My name is Margaret, I'm a mother of 5 and I have a self sustaining proposition that can positively impact and contribute to the reduction of climate change in my country Uganda and the neighboring countries in East Africa.
Country wide we currently rely on charcoal to cook food, this has led to rampant deforestation which is now at an alarming 200,000 hectares every year.
What is so sadly happening now is that fruit trees are now targeted and cut down to be burnt to make charcoal. This saddens my heart so much that I started thinking of a way to save them from being deforestated.
I asked myself: "What if one could make it unprofitable to cut down these fruits trees, what if it could be profitable for the average citizen to plant more of these majestic tall trees? What a wonderful world that would be!"
Because fruits are perishable and rot after only a few days, tree owners can but sell a few of the fruits at the local market and because of high supply at local markets, most of the fruit harvested (70 - 80%) are left to rot in the garden. The tree owners are therefore tempted or eager to sell and cut down the tree in pursuit of quick cash, or in case of emergency e.g. to pay medical bills, buy food during long droughts, etc.
However, if all the harvested fruit is bought from the tree owner at a fair price and dried for export to Europe, the Middle East, Japan and USA because the export market is very big, the owner of the tree will earn enough money in each of the 2 harvest seasons that is more than s/he would get from selling and destroying the entire tree to charcoal burning. This would begin to entice more villagers to plant more trees and the problem of deforestation would be mitigated.
Because electric food dryers are so expensive and because there is no electricity in rural areas, the commercial drying of fruit is done using polythene built solar dryers. However, polythene solar dryers have many negative drawbacks; e.g. they are very expensive to maintain because their construction materials get damaged by intense heat that rises inside them, and secondly, during rainy seasons in case the sun did not shine all the fruit would go bad and money that was used to buy the fruits would be lost.
To solve this, a group of graduates engineered a metallic dryer (see image of the small dryer). The dryer uses briquettes instead of charcoal and dries 5 times faster than the sun and dries all day. The briquettes are made from recycled agricultural waste, therefore they also contribute to saving more trees from being cut down. They named the dryer Sparky.
With this dryer one is able to purchase a lot of fruit from farmers/ tree owners and save trees from being cut down while at the same time encourage the average man to plant more trees which will help mitigate climate change.
Here are 9 challenges I want to solve:
1. Save many trees from deforestation and make it profitable to plant more fruit trees. How? By:
2. Creating a new reliable market for smallholder farmers. It is the lack of market for the perishable fruits that is making it more profitable to cut down the trees.
3. Avoid food waste as all harvested fruit will be dried thus preserving them with a shelf life of 2 years.
4. Enhance nutrition and food security because dried fruits will be available with a shelf life of 2 years.
5. Connect smallholder farmers to the global food supply chain.
6. Lift fellow smallholder farmers out of poverty buy buying fruit from them.
7. Eliminate malnutrition in young children in my community because dried fruit rich in vitamins C will be available all year round.
8. Promote the use of clean energy using solar powered batteries to dry the fruits.
9. It will empower me to create reliable food processing employment opportunities in the community.
It's my dream that this proposition offers one of the solutions to saving our planet from the insanity of deforestation. The project is self sustaining and can replicate itself and grow to cover all regions in the country and I need a startup seed capital of $US 5,500 which I'll be glad if you could help contribute a grant. The money is to go into buying 2 medium sized dryers that each has a capacity of drying 50 kg a day. The rest is for purchasing fruits from tree owners.
Thank you very much for your contribution, and may the Almighty God Bless You.