Antwerpen, BelgiumFirst pilot:savé, then Kenya and Ethiopia., Benin
Year Founded:
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Project Summary
Elevator Pitch

Concise Summary: Help us pitch this solution! Provide an explanation within 3-4 short sentences.

45% of fruits and vegetables are lost in developing countries. Wakati changes that. Wakati is a fruit and vegetable storage alternative that reduces losses to 20%. Through reduced losses and higher quality vegetables, the profit margin of smallholders farmers is increased dramatically

About Project

Problem: What problem is this project trying to address?

According to the FAO, 45% of fruits and vegetables in developing countries never reach the consumer. That’s 45% less food in markets, on tables and in mouths. This postharvest loss is a result of smallholder farmers and market vendors lacking adequate protection for their produce from the climate, pests and diseases. Nearly half of a farmers investment of time and resources is needlessly wasted, causing higher prices and food shortages.

Solution: What is the proposed solution? Please be specific!

Reducing post-harvest losses is the most effective and sustainable solution to hunger and food insecurity. Wakati is a simple and innovative solution that alters the climate of fruit and vegetable storage spaces to increase shelf life and reduce post-harvest losses by over 20 percent. The climate control approach used by Wakati requires a fraction of the energy and materials necessary for traditional cooling systems and save precious resources like land, water, fertilizers and labor, by providing an ecological solution where there is none. Wakati is not only designed for the needs of small scale farmers, or 70% of the population in developing countries, but for the complete supply chain, including local wholesalers and market vendors.
Impact: How does it Work

Example: Walk us through a specific example(s) of how this solution makes a difference; include its primary activities.

Wakati increases the productivity without increasing the workload or investment, by simply reducing the losses. Those who benefit are not only smallholders farmers but the entire community. In the first stage, the product offers an increased income for the farmers and a better bargaining position towards the wholesalers because of the increased shelf life. In the next stage, farmers can invest and thus offers more and better quality of food on the market, contributing to food security. Finally, more and higher quality fruits and vegetables are provided to the local economy. The current situation is still focused on the primary needs of population, if food security is provided, the economy can diversify and a middle class will emerge.

Impact: What is the impact of the work to date? Also describe the projected future impact for the coming years.

In Kenya alone, Wakati will make a direct impact for over 4 million farmers who are active in horticulture. When the shelf life is prolonged, the quality of crops remain high and so does the price they receive. this increases the efficiency of the farm, resulting in less unnecessary labor and investment on crops that eventually never reach the costumer. This approach is completely in the line of Nobel Prices winner, Kofi Annan“Improving the productivity, profitability, and sustainability of smallholder farming is the main pathway out of poverty in using agriculture for development.” By flowing the strategy“Minimizing post-harvest losses of already produced food is more sustainable than increasing production to compensate for these losses.“ of Prof. Dr. A.Kader, the next investment of better practices or irrigation will be dubbel as productive and profitable.

Financial Sustainability Plan: What is this solution’s plan to ensure financial sustainability?

Wakati has a focus on scale. The product can be used by small holder farmers around the world. In order to keep production costs low as well as support the organization, Wakati has chosen key partners around the world that ensure access to the scale Wakati seeks. This, as well as alternative revenue streams such as advertisement on the product, will ensure financial sustainability.

Marketplace: Who else is addressing the problem outlined here? How does the proposed project differ from these approaches?

Industrial cooling is a superior product but requires high costs, unfordable to the end user, and needs connection to the electricity grid. The strategy many organizations follow is to use technologies like drip irrigation to increase yield. This attempt to compensate for losses that occur post-harvest only adds to the waste and lost investment. When Wakati and irrigation is used together, these products form a complementary system of increased yields with decreased losses, providing a solution that has the potential to tackle hunger and poverty together.

Founding Story

Arne Pauwels did a two month field research in Ethiopia with Yordanos Gebru, who was invited to The White House by Hilary Clinton for the AWEP 2011 program, emphasizing identifying opportunities to increase the productivity of smallholders. Hunter Tanous, worked with smallholder farmers in Kenya, offering technologies to increase yield. Arne and Hunter met through the Cleantech Challenge and had the same vision about the product Wakati. This simple piece of technology can save the life and misfortune of millions of farmers and their families. Michael Gykiere, who has a vision of spreading life changing information and campaign manager of Colon Cancer in Belgium, closely aligned with the Arne and Hunter’s vision and Wakati emerged.
About You
About You
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About Your Organization
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Organization Country

, VAN, Antwerpen

Country where this project is creating social impact

, BO, First pilot:savé, then Kenya and Ethiopia.

Has the organization received awards or honors? Please tell us about them

Dyson Award Belgium 2012
1st place

Portfolio Award Belgium 2012
1st place

Biomimicry Design Challenge International 2012
2nd place

Biomimicry business Challenge International 2012
Finalist invited Boston ( 20-07-2013)

CleanTech Challenge Belgium 2012
2nd Place

Dell Social Innovation Challenge International 2013

InnoPitch 2013 EU Parliament
Runner up (top 12)

Nutrients For All
Where do you ensure the availability of nutrients?

Nutrient-rich farming, Full nourishment foods.

If you had greater capacity, which additional sectors would you like your solution to target - either through expansion, partnership, or thought exchange?

Healthy environments, Nutrient-rich farming, Full nourishment foods, Human wellness and vitality.

How specifically would this added capacity help you improve the quality, efficiency, or sustainability of your existing product or service?

Currently in its startup phase it is not easy to get seed money, although we have impressive list of high influence supporters. We received academic testing from the KU Leuven, applied for a thorough validation, arranged test sites but for the moment the project has to turn down valuable opportunities, like sending Wakati with KU Leuven students to Ethiopia, because the individual prototypes are expensive (wholesale cost will be low) and have to be careful where we allocate or means to.

This seed-money is exactly what we need for this first year of R&D to begin sales as early as next year.