Problem: 20% of sub-Saharan Africa’s cereal output is lost or wasted due to Aflatoxins - contaminants produced by fungi, harmful to humans and animals as a result of inadequate drying of grains before storage.
Solution: GrainMate is a grain moisture meter - a device that allows farmers and grain purchasers to accurately determine the moisture content of harvested grains before storage to help reduce post-harvest losses. The device measures moisture levels of maize, rice, wheat, millet, sorghum, and other grains at an affordable price ($80-100), less than a fourth of similar products in the market.
Goals and objectives: To assist farmers across Africa cut wastage, minimize economic losses, and improve the efficiency of grain value chain.
Implementation: GrainMate was developed by a dynamic team of millennials located in Kumasi, Ashanti Region, Ghana that were inspired after a meeting with a team from Feed the Future PHL Innovation Lab and USDA in January 2018. With a combined 25+ years of professional experience in hardware and software design, agronomy, business development and marketing the Sesi Technologies team are passionate about tackling poverty and hunger by empowering African farmers with affordable technology that will assist in increasing productivity of grain produces.
By applying cheap and locally manufactured technology, the team at Sesi Technology develop hardware and software solutions for farmers and other related stakeholders in the agriculture value chain. In May 2018 Sesi Technologies got its first contract to supply 120 units of GrainMate to AMPLIFIES.
The GrainMate device functions by inserting its probe into a bulk sample of grain whose moisture is to be tested. After powering the device, a selection of the grain to be tested is made from a grain selection menu and 5 minutes later a digital readout of moisture, temperature and humidity reading is displaced on its LCD screen. The GrainMate is a lightweight and portable handheld device and provides an accurate reading of relative humidity +/- 2% over given range and temperature +/- 0.2°C.
Supported by a small teams of designers and researchers, Sesi Technologies have made significant improvement on the original device, redesigned its circuit board, built an accompanying mobile app, and employed five local subcontractors to manufacture components that had previously been sourced from China.
Achievements: Thus far, over 300 GrainMate have been purchased, representing over $20,000 in sales and preparations are in progress to scale the technology for use in Nigeria and Kenya. GrainMate has been endorsed by the USAID and World Food Programme. The team and technology have gone to receive considerable media attention and recognition, including exhibitions for the Presidents of Ghana, France and Germany at various fora.
Plot 18, Block 7
Ayeduase New Site
Mr. Isaac Sesi, Co-founder
Phone: +233 (0)50135 9999
Website: https://sesitechnologies.com/ t: @sesitechgh f: @sesitechnologies
Problem: Inefficient agricultural practices and weak value chains in Nigeria results in agricultural yields that are a third of global yield averages and post-harvest losses ranging between 40-60% annually, compounding an already high poverty rate.
Solution: Kitovu is a digital platform that collects, analyzes, and aggregates soil, field and market demand data. These data enables the right soils to be matched to the right soil and crop specific fertilizers, improved seedlings, and agrochemicals, while connecting farm produce to markets; resulting in increased crop yields and reduced post-harvest losses.
Goals and objectives: To assist farmers in Nigeria and across Africa enhance the yield of their farm products, reduce post-harvest losses, minimize economic losses, and improve the efficiency of grain value chain.
Implementation: The solution was developed by Kitovu Technology company, founded in 2016. Kitovu uses data to eliminate guesswork and supply chain inefficiencies in African agriculture, leveraging emerging technology. Its technology provides farmers with soil and crop specific fertilizers which guarantees increased yields since the fertilizers take into account the soils nutrient levels, and the crops nutrient requirements; as well as improved seedlings for optimal yields. Its robust plant health analytics technology enables Kitovu provide farmers with ongoing decision support. The Kitovu platform also provides via its offtake network, a guaranteed markets for farmers, at all times; while also leveraging on farmer data to provide input financing to smallholder farmers.
The mobile app is free for Kitovu’s channel partners who onboard farmers. Suppliers and Produce buyers pay a fee to use the platform. Kitovu takes a 5% commission on the sales.
Achievements: Kitovu has increased farmer’s yield by over 300%. To date, they have worked with over 10,000 farmers across 6 states of Nigeria, working with 157 trained youths as channel partners. Kitovu is a recipient of several national and International Awards; Nigerian Innovation Awards 2016, Total Startupper Awards for Innovation, 2016, Nigerian Agricultural Awards, 2017 (Nominee), The World Bank/ Zicklin Center for Business Ethics Research Ideas for Action 2017 competition where they placed first out of 943 teams from 118 countries, as well as the Africa Prize for Innovation 2018 Shortlist. The Kitovu solution was also included in the top 50 global solutions in the 2018 Youth Solutions Report of the Sustainable Development Solutions Network Youth.
Emeka Nwachinemere, CEO and Founder
4B Ogun-Osun River Basin Development Authority,
Oyo road, Niko, Iseyin, Oyo State
Phone: +2348062148183, +2348182291334, +2347087646430
Problem: Energy consumption depends directly on the conditions of ventilation, temperature and light in our homes. If the house is very warm, we will probably use air conditioning. And if it has few windows, we will rely more on artificial lighting. Currently, the buildings sector accounts for a significant 39 per cent of total energy-related CO2 emissions, according to The 2018 Global Status Report.
Solution: La Casa Uruguaya (The Uruguayan House) is a sustainable and intelligent housing project inspired from bioclimatic architecture and equipped with technology that can increase energy efficiency and accelerate climate action.
Goals and Objectives: The solution aims to reduce energy consumption while offering a sustainable and accessible lifestyle.
Implementation: With this challenge in mind, a group of students, graduates and professors from the ORT University Uruguay created La Casa Uruguaya (The Uruguayan House), a sustainable and intelligent housing project inspired from bioclimatic architecture and equipped with technology that can reduce energy consumption while offering a sustainable and accessible lifestyle.
The living unit consists of a house inside a box, according to the ORT University Uruguay. The insulation prevents heat and cold from entering. It has two ceilings—one on top of the other—and, between the two, moving parts that can be remotely opened or closed in order to regulate indoor temperature. Windows are strategically located to improve lighting.
The house is self-supplied with solar energy, notifies inhabitants of energy misuses, has a water reuse system, and sensors that help to regulate temperature, humidity or lighting. The unit can be installed in only 15 days and costs between US$50,000 and US$90,000.
Achievements: La Casa Uruguaya won major prizes at the Solar Decathlon Latin America and the Caribbean in 2015, an international academic competition organized by the United States Department of Energy. In 2016, the project received a National Energy Efficiency Award in Uruguay. Currently, the team members market the project in their country and the region.
Bologna s / n between Av. Italia and María Luisa Saldún
Phone: +598 2505 34 62
Problem: The carbon footprint of plastics production is very high due to the manufacturing process. The footprint of carbon determines how much impacts to global warming a certain product. So other technologies seriously affect the natural ecosystem and the planet's carbon cycle, causing a deterioration and increase of the average temperature of the planet.
Solution: Biofase has developed a unique technology for the manufacture of biodegradable products derived from the avocado pit, which is disposable and not edible.
Goals and Objectives: Along with other plastics made from food waste, Biofase’s biopastics could help meet the growing demand for plastics without hampering progress in the fight against hunger.
Implementation: Scott Munguía, a young Mexican chemical engineer, discovered in 2011 that the avocado seed contains a biopolymer similar to the one present in corn, which is used to produce bioplastic. In 2014, he founded Biofase, a company based in Monterrey that commercializes bioplastic products, made of 60 per cent avocado biopolymer and 40 per cent synthetic organic compounds.
The straws and cutlery made from avocado seeds decompose in only 240 days, and there is no need for incineration. This makes them a sustainable alternative for cities or countries that lack incineration facilities in their waste plants.
Unlike other types of bioplastics, this alternative does not use crops suitable for human consumption—such as corn or cassava. The carbon footprint is much less than other plastics and bioplastics, including paper. This is largely due to a phenomenon called bonus of biogenic carbon, which explains that the Avocado tree, when growing, absorbs CO2 of the atmosphere to form its tissues. This phenomenon does not occur in the production of any plastic derived of the oil.
Achievements: Reduces consumption up to 60% plastic derived from oil without need to be treated in a way special or to separate for recycling.
Biofase’s products have a great manufacturing potential. According to Munguía, 300,000 tonnes of avocado seeds are discarded annually in Mexico, an estimated 20 per cent of the global demand for bioplastics.
Prior to the creation of Biofase, all biopolymer products had to be imported from other countries into Mexico. Biofase, through its patented technology, became the only biopolymers producer company in Mexico. Now Biofase lead the production of biopolymer in Latin America, exporting bioplastic products to more than 19 countries.
Scott Munguía, Biofase founder
Phone: +52 800 999 1183
Problem: Annually, 5 trillion plastic bags are used worldwide and 7 million plastic bags are consumed every minute.70% of them end up in the environment. The one-piece polyethylene shopping bag takes up to 500 years to decompose.
Solution: Solubag is a biodegradable material for the creation of non-polluting that completely dissolve in water in 5 minutes without contamination.
Goals and Objectives: The solution aims to eliminate single-use plastic bags.
Implementation: Roberto Astete and Cristian Olivares, founders of Chilean start-up Solubag developed the solution in 2014.
Solubags uses limestone instead of oil by-products. It has zero environmental impact compared to other alternatives like oxo-biodegradable bags, which are still made of polyethylene and break into small pieces of toxic plastic.
The chemical formula of Solubags contains polyvinyl alcohol (PVA), a material found by Astete and Olivares while analysing biodegradable detergent capsules.
Solubag’s raw material can be extruded in any plastic extrusion machine, which allows it to be scaled very fast.
Achievements: The solution is recognized as the best innovation in Latin America, a prize awarded at the Summit Conference held in March 2018 in Chile.
The innovation is expected to be widely accepted in Chile, where a ban on plastic bags in large businesses came into force in February 2019. Solubag currently produces in China and is considering installing a factory in Tomé, Chile.
Problem: Marine pollution from human activities can be found at all points across the ocean's vast expanse, including at the surface.
Solution: BluePhin is an autonomous robot that can collect floating waste in commercial water bodies, with zero carbon emissions. It is one of the world’s most technologically advanced waste management solutions.
Goals and objectives: The solution collects plastic, algae and other debris to tackle marine pollution in lakes, ponds, canals, marinas, ports and coastlines.
Implementation: The solution was developed by young inventors Irfan Vakkayil, Simran Chowdhry and Anand EP in 2018 and is currently implemented in the UAE. BluePhin Bluephin is powered by Artificial Intelligence.
Bluephin can either be steered by a handheld joystick or run in autonomous mode, either around a set course or within a set perimeter. It runs silently and safely on rechargeable batteries and includes collision avoidance software. It can hold up to a third of a ton of rubbish before it needs to be emptied and it poses no threat to marine life. It takes eight hours for waste management companies to collect one tonne of trash using two boats and labor. Bluephin does it in two hours.
The current vesion of the solution is working prototype and setting up multiple pilot programs both regionally and globally. Currently, the BluePhin team is working with Dubai Municipality and have an MOU with Bee’ah to convert into pilots.
Achievements: The solution offsets more than 10,000 tons in carbon emissions only during testing in comparison to the waste collection operation in water.
Sharjah, United Arab Emirates
Simran chowdhry, Co-founder
Problem: Almost 80% of Sudan is dry and agriculture depends basically on rainfall, a situation that creates challenges with regard to food security. Recurrent droughts often cause limited productivity in most areas particularly east Sudan where most of the population is threatened by hunger. In some areas the rainfall is within 120 – 150 mm/annum that does not support agriculture. Cultivated lands complete the season and produce a negligible amount of grains. The agricultural fields with crops that produced almost nothing are left for livestock as residues with the disappointment of poor farmers. The land is observed as in desert conditions as figure (1) indicates. The greenfield is the cultivated area which is always a failure.
Solution: In 2008 a group of field development experts in collaboration with the University of Khartoum Consultancy Corporation (UKCC) headed by engineer Adil Khidir planned a dam to be constructed across the watercourse that traverses the field area. The watercourse brings water during the rainy season from the eastern high lands every three weeks and the water disappears in three days.
Goals and Objectives: The objective of the dam is to hold the water for longer period and spreads on both sides of the watercourse.
Implementation: The project was developed in east Sudan, launched in 2009 and maintained to present.
The dam was built as a joint work involving the UKCC, an NGO and the community of farmers and village people. It was only 60 cm high with a one Km arm extending on both sides. The water spreading system spreads the water over 1600 hectares, increases the moisture level in the soil and provides for agricultural success.
The solution achieved food security represented in agriculture, range, livestock and forest products. The community of farmers is managing the project with the assistance of extortionists and community leaders. People produce grains, milk, meat, forest crops and water.
The 1600 hectares were divided among 400 families (4 Ha each) who continued to cultivate the land from 2009 up to the present. Each family produced almost 12 sacks of grains/Ha i.e 40 – 50 sacks per the 4 hectares (see figure 2).
Figure 1. Agriculture fields under 120 – 150 mm/annum
Figure 2. Agriculture fields under crops after the dam construction
Figure 3. Water pools, forests, range and livestock
Achievements: The farmers have their problem of unsecured food being completely solved. Food is secured. The farmers created an artificial water pool at the terminal of the arms where the water collects for livestock watering. Forests and range developed.
The dam construction across the watercourse and its success in achieving food security and natural resources development encouraged the IGAD with its partner the GIZ to construct another dam across another watercourse in the area to secure food.
Partners: UKCC, Plan Sudan, local communities, IGAD, GIZ
UKCC (Eng. nAdil Khider), Plan Sudan, Coordinator Elnour Abdalla Elsiddig, GIZ
Phone:+249 9 114 39339
Problem: Small-scale dairy farmers often living in remote areas don't have access to valuable information about latest prices of milk or cattle, and they may not keep accurate records of important details such as their cows' gestation periods or their livestock's lineage – often resulting in inbreeding and disease.
Solution: iCow is a text-based subscription information service to improve the productivity and earning power of Kenya's 1.6 million farmers and other small holder farmers across Africa in order become climate resilient and food secure.
Goals and Objectives: To harness the power of mobile phones to encourage best practice for dairy farmers and increase milk production.
Implementation: iCow was conceptualised in October 2010 after the founder Su Kahumbu Stephanou an ardent organic farmer, was encouraged to enter the Apps4Africa tech hackathon sponsored by the US State Department. Su was at the time designing a product she had named Mkulima Farmer Information Service and Hotline (Mkulima F.I.S.H), a comprehensive agricultural extension service available to farmers over mobile phone. Building on her experience and interactions with smallholder farmers Su recognised that to be successful, farmers needed access to knowledge on good agricultural practices in both livestock and crop production. She thus set out to develop a service that would enable farmers access the vast amounts of content and verified agricultural knowledge available in the regions agricultural institutions, in a format that would be in line with smallholder production systems, simple, cost effective and real time.
Mkulima F.I.S.H was designed to including content on crops, livestock, soils, farmer health and the environment. Being competitive in nature, Su took on the challenge to enter the hackathon with a component of Mkulima F.I.S.H, the cow gestation calendar, and named her entry iCow.
The gestation calendar was designed to solve the problem of lack of monitoring a cow during its pregnancy. By monitoring each cow adequately farmers reduce the risk of illness and death at birthing as well as increase their chances of a healthy calf and optimally productive mother cow. iCow required farmers register individual cows onto the platform after which they begin to receive reminders on dairy cow best practices and actions needed to increase their productivity.
Achievements: In 2012 iCow won the Vision 2030 Award for Agriculture in Kenya and was a finalist in the same year for the Innovation Prize for Africa.
Cow 2.0 was designed to scale across Africa and released on October 18th 2015. The development supported by Accenture has positioned iCow as a one of a kind solution for smallholder farmers on the continent. 2016 saw a deployment of the platform in both Tanzania and Ethiopia.
Problem: Charcoal is predominantly produced in an unsustainable (non-renewable) manner within natural forests of up to 400 km radius from Maputo. This has had serious consequences for deforestation – and carbon stock depletion in rural areas. It is estimated that charcoal consumption in Maputo leads to the annual depletion of 99 581 ha of forest per year. Charcoal production is also rudimentary and extremely wasteful, at times requiring up to 10kg of wood to produce 1 kg of charcoal. In some homes, cooking for three hours per day exposes women to similar risks as smoking two packets of cigarettes daily (WHO, 2002).
Solution: Refining locally sourced cassava into ethanol fuel to provide cleaner cooking fuel.
Goals and objectives: To have a clean and affordable cooking solution that contributes to the reduction of the health burden from Indoor-Air-Pollution and the unsustainable deforestation wrought by charcoal produced for cooking.
The company takes the surplus cassava, a starch-filled root and local food staple, sold by farmers and sends it to an ethanol fermentation plant. The ethanol produced is then sold in reusable plastic bottles to people in Maputo who own one of the 3,000 or so ethanol-burning clean cookstoves sold by CleanStar. When the fuel runs out, more can be purchased at an incipient network of CleanStar shops.
Achievements: CSM has successfully demonstrated that there is a market for a cleaner cooking fuel among low-income households in Mozambique’s capital, that it is possible to address this market profitably, and that it is possible to build and operate a branded value chain that guarantees and delivers high quality, clean and safe cooking solution.
With sales effectively starting end of 2012, CleanStar Mozambique has quickly surpassed milestones of 25,000 stove units, and 500,000 liters of clean cooking fuel sold. The gross consumption of 25,000 stoves on a yearly basis is projected to offset the deforestation of 14,000 Ha of forest and displace 169,000 tonnes of carbon. As our customer base expands to 120,000 households (projected for 2015), the offset will increase proportionally with annual offset of over 65,000 Ha of forest and 800,000 tonnes of carbon.
Mozambique, Avenida da Namacha, NÂº 87 EN4, Matola
Phone: (25884) 313-7624
Website: http://www.cleanstarmozambique.com, https://www.cleancookingalliance.org/partners/item/21/891
Problem: The economic implications of poverty and fuel prices come with social, environmental and health concerns too. According to the World Health Organisation, more than 3 billion people worldwide get their energy from solid fuels, including coal and biomass (wood, dung, agricultural residues). Burning solid fuels on open fires or traditional stoves leads to dangerous indoor air pollution – this kind of smoke contains about 20 times more pollutants than accepted guideline values.
Solution: The Keekonyoike Slaughterhouse biogas project uses the most abundant available natural resource to generate energy for those at the bottom of the economic pyramid.
Goals and Objectives: The solution aims to recycle blood and animal waste into cheap energy, to be sold as safe packaged biogas to low-income households that can’t afford electricity or liquefied petroleum gas (LPG).
Implementation: Keekonyokie has always been a local solution. It was founded in 1981 by a group of Maasai pastoralists in Kiserian on the outskirts of Nairobi. There was no funding or external support. It was an informal, community-owned and managed livestock production slaughterhouse that served the community financially and socially. In 1992 Keekonyokie was registered as a company and in 2005, when new regulations barred the discharge of slaughterhouse waste into rivers, they started work on a biogas plant with proof of concept support from Kenya’s Climate Innovation Center (CIC) and GiZ.
In 2011, the company presented a prototype on the packaging of biogas, which it intends to sell to local residents in addition to the already existing the sale of biogas to larger local institutions and its use as an energy source of the slaughterhouse. As FAO evaluated: “Unlike in the classic PES scheme where the initiative comes mostly from a mediating institution that brings potential buyers and sellers together to negotiate a voluntary contract, ensures compliance and funds the initial stage of the project, the initiative this case came from the local people themselves and it was not linked to a particular payment but to the need to comply with environmental regulation.”
All the liquid slaughterhouse waste goes into a processing plant where the biogas is produced and taken to be packaged. Initially the fuel has been stored in used tyres to reduce environmental impact further.
Currently, the energy produced is used internally. But a totally new and unique commercially packaged biogas product has been developed too. The innovation is a 6kg biogas packaging cylinder developed through work with the government agency Kenya Institute of Research and Development (KIRDI). Safety standards and tests required by government are all in place and Keekonyokie is now ready to roll out its plan of packaging 100 cylinders a day, to be sold in and around town and then in surrounding areas.
Achievements: In addition to being a profitable enterprise, Keekonyokie delivers both social and environmental gains. It employs about 172 people directly and 200 more indirectly.
The plant is currently operating at 20% efficiency, with 80% of total potential still unexploited. So, ultimately, it could reach 250 000 consumers, although the aim for now is to supply 20 000 households in five years. The 6kg biogas cylinder will also sell for half the price of a similar amount of LPG. So it will slash consumers’ spend on charcoal and firewood by 50% and save on the time taken to collect these fuels.
Keekonyokie Butchers Limited
PO BOX 1/206 – Kiserian
Phone number: +254724536721
Problem: Feminine hygiene product generate extraordinary amounts of waste. Close to 20 billion sanitary napkins, tampons and applicators are dumped into North American landfills every year. In India, more than half of India’s women and girls use disposable napkins, translating to 44.9 billion pads per year thrown away. In Pacific island countries, where waste often escapes to the ocean, this is a clear and present problem. Wrapped in a plastic bag, a feminine hygiene product can take centuries to biodegrade.
The carbon footprint from making disposable female hygiene products is also enormous: 15 million tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions per year – which is like burning 35 million barrels of oil.
Solution: To make a dent in the plastic tide by turning disposable feminine hygiene products into reusable.
Goals and Objectives: By producing and selling reusable sanitary pads that are durable and made of natural fibers, women and girls have an affordable and environmentally friendly alternative to single use, disposable sanitary pads made of toxic plastic materials.
Implementation: Frances Angelica Salele and her business partner Isabell Rasch, who both work at the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (S.P.R.E.P.), are first to market in Samoa – and the entire Pacific – with their startup MANA Care Products founded in 2018, affordable, sustainable and reusable cotton female hygiene products. The business offers women and girls an affordable and environmentally friendly alternative to single-use, disposable sanitary pads made of toxic plastic materials. They plan to also provide employment to a team of women seamstresses who will manufacture the product.
Achievements: Angelica Salele, one of 12 winners of the UN Environment Asia-Pacific Low-Carbon Lifestyles Challenge.
For more information, read here: https://www.unenvironment.org/es/node/21821
Problem: Sri Lanka has over 1 million three-wheelers, the harmful emissions given out by these vehicles contribute drastically to air pollution and global warming.
Solution: An electric conversion kit that would enable the tuk-tuks (three-wheeler auto rickshaws) to run on electric power.
Goals and Objectives: The solution aims to decarbonize the transport sector, by converting auto rickshaws to an electric powertrain, and enable them to operate just like any other electric vehicle with zero tailpipe emissions.
Implementation: Taking up the challenge, 33 year old Sri Lankan engineer and lecturer at the University of Moratuwa, Sasiranga De Silva, has an innovative solution to the problem of the harmful emissions by auto rickshaws. Aiming to make, Sri Lanka’s favourite mode of local transportation safer for the environment and its citizens, he created the electric conversion kit for auto rickshaws to run on electric power. The kit itself is based around a rechargeable lithium-ion battery that can cover 110 km on a single charge. This reduces harmful emissions and works on lowered energy consumption. Another incredible benefit of this sustainable solution is that it’s a money-saving option.
A key challenge for De Silva has been making sure that his conversion kit is affordable for tuk tuk drivers, who generally pay around 700,000 Sri Lankan rupees (around US$4,000) to buy their vehicle. Given that De Silva has estimated that the converter kit could save drivers around US$1,000 a year, he found most tuk tuk owners felt US$2,000 would be affordable.
His battery pack will allow drivers to cover around 110 km per day. There are already some electric vehicle charging points at supermarkets in Colombo but he will also provide chargers, which can be used in a regular socket, allowing the drivers to recharge their vehicles overnight when electricity tariffs are lower.
Achievements: Sasiranga De Silva is one of 12 winners of the UN Environment Asia-Pacific Low-Carbon Lifestyles Challenge in 2019.
Mr. Sasiranga De Silva