Solution Overview

Solution Name:

Mlera Project

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One-line solution summary:

Recycling cattle dung in building a sustainable food supply system, poverty reduction and reclaiming Chirwa Wetland

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Pitch your solution.

The pressure on agriculture to feed the growing population is so high and the growing in yield not meeting requirements. However, the development of all sorts of modern technologies to meet such demand has disrupted the ecosystem, destroyed soil structure and profiles, brought in effects on the environment and humanity both today and future generations. The developments poses a threat to future survival, the environment, and production. There is therefore a call for sustainable and climate smart agriculture with minimal or zero effect on the environment while increasing income and sustenance for the population meeting nutritive value requirements with low carbon production. Ranching has had detrimental effect on Chirwa Wetland, however can be used as a source of enterprise linkage while focusing on organic production for a shift towards low impact, diverse and nutritious diets including low carbon protein options, at the same time poverty reduction.

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Film your elevator pitch.

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What specific problem are you solving?

Agriculture accounts for over 40 percent of the earth's land. This is coupled with the fact that over two-thirds of human water use is for agriculture.  The need for increased production as a response for population increase, has necessitated adoption of modern technologies. However, with this pressure, livestock accounts for 40 percent of global emissions, mineral fertilizers for 16 percent and biomass burning and crop residues for about 18 percent. Agriculture is also responsible for up to half of all methane emissions. Though it persists for a shorter time, methane is about 20 times more powerful than carbon dioxide in its warming action and a major short-term contributor to global warming. However, farming can also be a sink for carbon. In 1997-99 an estimated 590 to 1 180 million tonnes of carbon were locked up in cropland soils alone, in the form of soil organic matter from crop residues and manure. If soils are well managed the locking up can be as much as 13 million of tonnes annually. Despite absence of data, it can be project that the effect of global warming on Lake Chirwa can be reduced to half if the suggested management is adopted.


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What is your solution?

The project follows an enterprise linkage model, where animal production will be linked to crop production. The linkage will utilize animal waste in manure production in an environmental conservation way at the same time focusing on increased yield.It will support small-scale producers who are largely women around Lake Chirwa wetland with access to inputs, capital, and knowledge to improve yields while sustaining productivity of land and seas. Th desire is to contribute towards increased efforts to reclaim the wetland.

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Who does your solution serve, and in what ways will the solution impact their lives?

The solution targets women within the wetland and focused on their knowledge on farming, and nutrition, business and marketing, and utilization of what they have. These women have been those who are largely regarded as poor, but have a potential to increase their health, nutrition, income, and contribute towards serving the environment.

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Which dimension of the Challenge does your solution most closely address?

Support small-scale producers with access to inputs, capital, and knowledge to improve yields while sustaining productivity of land and seas

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Explain how the problem, your solution, and your solution’s target population relate to the Challenge and your selected dimension.

Lake Chirwa Wetland has greatly suffered from the ills of humanity. It surrounds Lake Chirwa which is an inland drainage lake. The Lake has no outlet however with passing years the Lake is drying despite having more water from over four biggest rivers bringing water. Similarly catch from the Lake is going down and has wide spread poverty within Malawi calculated to be the highest (poverty incidence 80-100) with a short fall from poverty line of 32-40. Mlera project aims at providing a solution for the environment at the same time for increased income diversification with minimal environmental impact

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In what city, town, or region is your solution team headquartered?

Zomba, Malawi
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What is your solution’s stage of development?

Prototype: A venture or organization building and testing its product, service, or business model

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Who is the primary delegate for your solution?

Harry Gerson Kamdima

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More About Your Solution

Which of the following categories best describes your solution?

A new technology

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Describe what makes your solution innovative.

The innovation is utilizing locally available resources with Chisu grass as a main component in reduction of green house effects. It utilizes the linkage model which has a dual impact and benefit for both ranchers and farmers while saving the wetland.

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Describe the core technology that powers your solution.

The project has several technological aspects blended into one solution ranging from manure processing, to agro-production and processing.

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Provide evidence that this technology works.

The manure production has been viable means for improving soil profile and structure. University of Nebraska has tried and tested it. https://water.unl.edu/article/manure-nutrient-management/how-can-animal-manure-help-my-soils-be-healthier-and-moremanure-help-my 

Malawi since 2014 has strived to go into agroprocessing, and Harry Kamdima the CEO has been the person championing that. https://www.transtec.be/websit...

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Please select the technologies currently used in your solution:

  • Biotechnology / Bioengineering
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What is your theory of change?

The solution focuses on conserved wetland, improved nutrition, increased income, reduced poverty, reduced carbon emissions, increased knowledge, empowered communities, and resilient and sustainable food supply system and communities. The community is a viable resource to the change, the current needs a catalyst, the relationships a means, the external facilitation a conduit, and the knowledge, agriculture start ups, and community resources inputs for the change.

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Select the key characteristics of your target population.

  • Women & Girls
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Which of the UN Sustainable Development Goals does your solution address?

  • 1. No Poverty
  • 2. Zero Hunger
  • 3. Good Health and Well-Being
  • 11. Sustainable Cities and Communities
  • 12. Responsible Consumption and Production
  • 13. Climate Action
  • 14. Life Below Water
  • 15. Life on Land
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In which countries do you currently operate?

  • Cameroon
  • India
  • Malawi
  • Mauritius
  • Mongolia
  • Namibia
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In which countries will you be operating within the next year?

  • Cameroon
  • India
  • Malawi
  • Mauritius
  • Mongolia
  • Namibia
  • Zambia
  • Zimbabwe
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How many people does your solution currently serve? How many will it serve in one year? In five years?

Currently there is none, three months from implementation it will be twenty five, six months from implementation it will be a hundred, by one year over hundred only within Chirwa wetland

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What are your goals within the next year and within the next five years?

SACRD will look for replication of the model within other projects with FAO Kulima Project, GIZ MIERA, and the other donors in agriculture both Malawi and beyond.

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What barriers currently exist for you to accomplish your goals in the next year and in the next five years?

SACRD envisage financial and technical barriers for scaling up the project to other areas and countries.

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How do you plan to overcome these barriers?

Financial barriers will be overcame through the already mentioned partnerships and linkages. SACRD will ensure dissemination of the results such that the model can be adopted with special recognition of SOLVE.


SACRD will ensure equipped personnel man the project and utilization of Government personnel for both growth and replication.

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About Your Team

What type of organization is your solution team?

Hybrid of for-profit and nonprofit

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If you selected Other, please explain here.

Solution SACRD under the theme Agriculture, Environment and Livelihood. SACRD believes in transformative approach to agriculture and environmental management. It feeds into SDG Goal 1; End poverty in all its forms everywhere: Goal 2; End hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture: Goal 10; Reduce inequality within and among countries: Goal 13; Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts: and Goal 15; Protect, restore and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, sustainably manage forests, combat desertification, and halt and reverse land degradation and halt biodiversity loss.


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How many people work on your solution team?

SACRD committees four people to work on the solution

Lead- Harry Gerson kamdima SACRD CEO. He has been the UNESCO National Coordinator for Malawi on similar project.To work on full time

Thematic Lead- Engineer Marius Meli- SACRD Thematic Lead- Marius is an agrocutural processing engineer. To work on full time

Nutritionist- Naomi Mvula- Naomi has been the Head of Department for Lilongwe Universisty of Agriculture and Natural Resources. She is there to work on part time

Agronomist- Alfonso Tembwe- Alfonso is a retired Chief Agronomist for the Malawi Governmnet. To work on Full time

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How many years have you worked on your solution?

Over 10 years on similar project not on this solution

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Why are you and your team well-positioned to deliver this solution?

Lead- Harry Gerson kamdima SACRD CEO. He has been the UNESCO National Coordinator for Malawi on similar project. Harry is good at networking and strategic operation. He has facilitated a similar project for UNESCO and anchored the first Agro-processing curriculum in Malawi.

Thematic Lead- Engineer Marius Meli- SACRD Thematic Lead- Marius is an agrocutural processing engineer. He has vast expereince in valiue chain analysis and processing. He understand market linkages and the value additions.

Nutritionist- Naomi Mvula- Naomi has been the Head of Department for Lilongwe Universisty of Agriculture and Natural Resources. She has various publications on nutirion and will be critical for the training and development of low carbon products which have a nutritive value

Agronomist- Alfonso Tembwe- Alfonso is a retired Chief Agronomist for the Malawi Governmnet. He has trained many farmers and is still contributing the same under the GIZ Agricultural TEVET.

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What organizations do you currently partner with, if any? How are you working with them?

Has no partner under agriculture but looking for some.

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Your Business Model & Funding

What is your business model?

In one of its studies SACRD realized that there is more value in the cops not emphasized for growing under the government supported initiatives as compared to the cereal production which has been emphasized. The challenge has been the nature of the produce and shelf life. For example, if a farmer produces tomato, green paper, onion, or egg plants, this farmer is far better off in revenue than the one who has produced maize. The starting point of calculation is crop population, then production period, harvesting period, nutritional value, and then proceeds. The figure below presents the argument. But how do farmers integrate the  income projection for poverty reduction, food sustainability, and prevention of bio-diversity loss?

31862_Pricing%20and%20profit_1440x810.JPG

Tomato is the crop that has the highest potential, seconded by potato. Both of these grow within 3 month to maturity. However tomato can be harvested for over 1.5 months while potato it’s once off. Though this is the case in Malawi tomato being a perishable has been calculated to have 75 percent loss bringing potential income to MK10,500,000 close to the other crops but less than potato. How do farmers benefit from the same.

Mlera Project will support farmers with certified inputs for the agreed crops. It will support with how to grow and nature the crops to production for market using locally available resources for sustainability, like Chisu grass for green technology and utilization of the animal dung for humus which will improve soil structure and fertility.



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Do you primarily provide products or services directly to individuals, or to other organizations?

Individual consumers or stakeholders (B2C)

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Partnership & Prize Funding Opportunities

Why are you applying to Solve?

This innovation project that SACRD has developed aims at providing a solution for a low-carbon food supply system that provides nutrition with minimal environmental impact. It therefore targets the following:

D1. Support small-scale producers who are largely women around Lake Chirwa wetland with access to inputs, capital, and knowledge to improve yields while sustaining productivity of land and seas;

D2. Scale practices and incentives for larger farmers and ranchers to decrease carbon emissions, land-use change, nutrient runoff, or water pollution;

D3. Improve supply chain practices to reduce food loss, scale new business models for producer-market connections, and create low-carbon cold chains; and

D4. Promote the shift towards low-impact, diverse, and nutritious diets, including low-carbon protein options.

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In which of the following areas do you most need partners or support?

  • Business model
  • Solution technology
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Please explain in more detail here.

SACRD goals emanate from its objective of establishment "A transformative approach to African Development" and "To bring a transformative mind set, view, and action for Africa through research, facilitation, promotion, and development of informed programs, projects, and solutions for Africa". The partnership goal for SACRD therefore is the betterment and transformation of  Africa. 

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What organizations would you like to partner with, and how would you like to partner with them?

SACRD would like to partner with

1. SOLVE

2. MIT

3. UN (FAO, WFP, UN Women, or UNESCO)

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Do you qualify for and would you like to be considered for The Andan Prize for Innovation in Refugee Inclusion?

No

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Do you qualify for and would you like to be considered for the Innovation for Women Prize?

Yes

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Explain how you are qualified for this prize. How will your team use the Innovation for Women Prize to advance your solution?

The poverty of Africa has been pointed at as agricultural at the same time engendered. Most development practitioners have emphasised on the poverty of Africa and its correlation to agriculture and being female. World Bank has called this feminization of agriculture, and in the same stated that poverty in Africa has a female face. In this failure focus has been on the production, the market growth, pricing, and processing including the so much decline Terms of Trade (ToT). It has been argued that females are the pillars of agriculture however their productivity is low as an effect of enormous work they have called the burden of women, lack of productive resources as inputs resulting from male chauvinism where they control resources even though women were part of production, and the deprivation of women from farm outreach programs in preference for men who are not the critical component in the food supply chain.  In regard to market growth and pricing, it has been observe that farm gate prices are usually low to the effect that they cannot help make agriculture business for the small producers. They don’t incentivise the enough. Market linkage has been a challenge to these small holder farmers.

The innovation targets women by addressing the whole chain or women marginalization, poverty, and deprivation. It seek to emancipate women from ills of societal construct and ensure their lives are empowered both economically and socially, at the same time contribute so much towards the very environment they need most

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Do you qualify for and would you like to be considered for the AI for Humanity Prize?

No

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Do you qualify for and would you like to be considered for the Future Planet Capital Prize?

Yes

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Explain how you are qualified for this prize. How will your team use the the Future Planet Capital Prize to advance your solution?

The pressure on agriculture to feed the growing population is so high and the growing in yield not meeting requirements. However, the development of all sorts of modern technologies to meet such demand has disrupted the ecosystem, destroyed soil structure and profiles, brought in effects on the environment and humanity both today and future generations. The developments poses a threat to future survival, the environment, and production.

Zhang et.al (2018) in his study of the impact of agricultural chemical inputs on environment: global evidence from informetrics analysis and visualization, records that many countries have reported alarming residues of agricultural chemicals in soil, water, air, agricultural products, and even in human blood and adipose tissue. The research further suggests that the massive use of inorganic fertilizers world-wide is associated with the accumulation of contaminants, e.g. arsenic (As), cadmium (Cd), fluorine (F), lead (Pb) and mercury (Hg) in agricultural soils. Policy makers recognize the existence of such a condition and that the excessive and unsystematic application of agrichemical inputs, pesticides and fertilizers in particular, is an obstacle to the development of sustainable agriculture, and poses a threat to the environment and humans alike.

With more development and population increase, the trees have been wantonly cut in preference for bunt brick houses, people desire more meat than can be produced hence need for more grazing land, protein requirements high such that shore fishing is no longer profitable, fingerings caught depleting future catch, and   more pressure put on mother earth which cant expand nor increase in size. The above stated disruption that have come with modern agriculture, have affected the ecosystem such that low-carbon global food system that provides nutrition with minimal environmental impact is under threat. These new trends made transforming the food system more difficult.

New data-rich technologies, combined with the revival of traditional practices such as intercropping or indigenous fisheries management, hold great promise. But new business models are required to bring these approaches to far more people, while further innovation is still needed to transform the food system at scale. 

However the cases like that of Malawi have no policy in place to ensure
that this is minimised. The question can be how will a small holder
farmer in a country like Malawi who cultivates less than 2 hectares for
both income and sustenance benefit from agriculture? How will the
environmental degradation be minimised to sustain both agriculture and
future generations? How will they see the importance to develop a model that will serve the planet?

All this requires a new model here being presented.


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Solution Team

  • Harry Kamdima Mr., Souther Africa Centre for Research and Development
 
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