ACUMEN ENTREPRENEURS BUILD SOLUTIONS TO THE TOUGHEST CHALLENGES FACING THE POOR
Increasing smallholder farmer incomes and reducing food waste with solar-powered drying machines
Typically, around one fifth of any farmers’ crop yield is rejected by buyers because of the way it looks—even though it is safe to eat and has the same nutrients as higher grade produce. Between rejected produce and spoilage, $14 billion worth of produce in India is wasted each year.
Co-founded by a team of five entrepreneurs including Vaibhav Tidke and Acumen India Fellow Nidhi Pant, S4S Technologies created and patented a Solar Conduction Dryer (SCD): a portable, solar-powered machine that dries vegetables and spices while retaining their nutrients.
S4S partners with rural women, supplying them with an SCD to dry produce in their homes. The company purchases lower-grade rejected produce from local smallholder farmers and brings it to the women entrepreneurs to dry. S4S then processes and packages the dried produce at a central facility for sale to large-scale production companies and food service providers.
To date, S4S has enabled 2,700 farmers to increase their incomes by 10-15%.