SOFIA, March 8 (Xinhua) -- European Commissioner for Digital Economy and Society Mariya Gabriel and the Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development Phil Hogan said here on Friday that digitalization could help address the challenges facing beekeepers.
The European Union (EU) was the second largest producer of honey in the world, but there were also challenges, Gabriel said while addressing an international conference on digitization in beekeeping.
"Among them are bee health, diseases, exposure to chemicals, changing climate. They endanger bee populations and productivity," Gabriel said.
Meanwhile, there were problems with the distribution chain, and "we want to ensure fair competition and distinct fight against counterfeiting of products," she said.
"We all know about these issues, but today the question is how digitization can help us deal with them," Gabriel added.
Digitization could become an opportunity for the beekeeping sector to ensure closer cooperation, more creative solutions, more intelligent and successful beekeeping in the EU, she said.
Commissioner Hogan echoed the view. According to him, a number of projects funded under the EU's research and innovation programme Horizon 2020 have focused on finding solutions to some of the more pressing problems of the beekeeping sector through digital technologies.
The objectives were to find new tools and innovations that support beekeepers to assess and overcome the particular complexity of their business environment, Hogan said.
One example of such projects is the SWARMonitor, he said. Its aim was to develop a tool for diagnostic monitoring of honeybee colonies, with the objective to let the beekeeper know about the status of his or her colonies without the need to open the hives, by sending an alarm to the beekeeper's mobile phone when a colony intended to swarm, thus requiring intervention, Hogan said.
Another example was the 3Bee Hive-Tech - an innovative system designed for monitoring beehives, which provided real time analysis to predict and to prevent bee death due to environmental and biological factors, he said.