- Citizen Digital
A Kenyan company, Savanna Circuit Tech won a grand prize of $100,000, equivalent to Ksh10 Million in the 2020 edition of the Cisco Problem Solver Challenge 2020.
The company which developed a solar chilling in-transit system to help dairy businesses in Africa to cut post-harvest losses, beat out other organisations to claim the top spot.
The founders, Percy Lemtukei and Emmastella Gakuo are the brains behind ‘MaziwaPlus Pre-Chiller’ from Kapenguria, West Pokot County which was developed in response to milk post-harvest losses due to transportation over long distances in rural Kenya.
They divulged that they would use their winnings to strengthen their business by acquiring novel talent and equipment for their new manufacturing facility.The MaziwaPlus Pre-Chiller by Savanna Circuit Tech Company.
“In Kenya, 70 percent of dairy producers are smallholder dairy farmers, and one million people work on these family-run farms. These smallholder farmers produce 5.3 billion litres of milk each year - 30 percent of which goes to waste.
“The milk goes to waste because it takes a lot of time to get it from the point of production to corporate chains that assist with marketing and selling it. The transportation can take up to five hours using animal transport, bicycles, or people walking from their homes," Gakuo who is a communication and media studies graduate from Moi University stated.
Lemtukei who grew up around dairy farmers as well as other forms of farming stated that she observed farmers were not getting the full value of their product.
“I met Emmastella at university, and we were discussing how most of these dairy communities work hard, but see little profit. We wanted to use the knowledge we have academically, and our connections in the supply chain, to make the world a better place. That is how we came up with Savanna Circuit Tech," he explained.
They used Artificial Intelligence (AI) and other technologies that ensures that dairy businesses - whether farmers or distributers, efficiently cut on post-harvest losses whilst maximising their profits.
The MaziwaPlus Pre-Chiller is a mobile solar-powered system that can be mounted on motorbikes, offering quality control, traceability and maximised profits for dairy producers and cooperatives.Left: Dr. Kamau Gachigi (Gearbox), Percy Lemtukei and Emmastella Gakuo (Savanna Circuit Tech) and James Creel (ASME ISHOW) during the award ceremony at Nairobi on May 9, 2019.The Standard
The Cisco Problem Solver Challenge which is currently in its fourth year, is an online competition that awards cash prizes to early-stage startups that have developed a solution that drives economic development or solves a social or environmental problem.
Since the program began in 2016, over $900,000 (Ksh90 Million) in prize money has been awarded to 30 startups from 12 countries to help them accelerate their breakthrough technologies.
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