Zero Waste Farming
One-line solution summary:
Promoting zero waste, diversified and integrated small farming in the Caribbean and beyond.
Pitch your solution.
Small farms have played a large role in reducing hunger globally but staying competitive against larger agribusiness and other, more lucrative sectors perennially places small farming in peril. My research and business partner, Dr. Leighton Naraine and I have developed a zero waste farming concept that includes research; gradual investment in technology, agriculture inputs, and locally-based retail centers; and marketing plans to diversify operations into manufacturing and service. As we work to scale up into livestock production, we have struggle to find affordable, reliable livestock feed. Our solution is to create our own livestock feed production, initially by creating a link between rice producers in Guyana and small farm co-ops in St. Kitts-Nevis. Along with this link, we are leveraging our own capital to invest in technology needed to produce nutrient-rich feed locally. Zero waste farming can transform and secure food supplies and livelihoods in the Caribbean and globally.
Film your elevator pitch.
What specific problem are you solving?
The problem we are addressing is the difficulty of scaling up zero waste diversified and integrated small farming in the Caribbean to include livestock production. Perennially, this sector--livestock production--proves unsuccessful due to problems in the supply chain for livestock feed. Feed sources are distant (Dominican Republic, Trinidad, St. Vincent), expensive because of shipping costs and import tariffs, and unreliable. There are fifteen farmers in the LACOS co-op, and approximately two hundred famers total in St. Kitts, nearly all operating on farms of less than 50 acres.
What is your solution?
Our solution is to establish local livestock feed production by building a linkage between rice producers in Guyana and small farmers in St. Kitts-Nevis. Rice is a key ingredient both for its grains and its by-products and the addition of protein rich fish offal from fish farming in St. Kitts will combine to make a nutrient-rich feed produced locally. We are investing in a steam boiler and pelletizer to produce the feed.
Who does your solution serve, and in what ways will the solution impact their lives?
Our immediate target is the fifteen small farmers in the Liamuiga Agriculture Cooperative Society (LACOS) in Cayon, St. Kitts, as well as rice producers in Guyana. Beyond that, we will be able to produce and market livestock feed to additional famrers and co-ops in St. Kitts-Nevis. Our solution comes from working together with the farmers in LACOS and other co-ops and talking through the problem of livestock production. Because the problem and solution has come from the farmers themselves, and because they are directly involved in implementing this project, we are confident that we have engaged them and that this solution addresses their needs.
Which dimension of the Challenge does your solution most closely address?Improve supply chain practices to reduce food loss, scale new business models for producer-market connections, and create low-carbon cold chains
Explain how the problem, your solution, and your solution’s target population relate to the Challenge and your selected dimension.
Our problem is the threat to small farming posed by poor supply chain options, particularly when it comes to livestock feed. Building our own local livestock feed operation addresses this problem while allowing us to preserve and expand the practice of zero waste farming. We target small farmers in the Caribbean directly, but their success in producing livestock feed locally will have a multiplier effect far beyond that specific sector.
In what city, town, or region is your solution team headquartered?Cayon, Saint Kitts and Nevis
What is your solution’s stage of development?Pilot: An organization deploying a tested product, service, or business model in at least one community
Who is the primary delegate for your solution?
Dr. Leighton Naraine, firstname.lastname@example.org
If you have additional video content that explains your solution, provide a YouTube or Vimeo link here:
Which of the following categories best describes your solution?A new business model or process
Describe what makes your solution innovative.
Using non-traditional livestock feed production technology to produce high-quality feed locally and utilizing farm and non-farm waste to enhance farm productivity in the Caribbean.
Describe the core technology that powers your solution.
Modified diesel engine powered by #2 fuel (waste motor oil) that operates a steam generator and pressurized steam cooker to render the various ingredients into livestock feed.
Provide evidence that this technology works.
It's been tested in a pilot project funded by OAS in Grenada (see Naraine, p. 113 for details).
Please select the technologies currently used in your solution:
What is your theory of change?
Change must be structural, and we take a structural approach to change in agriculture. This means moving from conventional technology typically used for industrialized models of agriculture to non-conventional technology that is scalable from small- to medium- and large- scale enterprises (including agroprocessing and agricultural services).
Select the key characteristics of your target population.
Which of the UN Sustainable Development Goals does your solution address?
In which countries do you currently operate?
In which countries will you be operating within the next year?
How many people does your solution currently serve? How many will it serve in one year? In five years?
one year: 50
five years: 200+
What are your goals within the next year and within the next five years?
With adequate funding we expect to establish livestock feed processing in St. Kitts-Nevis, leading to expanded livestock production.
Goals for the five-year timeframe include reducing food imports by expanding local livestock production, further diversifying into livestock processing, and promoting/expanding this model of zero waste farming through regional and global consultations.
What barriers currently exist for you to accomplish your goals in the next year and in the next five years?
Without question the biggest hurdle is funding to acquire, set up and operate livestock feed processing. Our combined capital resources can provide partial but not complete funding for the travel and equipment/technology needed to implement this plan for local livestock feed. Lenders, meanwhile, tend to support conventional technologies and view non-conventional and innovative approaches like ours with uncertainty.
How do you plan to overcome these barriers?
Leveraging our own capital with targeted fundraising appeals through grant opportunities, development bank opportunities, and potential investment partners.
What type of organization is your solution team?Other, including part of a larger organization (please explain below)
If you selected Other, please explain here.
Community-based organization (CBO)
How many people work on your solution team?
2 primary + 2 from LACOS = 2 private partners
How many years have you worked on your solution?
15 years general work on the context of diversifying local agriculture following the end of sugar cultivation. 5 years specific work on this model.
Why are you and your team well-positioned to deliver this solution?
The team combines professional background in research and innovation, project and policy planning, business development, agriculture and environment adaptations, and hands-on small farming.
What organizations do you currently partner with, if any? How are you working with them?
St. Kitts Department and Ministry of Agriculture, St. Kitts-Nevis Chamber of Industry and Commerce, Taiwanese Diplomatic Mission to St. Kitts-Nevis, Guyana Minister of Agriculture, Organization of American States. All these organizations help articulate our project with respect to supply chains, community engagement, private sector engagement, and proof of concept.
Why are you applying to Solve?
Implementation of sustainable food systems through zero waste farming in the Caribbean.
Please explain in more detail here.
We are particularly interested in partnering with an Agricultural Engineering specialist who can help provide standards oversight
Dr. Kevin Meehan Professor, University of Central Florida