Transfer of Indian farm and food processing machinery to promote food security in Kenya.

The United States Agency for International Development (USAID), in partnership with the Society for Research and Initiatives for Sustainable Technologies and Institutions (SRISTI) will transfer three types of low-cost mechanization and processing equipment to Kenya viz. Honey Bee Frugal Tiller, Honey Bee Frugal Food processing machine and Honey Bee Frugal Dibbler. SRISTI and Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology will demonstrate and diffuse these technologies and promote local manufacturing to ensure long-term sustainability

This program is aimed at replicating the Indian success in the adoption of grassroots innovations for farm mechanization in Africa. Based on a comprehensive assessment and the need for technology intervention to improve agricultural productivity in Kenya, SRISTI will promote agriculture equipment developed by Indian grass-roots innovators to address the food security challenges. The work done by SRISTI in the last 25 years to promote grassroots innovations demonstrates the sustainable Indian business model. In order to replicate this success, SRISTI will catalyze the transfer of three technological interventions in three major areas: (a) Planting - Honey Bee Dibbler; (b) Cultivation - Honey Bee Tiller (also termed as “Bullet Santi”); and (c) Post-harvest processing of farm produce - Honey Bee Food Processing Machine. The program which has been funded by USAID is going to take place over three years starting from October 1, 2013.

Program Goals and Objectives:

The program will increase small holder farmer’s access to technology, build the capacity of individual farmers, producers groups and entrepreneurs in production, marketing, application and management of proposed technologies and foster enabling environment to ensure sustainability. This program also supports USAID India’s objective of sharing Indian agriculture innovations that address constraints to agriculture sector productivity and enhance climate resilience, will foster enabling environment, and expand markets and trade. The overall goal of this program is to improve agricultural productivity and food security in Africa by fostering agriculture mechanization among the small-holder farmers using Indian grassroots innovations.

  • Promote the use of machinery in agriculture to reduce power for increasing agricultural productivity;
  • Foster a conducive environment for adoption of Indian innovation in agriculture mechanization in Kenya;
  • Promote learning and exchange of Indian experience and best practices to support food security in select Kenya

SRISTI and Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology (JKUAT) are conducting demonstrations, training and capacity building as well as building an ecosystem of stakeholders around these technologies. The team is also promoting local manufacturing/assembly to ensure long-term sustainability. The program aims to increase small holder farmers’ access to technology, build the capacity of individual farmers, producers’ groups and entrepreneurs for sustaining this ecosystem.

Project regions

Two specific ecological zones which are inhabited mostly by small and marginal farmers were selected as the target areas of the project (Figure 1).

Figure 1: Target areas selected within Kenya

i) High Rainfall Region (HR 1):
This includes the districts of Bungoma, Busia, Siaya, Kisumu, Homa Bay, Migori, Kakamega, Nandi, Kericho, Kisii, Kakamega, Nandi, Kericho and Kisumu. Some parts of these regions have rainforest; others have vast catchments of water and forest fringe areas. The low lying areas have low productivity where machinery can help in improving the timeliness of operations.

ii) Semi-arid Region (SA 2):
This region, which comprises Machakos, Kitui, Makueni, Kajado and Taita Taveta, has a vast range of agro-climatic conditions ranging from semi-arid to coastal region. Sorghum, millet, beans, horticulture are grown predominantly in dry regions.

The farm machinery can help in bringing a larger area under cultivation. The scope for the adoption and utilization of the Bullet Santi and food processing machine is much higher. In addition to the proposed machinery, the program will also explore opportunities to deploy other relevant farm implements to improve productivity, timeliness and reduction in drudgery.

Activities carried out so far:
The first sample consignment of the three technologies was sent to Kenya on 11th Jan 2013. An exploratory visit was organized in February and March 2014 during which demonstrations of all the three technologies took place and feedback was collected. From March to June, the team worked on technologies and made necessary modifications to make them suitable to the Kenyan conditions. Meanwhile, the Kenyan counterparts were also modifying some parts of the machine. By mid July, the team started making efforts to develop a network on entrepreneurs, fabricators, suppliers and repairpersons. We met several stake holders in the course of the next two months. People who could play critical roles in the diffusion and training processes were also identified. In November and December, training and demonstration sessions were held at these places in the presence of the original fabricators of the technologies. Currently, demonstrations and training activities are still continuing in Kenya.

Annual Report

Transfer Three Technological Interventions

Product Catalogue in Swahili

PRESS RELEASE - 30th Oct, 2013

New Delhi - The United States Government, through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), announced three new partnerships to share successful low-cost agricultural innovations and technologies with African countries.

USAID has granted financial awards to three Indian organizations through its India-Africa Agriculture Innovations Bridge Program, aimed at sharing Indian innovations with African countries for increased food security and nutrition under Feed the Future, the U.S Government's Global Hunger & Food Security Initiative. The technologies to be shared were developed by Indian innovators and include a low-cost tractor, an organic fertilizer, and a solar dryer. All were devised to increase farmers' agricultural yields and incomes by mechanizing their operations, fertilizing depleted soils, and preventing post-harvest losses.

USAID, in partnership with Indian non-profit organization Society for Research and Initiatives for Sustainable Technologies and Institutions (SRISTI) will transfer three types of low-cost mechanization and processing equipment to Kenya. Indian and African organizations will demonstrate new technologies and promote local manufacturing to ensure long-term sustainability.

In partnership with Indian company AquAgri Processing Private Limited, USAID will improve agriculture production by promoting African farmers' use of organic fertilizer made out of a seaweed extract. Over the next three years, the company will develop a fertilizer concentrate and powder to export and market to at least seven African countries. Public and private sector entities in Africa will conduct trials to ensure the fertilizer's effectiveness on African crops.

USAID is also partnering with Indian non-profit organization Science for Society to introduce Solar Conduction Dryers (SCD) in Africa for reducing post-harvest losses. SCD is a solar powered food dehydrator that reduces moisture content in food crops and extends their shelf-life up to one year. This drying process allows better retention of nutrients, color, flavor, and hygiene than open-sun drying. This unique low-cost Indian innovation provides an electricity-free solution to preserve food in some environments where there is not ready access to electricity.

SRISTI was mentioned in the speech of US Ambassador Richard R. Verma at the Global Sankalp Summit held on April 9, 2015 in New Delhi. Ambassador Verma talked about how innovations like the Bullet Santi hold enormous potential for African development.

Full Speech by Ambassador Richard R. Verma

Good morning. Ministers, Hosts, Distinguished Guests.

On the walls of my home at the embassy are a number of inspiring photographs that represent India and the United States. One of my favorites is the one of President Kennedy meeting Prime Minister Nehru in 1961.

Three days before that historic meeting, President Kennedy had created the United States Agency for International Development. He envisioned USAID as an organization that would tackle some of the world’s greatest development challenges. But he also recognized that addressing poverty could be even more difficult than putting a man on the moon.

We are fortunate to have a short video that includes some of President Kennedy’s remarks about the challenges we faced in his time. I think you’ll see many of these challenges are still with us today.

In the last several months, a new Indian Prime Minister has met another American President. Twice. Their meetings underscored the global benefits our growing partnership can bring about. It is a partnership that has evolved through the years from one rooted in shared strategic priorities, to one that is driven by the innovation, knowledge, creativity, and drive of our peoples.

Just as the U.S. – India relationship has evolved, so has the way we address development challenges together.

In the 1960s we worked together to achieve food security during the Green Revolution. Today, our approach is defined by partnerships. Partnerships not only between our governments, but partnerships between governments and innovators, social entrepreneurs, and impact investors. Partnerships with people like you. These partnerships are focused on solutions in areas like health, energy, and food security. They are focused on solutions that can be tested locally, scaled to larger objectives, and exported.

Our development partnerships include triangular assistance. India, the United States, and our partners work together to assist developing countries in Asia and Africa as they address their own development challenges. Triangular efforts showcase Indian leadership and know-how while contributing to stability and prosperity.

For example, USAID is partnering with SRISTI, The Society for Research and Initiatives for Sustainable Technologies and Institutions, and TATA Agrico to promote food security in Kenya through the transfer of affordable, innovative Indian farm and food processing machinery. One example of their work is a motorbike-based tractor/tiller that SRISTI developed and then adapted to local needs. This tractor/tiller helped increase agricultural productivity and improved the resilience of vulnerable communities and households. Innovations like these hold great promise for African development.

We are also working with many partners on improving water and sanitation conditions. Globally, two and a half billion people lack access to improved sanitation. 780 million people still do not have access to safe drinking water. Lack of access to clean water and sanitation services in urban areas is a direct contributor to hundreds of thousands of child deaths annually, as well as many other preventable sicknesses.

According to India’s 2011 census, there are 65 million Indians living in urban informal or slum settlements with inadequate access to safe water and sanitation services. The U.S. Government is partnering with India’s Ministry of Urban Development, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and leading Indian and multinational corporates to support Prime Minister Modi’s Swachh Bharat Clean India Campaign which aims to provide clean water and sanitation services to all.

In Bangalore, for example, we are working with the city administration and WaterHealth India to provide over 32,000 households with clean drinking water. Prior to this effort, slum residents often became ill from contaminated water or paid high prices for commercial water. With support from USAID and the local Municipal Corporation, WaterHealth built purification centers in the community that produce water that meets the World Health Organization standards. Local residents now have access to clean and safe drinking water at a sustainable low cost.

India has made impressive progress in the health sector over the past two decades. Notably, it has reduced maternal and child mortality rates by more than half. USAID is helping to build on this progress by working with DASRA, Piramal Foundation, and Kaiwah Trust to bring together philanthropists and social entrepreneurs in an effort to save the lives of one million more adolescent girls, mothers, and children. Programs like these put the goal of ending preventable child and maternal deaths within reach.

We are also working together in novel ways to balance growing energy needs with the realities of climate change. Introducing renewable energy solutions into peoples’ lives in ways that also build incomes and empower people is one key to finding this balance.

For instance, a program called the Partnership on Women's Entrepreneurship in Clean Energy, wPOWER, is a good example of how India and the United States are partnering with innovators like you to change lives. wPower teaches women entrepreneurs about small renewable energy products that can be used in the home. These women then go out and sell the products to their peers, increasing their incomes, building skills, and introducing renewable energy into their communities.

One such entrepreneur is Shanta Gawali. Ms. Gawali lives with her husband in a village in Maharashtra. They have a small farm and for years she supplemented their modest farming income with a home-based business producing and packaging snacks. wPOWER helped Ms. Gawali expand her product line – and her income – by introducing renewable energy devices like clean cookstoves and solar lamps into her product line.

Ms. Gawali’s story has been replicated hundreds of times in Maharashtra and Bihar. Using road shows, weekly market stalls, and on-the-spot demonstrations, these entrepreneurs reached 350,000 people and sold 80,000 products. This astounding success has helped these women increase their incomes by 33 percent while also accelerating India’s clean energy transition at the grassroots level.

Last week I saw another example of how renewable energy solutions can change lives. I was in Mysore and visited a migrant slum community where many of the adults make cricket bats. As I’m sure you can imagine, this nomadic community is far off the energy grid. But because of a partnership between USAID and SELCO, many families now own portable, battery-operated solar energy units that produce enough electricity to power a light and charge a mobile phone.

The introduction of these mini-power plants into this community is changing lives. The lights allow the workers to increase the number of bats they can make, thereby increasing their incomes by up to 30 percent. The use of kerosene is decreasing in favor of clean solar power. But these are just the tangible benefits. As one of the workers told me, the solar lights were also reducing his family’s exposure to snakes, rodents, and insects, making his wife and children feel safer. My friends, when thinking of the impact of our development efforts, we cannot discount secondary benefits like these. The resiliency and social fabric of this community is being strengthened because these families feel safer and more economically empowered.

I started with President Kennedy, and now I’ll end with President Obama. At Siri Fort in January, President Obama emphasized the importance of recognizing that everyone’s dreams – whether a cleaner, a rickshaw driver, or a little girl carrying water – everyone’s dreams are important and beautiful. It is up to us – the people who are fortunate enough to live in countries where the grandson of a cook can become President, and the son of a tea-seller can become Prime Minister – to find ways to help people turn those dreams into realities. We can do so by continuing to develop, to innovate, and to partner together.

I applaud you all for your continuing hard work and efforts toward fostering innovation for impact, and I look forward to meeting and working with many of you in the future. Thank You.