Around the world, 550 million smallholder farmers lack access to mechanized agricultural technology. Many important food staples like maize (corn) and grains (e.g., rice or whet) are harvested and processed by hand, which is both labor intensive and time consuming. Processing agriculture manually can also lead to injuries or pull children out of school, since harvesting food for survival takes priority over education in subsistence farming household.
This Challenge focuses on locally and environmentally sustainable innovations in agricultural processing so smallholder farmers can retain more value from their crops. Solutions should focus on a measurable change, such as increasing yields, accelerating post-harvest processing, improving the nutritional content of food and enabling higher income generation.
Pictured: Pedal powered corn processor developed by Global Cycle Solutions, a 2009 IDEAS Competition entrant and 2009 MIT $100k D-Track winner.