Eligibility of countries
Countries which lie within the tropical and sub-tropical zone have a suitable climate for the implementation of solar drying, and usually present problems with the preservation of fresh fruits and vegetable and cold chains infrastructure. In some of these countries, solar drying (on rooftop or on racks in Central Asia and in the Mediterranean region) has been already implemented for centuries. Within the countries, the aim is to start a pilot that allows an exchange of dried goods between places belonging to two different climatic areas. Other prerequisites are mobile network coverage (at least intermittent), and the presence of cooperatives, organizations or groups interested in supporting the project.
Countries we are currently targeting for the implementation of the pilot are Nigeria and Guatemala, countries of origin of two of our team members. Both are crossed by the Equator and have similar agro-ecological characteristics (from Equatorial and Tropical Rainforest to dry inland areas). Therefore, seasonal rainfall and temperature patterns, and the type and growing patterns of fruits and vegetables grown, are comparable. This is promising for the implementation and potential scaling up of pilots. However, the social and economic realities within the two countries are very diverse. Therefore, in each country or region we are looking for NGOs, projects and organizations embedded in the specific context, who are interested in partnering or supporting our project supplying human or knowledge resources, and in logistics terms.
Nigeria’s climate is divided in five bands, or biomes: the south coastal area (mangroves), tropical rainforest, Guinea Savannah, Sudan savannah and Sahel. In Nigeria, agriculture is the main occupation and economic activity, employing two-thirds of the estimated labour force (FAO, 2015). Food production increase has not kept pace with population increase, therefore incerasing the need for food import and decreasing per capita supply especially of fresh fruits and vegetables, and sources of animal proteins. The population is divided 50:50 between rural and urban areas (FAOSTAT 2014), with different food access and nutrition challenges raising from the two conditions. We propose the starting of a pilot an exchange of dried goods between:
Guatemala is located along the Equator, with a range of biomes, from tropical humid forest and rainforest in the East, to the cooler, drier highlands in the centre, covered with coniferous forests, to the humid savannah on the west coast. The Sierra Madre mountain range determines the agro-climatic variations. In terms of food security, access to nutritious food and a diversified diet is still a problem for most of the population. According to the FAO nutrition country profile (2013), and FAOSTAT, stunting affects 49% of children and micronutrients deficiency affects a large part of the young and adult population, especially in regions such as the plateau, north and centre, where the indigenous and rural population is located. Historical factors and inadequate agricultural and social policies led to the current situation in rural and farming areas. In Guatemala, there are three potential sites where a pilot can start in cooperation with farmers'cooperatives or NGOs:
We believe that in both countries, an exchange between these areas could enrich people’s diets while targeting the problem of preservation, transport and food spoilage from farm to market.