Electricity-free food production for the developing world

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Food, Africa

A production system that requires no electricity, generator or
running water has been created for food applications in the
developing world.

The innovative system has been developed by small Canadian-based non-profit organisation, Malnutrition Matters, which focuses on food technology applications in developing countries.

The charity believes that the VitaGoat system demonstrates how simple innovations in food production can make a significant difference.

This equipment requires no electricity, generator or running water, which is critical due to the expensive, unavailable or unreliable electrical supply in much of the developing world.

Instead, it uses pedal power for grinding and mashing, and an innovative, energy-efficient steam boiler and cooking section.

The equipment consists of four main components: a cycle-grinder, which is adjustable for various foods, and operator size and strength; anenergy-efficient steam-boiler which burns almost any local fuel such aswood, gas, dung chips, or other biomass; a pressure cooker which gets steam injected from the boiler; and a filter press for separation of soymilk or juices.

A food preservation-vessel can also be added.

The system provides dry or uncooked products such as flour, meal, and peanut butter, and cooked products such as soymilk, fruit and vegetable purees, sauces and juices.

Malnutrition Matters​ says that the daily output can serve 500 to 1,000 people, while improving food security and health, and creating additional local employment and micro-enterprise development.

With its main focus on soymilk and derivative soyfoods production, this project achieved critical support recently with a corporate sponsorship from Alpro, Europe's leading soyfoods producer.

The first three VitaGoat beta systems were installed in Africa recently, in a partnership with the US-based humanitarian organisation Africare.

These pilot projects are in Guinea, Chad and Mozambique. Their success has created further demand for the technology, which is also intended for tech transfers to two or more African fabricators.

The first technology transfer has been started with a fabricator in Benin, West Africa. This will allow the local fabrication of the systems for approximately $2,000, or less than half of the current cost to build them in North America.

This will also create a local training and parts centre in West Africa. Meanwhile a limited numbers of systems will still be built in Canada to supply priority pilot projects and as models for tech transfers.

The priority now for Malnutrition Matters is finding other sponsors andpartners, commercial or NGO, to initiate technology transfers to otherregions in the developing world.

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