Grace Akumu had the most outstanding innovation emerging winner of the East Africa Postharvest Competition 2017
Technology : Bench-Type Manual Maize Sheller
This is a manual maize sheller made up of a serrated mouth/cylinder into which a single maize ear is fed at a time. It consists of a handle that allows rotation of the serrated mouth and an attached bench onto which the operator sits. With manual rotation of the cylinder by use of a handle, the grains are detached from the cob at a rate of 50-200kg per hour. The Sheller has an operational capacity of 50-200kg per hour. The technology is crucial in reducing the time and energy used during shelling which saves time and energy as well as reducing revenue lost through quantitative and qualitative losses after postharvest.
Impact : Since 2015, the bench-type maize sheller technology has been field tested with 300 smallholder farmers in Kamuli, Apac and Nakasongola districts of Uganda. The technology has a high output per hour (50-200kg) and requires less energy to operate which reduces on the labor requirements. The grains are collected on a clean tarpaulin on which the sheller is placed to prevent losses.
Nelson Mandela was among the top 25 innovators in the East Africa Postharvest Technology Competition 2017.
Technology : Fruiti-Cycle
Fruiti-cycle is a low tech electric tri-cycle mounted with a detachable cooling unit powered manually by peddling. The electric energy generated manually by peddling is stored in a 1000W battery connected to the peddle. The technology provides a cooling system for food crops. The cooling system is done by collision of warm air in the storage unit and a small proportion of water in the storage unit. The unit is then powered by solar power/energy to work through peddling.
Impact : Fruiti-Cycle was introduced in 2015 and has been tested on a sample size of 10 farmers and market vendors in Uganda. The shelf life of fruits and vegetables was increased to a period of one week compared to the normal two days before drying. Fruiti- cycle offers refrigeration that helps prolong the shelf life of fruits and vegetables. The cooling system is powered by solar panel.
Ssekanyo Stephen was among the top 25 innovators in the East Africa Postharvest Technology Competition 2017.
Technology : Kungula
Kungula is a post-harvest machine for threshing and winnowing maize. It replaces traditional threshing methods like hand threshing and pilling of maize in sacks and hitting with sticks while adding the additional component of winnowing the grain to give clean grain ready for packaging. Kungula reduces postharvest losses of maize, reduces labor requirements for postharvest handling of maize while maintaining the highest possible quality of produce. The technology provides a mobile solution for motorized threshing and winnowing of maize. It threshes while winnowing 1000kgs of grain in one hour using one litre of fuel to give whole maize grain free of chaff, dust and broken cobs.
Impact : Kungula has been in operation since 2015 and has been field tested in two districts in central Uganda for one year now, with 4 machines in Kiryandongo and 2 in Nakasongola districts reaching to a collective 624 maize farmers within the period. Kungula offers cleaner grain outputs due to the presence of a winnowing fan. The Kungula machine threshes while winnowing 1000 kilograms of maize grain in one hour on one litre of petrol fuel (1000kg/hr/litre). It has a 99.2% threshing efficiency and a 98% winnowing efficiency.
Biddemu Bazil Mwotta was among the top 25 innovators in the East Africa Postharvest Technology Competition 2017.
Technology : MOBFIT
Mobfit uses basic SMS technology to enhance community based aggregate production by irish potato farmers. Groups of farmers on our platform in proximal geo-locations receive market based demand data driven SMS information advising them on how much to plant, are coordinated to plant at the same time and thereafter harvest together. At harvest each group collects all their produce at a central point making it cost-effective for MOBFIT to transport it in bulk to the market. This eliminates the need for each farmer to transport their produce independently, a practice that increases cost and reduces profit in agriculture.
Impact : Developed in 2016, our solution reduces the clientele marketing cost by 85%, enhances their bargaining power and broadens their market. Case study: Nassanga is a 20 year old single mother in Katiiti Village with a 2 acre farm from which she accrues money for her livelihood and supports her child. Her average monthly income is USD 15. After harvesting her crops, she travels 20km spending about USD 2 to Buwama market uncertain of finding customers. Over 20M farmers face this same marketing dilemma affecting their profitability and progress. Today Nassanga simply receives a text informing her on when to harvest and to take her produce to St. Daniels, a secondary school close to her garden that serves as our collection point for her village. 23 other farmers close to her receive the same message and after aggregating their total produce, it is cheaper to contract a third party transporter to take the bulk to our customers. Nassanga and her group are paid immediately and their monthly income has increased to USD 35. MOBFIT has reduced the duping of farmers by middle men. It has brought the market closer to rural based farmers as well as made the purchase of farm produce easier for the people in Uganda.
Francis Nsanga was among the top 25 innovators in the East Africa Postharvest Technology Competition 2017.
Technology : The Icon Farm Technology (TIFAT)
TIFAT is a simple but robust GSM supported agricultural supply chain management software and mobile marketplace that directly connects farmers to buyers at a low cost via SMS technology. TIFAT is an innovation of The Icon Entrepreneurship Platform. When a farmer sends a text message (SMS) with information about his/her produce to our short code number, our system generates a unique identification number for them. We receive offers from buyers and filter out the buyer offering the highest price for a particular produce. We then connect these buyers directly to the farmers and the transaction takes place.
Impact : TIFAT reduces the cost of marketing farm produce, enhances farmers’ bargaining power to get the best prices for their produce and broadens their market while eliminating the dependence on exploitative middlemen. Our innovation allows farmers to determine and sell their produce at competitive prices even prior to harvesting. Buyers on the other hand are fairly assured of supply of what they need given the various agricultural producers on the platform. Our platform will also be able to offer forecasted market information to both farmers and buyers for informed decision making and planning.
Majority of tech solutions currently available are applications supported on smart phones, which technically exclude most small scale farmers who do not have or use the expensive USSD technology. We have identified that gap in this market place and designed a solution that is supported on basic GSM mobile phones that majority of our small scale farmers possess. Furthermore, the cost of subscription to our platform and SMS are both affordable by the smallest of the small scale farmers.
Kabwama Leonard Alvin was among the top 25 innovators in the East Africa Postharvest Technology Competition 2017.
Technology : FoodSAFE
FoodSAFE comprises of a microcontroller based system involving several ethylene sensors installed in the different storage facilities. FoodSAFE is capable of detecting which food product is getting spoilt and advise the farmer accordingly. The technology measures the gas levels on these for immediate action which involves consuming it rather than leaving the crop to go bad. The technology offers early detection of the overripe perishable products that could otherwise go bad if not taken care of.
Impact : FoodSAFE technology has been tested and tried in Makerere University-College of Food Science and Technology where 75 sample fruits were used and garnered 70% accuracy in detection. In Uganda’s Mukono District, the technology’s detection of the ripening fruits was 68% accurate. Our store uses less energy to operate, is affordable and can use both solar energy and electricity.
Geoffrey Munyegera was among the top 25 innovators in the East Africa Postharvest Technology Competition 2017.
Technology : Mobile Maize Shelling Machine
The Mobile Maize Shelling Machine is an engine-driven tri-cycle mobile maize shelling machine. A 16HP diesel combustion engine is used to propel the machine and run the maize shelling mechanism through a system of pulleys and gears. The technology addresses poor maize shelling techniques and inability to access better maize shelling services after harvest.
Impact : In 2012 to 2013, an agricultural NGO in Uganda – Sasakawa Global 2000 – took several prototypes of the machine for testing and data collection for over 1 year in 10 districts. The data collected indicated a capacity output of 3,200kg of shelled maize per hour, shelling efficiency of 98.8% with less than 1.3% grain breakage, 94% clean rate, as well as negligible shelling losses of 1.53%. (Spillage and breakage). In that year, each machine was tested on 1,280 to 1,545 tons of shelled maize and data was recorded during each testing interval. Each testing interval would last between 1 and 2 hours of uninterrupted shelling. Another NGO – USAID CPM program –before buying mobile shellers for their farmer groups first tested the machines and got similar results.
246 mobile maize shelling machines have been bought by individuals, farmers’ groups and organizations since 2012. 638 youths are directly employed. In addition, it’s estimated that around 950 youths are occasionally engaged in casual work of loading maize-on-cob into the machine hoppers during the shelling, thereby earning some kind of wage by the end of the day. Furthermore, Munyengera Agro-machinery has trained and now employs 22 youths to fabricate and assemble the mobile maize shellers and other new innovations (tractors and pedal shellers) at Munyengera Agro Machinery Limited.
Paul Zaake was among the top 25 innovators in the East Africa Postharvest Technology Competition 2017.
Technology : Fruits Village Solar Dryer
The Fruits Village Solar Dryer uses the sun’s energy and wind to dry fruits, preparing them for further processing and packaging. The sliced fruits are spread in an even layer on drying racks inside the solar drier. The air below the semi-transparent collector is heated by the sun and spreads throughout the solar drier. The increased temperature decreases the relative humidity of the air, thereby allowing the air to more efficiently dry the crop. A fan to induce forced convection can be used when required.
Impact : Developed in January 2017, it has been tested for two and a half months. It reduces the time required to dry fruit products from 5 days to 1 day depending on the type of fruit and intensity and duration of solar energy. 5 youths have been employed so far on part-time. 23 fruits farmers have supplied us with fruits while 416 farmers have registered with us to supply us with fruits as soon as we upscale. Local fruits have reached Ugandan supermarkets and are soon headed to Kenya and Germany markets. Over 41 people have visited our site for training on solar drying. We have inspired one farmer in the village to start solar drying and packaging of egg plants.
Dr. Michael Lubwama was among the top 25 innovators in the East Africa Postharvest Technology Competition 2017.
Technology : A Hybrid Solar-Biomass Dryer for Pineapples
The Hybrid biomass-solar dryer has a drying chamber, a biomass stove and a solar collector. The stove uses agricultural waste and a solar collector system to enhance the drying capability. The dryer is a labour enhancing technology that increases the shelf life of pineapples. 60 kg of sliced pineapples can be dried at once in one batch. With drying air temperature set at 60°C, pineapples are dried to 25% moisture content from 90% in about 12 – 16 hours. The dryer can also be used for other agricultural products such as mango, chilli and banana.
Impact : Developed in 2015, it has been tested for one month among farmer groups who have reported reduced losses in pineapples due to spoilage. There has also been the development of other products such as pineapple juice, pineapple pickle, pineapple jam, etc. The farmer groups used the dryer to dry other agricultural produce such as mango, chilli and banana.
Kakooza Emmanuel was among the top 25 innovators in the East Africa Postharvest Technology Competition 2017.
Technology: Fruit Synergy and Vacuum Technology
The technology involves using the synergy between a vacuum in which no micro-organism can survive, short shelf life fruits and long shelf life fruits to increase the shelf life and taste, flavor color and nutritional value of fruit juice. It addresses postharvest losses, storage and transportation challenges.
Impact : Produced in 2010, it has been field tested for 6 years amongst 200 customers. It can be used to produce 200 units of juice products per hour. This output is considered when using small household machines. The output can be improved by improving the capacity of machinery used. For example, 1000 units per hour can be achieved.