Awana Foods Preserving the goodness

Involved alumni:

The challenge that the project addresses

We address food waste and food insecurity. Approximately 37% of all food produced in Sub-Saharan Africa goes to waste before it even reaches the plate. This results in huge revenue losses to farmers and loss of invested production inputs. On the flipside, 40.2 million people face extreme levels of food insecurity in Central and Southern Africa. Factors such as the fragmented transport network in developing countries and economic down turns, renders many smallholder farmer’s produce vulnerable to wastage and spoilage. Meanwhile, there are alarming rates of food shortages in urban areas and cities.

What is your project doing to respond to this challenge?

Awana Foods aims to bridge the gap between hungry bellies and wasted food through value addition. Much of the smallholder farmers’ produce is vulnerable to wastage and spoilage as given the short shelf-life of produce, they are often unable to sell off all products before they go bad. Meanwhile, there are alarming rates of food shortages in urban areas and cities. At Awana Foods, we source excess and b-grade produce from smallholder farmers, lower storage requirements through preservation methods such as drying and by transform fresh produce into value added products with prolonged shelf-life in efforts to make good nutrition accessible to people of all economic background. Through our preservation through drying, some of the produce that is commonly only bought in its fresh state, making it more prone to rotting; can now be bought in their dried in their dried form maintaining their nutritional value and not requiring any special storage requirements such as refrigeration (which is inaccessible to many people living below the poverty line). We transform the excess produce into concentrate syrups, dried cabbages, dried tomatoes, green pepper chutney, teas etc.

Describe the project's impact

Through the value created by Awana Foods, families that do not have access to facilities such as fridges can now buy dried vegetable (containing the same nutritional value as the fresh ones), and store it for longer (similar to what we do with rice) which leads to healthier diets. Smallholders farmer’s can now produce in abundance without fearing loss of revenue and without having to fight to beat fellows at getting to the market first in order to avoid losses. Employment is created for those that are willing and able to work and the buying power of locals is boosted.

We are currently busy building our workshop space which is at a very advanced stage. At present, much of the production takes place at home in a confined kitchen space. Owing to the fact that this space is not big enough to accommodate all our production equipment, some of our equipment is currently being kept in storage. This is hindering us from producing at maximum capacity. We have invested funds into the masonry construction and are now only left with roofing. We therefore intent on using the funds to procure roofing material for the workshop and to pay for roofing installation, which is currently outstanding on the project.

Links on the project:

Awana Foods carves niche in food preservation