Science for Society Techno Services Pvt. Ltd.

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Science for Society Techno Services Pvt. Ltd.: Solar Food Processing to Improve Economic Situation of Farmers & Food Security

IndiaMumbai, India
Year Founded:
2011
Organization type: 
for profit
Project Stage:
Scaling
Budget: 
$50,000 - $100,000
Project Summary
Elevator Pitch

Concise Summary: Help us pitch this solution! Provide an explanation within 3-4 short sentences.

Due to economic stress on farmers, quarter millions of farmers committed suicide in India. The major reasons attributed are low prices to the commodity and post-harvest losses of food.

Solar conduction dryer is solar powered food dehydrator for rural farmers, to reduce food spoilage and generate additional income through preserved food.

The patented technology, recognized by United Nations is five folds cheaper, works without electricity and returns the investment of farmers in only 100 days.

It helps the farmers to store their produce for one year and doubles the profit.
We will empower one million farmers by 2020.

Help us to bring change!

WHAT IF - Inspiration: Write one sentence that describes a way that your project dares to ask, "WHAT IF?"

What if the solar powered device offers to preserves fruits& vegetables whole year, brings poor farmers out of poverty?
About Project

Problem: What problem is this project trying to address?

India loses 60 mil tons of agri-produce as post harvest losses. This results into poverty among farmers, leading to suicides of quarter million farmers. On the other hand, it is home to 1/3rd of world’s malnourished children. Lack of electrify in rural areas adds up more to the problem. These multiple challenges can be tackled by a electricity free technology that can convert food wastes into processed food. It can help to earn additional income for farmers and ensure food security to overcome challenge of malnutrition.

Solution: What is the proposed solution? Please be specific!

Keeping these aspects in mind, this project is aimed at tackling the problem of post-harvest losses by introducing the innovative solar conduction dryer technology developed by the Indian organization-Science for Society, based in Mumbai, India. Solar Conduction Dryer (SCD) is an electricity free solar powered food dehydrator that reduces moisture content in agri-produce so that farmers and rural women can preserve their produce up to 1 year without using any chemicals and earn additional income of $1000/year through sale of dehydrated products. SCD, patented technology recognized by the UN, US-AID and University of Texas, converts agri-produce into value added dehydrated products. Dehydrated products can be sold at high value and can also be used by farmer families throughout the year. One SCD of approximately 6ft x 6ft in size, processes 3,000 kilgrams material annually and costs US $ 200. By adoption of this technology, local farmers are able to process the harvest surplus and made it possible to store and sell produce that would have otherwise be wasted. The solar dryer enables control of the drying process so that high-quality dried products are sold in distant markets. This has created new business opportunities for small-holder farmers in remote areas. The initiative enhances nutrition and food security for participating small-holders during the rainy seasons, which last several months. Project is making a substantial contribution to sustainable incomes for a large number of farming families, creating self-employment opportunities in rural farming communities wherein individual smallholder farmers are able to start small-scale businesses and significantly increase their family incomes and nutrition levels. Currently 180 farmers are using SCD with annual installed capacity of 500+ ton. Project SCD links farmers to market linkage of dehydrated products, micro-finance company, government subsidies and local NGOs for training. The eco-system building is integral part and key ingredient in success of SCD.
Impact: How does it Work

Example: Walk us through a specific example(s) of how this solution makes a difference; include its primary activities.

Mrs. Jaybhay is an ordinary Indian farmers’ housewife based at Ozar, a village in India. Living near her farm, away from main city, she didn’t have source of her own income apart from farm. She used to sell products in nearby town and was suffering loss of 20% perishable bitter gourd and bottle gourd. Solar Conduction Dryer, a solar powered food technology solution, now allows her to dehydrate these vegetables and sell to a food processing company. Additionally, she also uses it for her own cooking in off-season. The technology now serves to her as a tool of assured income of US$ 1000 every year and helps her to save loss of perishable vegetables. 180 such small holder women and farmers are now benefiting in similar way in India from Project SCD.

Impact: What is the impact of the work to date? Also describe the projected future impact for the coming years.

Project SCD is a social enterprise that has crossed reaching 180 farmers in India. The total processing capacity of these systems is 500+ tons/year, vegetables those are able to feed 2 million human meals. After successful pilot in 2013, SCD has entered to commercial level in 2014. Now, team has focused on reaching out to 1000 farmers by 2014 end and scaling up rapidly to 1 mil farmers by 2020 which will help us to convert 5% of losses into value added products.

Spread Strategies: Moving forward, what are the main strategies for scaling impact?

Team SCD is working on key sectors: 1. Scale-up in India: We are focused on scaling the innovation in India for other agri-commodities and geographic. Scale-up also involves reducing cost of production, linking farmers to micro-financial institution and buyers of dehydrated products. 2. Focus in Africa: After India, Sub-Saharan Africa is the most affected in terms of poverty, agri-losses and malnutrition. Hence, with US-AID we are exploring market of Kenya through creation of sustainable business model there. 3. Framing policy and support adaptation: Team SCD is working with data analysis, base line and impact surveys to generate evidence to support national and international policies. We are working with third parties to create independent validation.
Sustainability

Financial Sustainability Plan: What is this solution’s plan to ensure financial sustainability?

Project SCD is commercial venture. We sell SCDs with 20% profit margins, which are sufficient to grow us at certain pace. At next level, we plan to get VC funds or bank loans to scale up.

Marketplace: Who else is addressing the problem outlined here? How does the proposed project differ from these approaches?

Food processing is a sector where ranges of solutions are proposed. In specific solar food processing, companies like NRG Technologies, Kotak Energy are providing solutions. Most of these solutions need electricity to operate solar dryers are cost intensive and difficult to operate by farmers. SCD offers 3 times less cost than its competitor, till offers superior quality, maintenance free feature and runs without electricity. Apart from that, communities for which Project SCD is serving i.e. rural farmers and women, needs awareness, hand holding, risk minimization, and building of eco-system like market linkage, micro-finance, NGOs are trainers. Our competitors are not focusing on eco-system building, which we are doing.
Team

Founding Story

Project SCD started with team leader Vaibhav’s experience in his home town where fresh vegetable in weekly market were costing 20 cents/kg in morning while in the evening unsold vegetable needs to be thrown. There were no ways to store or preserve these crops, which triggered the foundation of Project SCD.

Team

Project SCD is full time team comprising of: 1. Vaibhav Tidke: Ph.D. in Sustainable Technology: CEO 2. Tushar Gaware: Ph.D. in Food Technology: Food processing expert 3. Mrs. Dr. Shital Somani: Technology Commercialization and Marketing 4. Ashwin Pawade: Master in Mechanical Engineer: Manufacturing and Implementation 5. Swapnil Kokate: Master in Polymer Engineering: Design 6. Mr. Swati Shimpi: Experimental Analysis 7. Mr. Ashwini Gaikwad : Marketing
About You
Organization:
Science for Society Techno Services Pvt. Ltd.
About You
First Name

Vaibhav

Last Name

Tidke

About Your Project
Organization Name

Science for Society Techno Services Pvt. Ltd.

How long has your organization been operating?

1‐5 years

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Project
Organization Country

, MM, Mumbai

Country where this project is creating social impact
What awards or honors has the project received?
Funding: How is your project financial supported?

Customers, Other.

Supplemental
Sector

Improving Nutrition, Opportunities for Women, Smallholder Farmers.

Audience: Who have you identified as your customer/recipient groups and do these groups value your solution for different reasons? How do you engage different customer/recipient groups to deliver your solution?

Our customers are small holder farmers and rural women. SCD creates value for them in terms of creating local employment through limited investment; ensure year wise income of US$1000 and save about 30% losses in agriculture. Project SCD minimizes their risk and empowers them through providing market linkage and micro-financing option. We offer one time sell, payment through installments, sell through microfinance, and sell through local banks and government bodies as per financial situation of farmer and women.

Scaling the solution: How would the prize money and publicity help you to achieve your objectives over the next two years?

The present award by Unilever will allow following things:
1. Scale Up: Project SCD is proven technology and eco-system. It needs capital to scale up which involve establishing systems in place, standardize manufacturing process, awareness and marketing.
2. Policy and advocacy: Award by Unilever will brings project SCD to visibility of number of international agencies. It will help us to push SCD in policies at national and international level.
3. Indirect Market access: The award will help us to get connected to Unilever itself and which in turn can connect us to its associated partners. This network of partners can help in marketing dehydrated products of farmers under their own brand, use them as raw material in own food processing plants/products. We believe that this indirect market access is important step in scale up for us.

Experience: Please provide examples of any previous entrepreneurial initiatives you have pioneered

At personal level, this is my first business. But following things have helped us to grow:
1. Inclusion of right team at right point of business
2. Strategic Partnership with Bayer Ag (raw material supply), Manufacturer tie up, micro-finance tie-up with Fullerton, subsidy o farmers tie-up with IFAD driven state government agency.
3. Appropriate training in patents, communication skills, management, technology commercialization by professional bodies

Are you are eligible to attend the Accelerator event in Cambridge and subsequent events in London, UK in January, 2015?

yes

Will you require a visa to enter the UK?

yes

Are you are a current Unilever employee?