Winning NWO student battle project The SunBarter has started
During the celebration of WOTRO’s 50th anniversary in October 2014, the conference audience voted the innovative solution “Back to the basics: establishing a trade by barter food network with dried fruits and vegetables in Nigeria” as the winning project of the Battle of Ideas. The team won a prize of €1,500 per team member. Shortly after, they met with the Food & Business Knowledge Platform to discuss the different options of how to use the total amount of €6,000 within the scope of their proposal.
The F&BKP is proud that in the meantime, the team has developed into the SunBarter project team, consisting of three Msc graduates with diverse backgrounds and skills that serve the project’s elements.
The SunBarter’s target is to create pilot projects, to assert the actual impact and feasibility of the idea across selected locations. Countries currently targeted for the implementation of the pilot are Nigeria and Guatemala, countries of origin of two SunBarter team members.
The SunBarter project
Across the world, seasonality and infrastructure are limiting factors to the income of many smallholder farmers. At the same time, the seasonal abundance and scarcity of fruits and vegetables in some areas means that there is an unconsumed surplus that goes to waste because local demand is filled, and the lack of infrastructure prevents farmers from reaching the demand elsewhere. In The SunBarter initiative, farmers are encouraged to process seasonally abundant fruits and vegetables into dried products by using mixed solar dryers and to trade them by barter or sell them through an interactive SMS service. Drying fruits and vegetables, together with a barter/trading system through a mobile phone platform, has the potential to prevent food loss, create a value added product in the place of waste, and positively impact seasonal food insecurity while meeting local food preferences. Combining existing solutions might result in one greater solution.
Project activities and progress
After developing a written plan with the objectives for the test phase, research followed for suitable tools and resources. This included the construction of a prototype of dryer suitable for the climate of Nigeria and for the budget, as well as for transport. At the end of 2015, the conditions became favourable. In particular, the availability of local partners for activities on the ground was crucial. The NGO Hope for the Village Child Foundation agreed to support the pilot by providing logistics and human resources in the Kaduna State and another MOU was signed with the Young Farmers Initiative. After identifying the instruments to collect data and develop a critical incident questionnaire, the test phase was launched in Nigeria, in Kaduna State, in a location named Ligyara (population approx. 2000). This pilot was successfully completed in February 2016 and the evaluation of the project is ongoing.
The team is looking forward to the next step, together with local and hopefully international collaborators.
For more information, please contact The SunBarter.