JUA Technologies, a Purdue University–affiliated startup company, was recently ranked sixth among the top 10 innovations for the All Africa Postharvest Technologies and Innovation Challenge.
The company, which was founded by husband-and-wife team Klein and Reiko Habuto Ileleji, is developing a solar-powered crop-drying device that could provide smallholders, small to medium agro-processors in developing countries, and small organic farms in the United States with a way to reduce postharvest losses and add value to crops using renewable energy.
“Aside from the health risks and harvest losses, farmers also don’t reap the opportunity to capture value from dried commodities, like dried fruits you find in cereals or sun-dried fruits and vegetables. Farmers have to sell their fresh crops in a highly glutted market,” says Klein Ileleji. “Our technology aims to address the challenges these farmers face and provide them with an affordable and energy-efficient way to dry their crops.”
Winners were announced at the first All Africa Postharvest Congress and Exhibition, which took place in March in Nairobi, Kenya. The challenge identified the top 10 innovations out of 112 entries aimed at reducing postharvest food losses.