farmers,” he added.