In the spotlight Children

Farmer’s friend

INNOVATION: The key to success.

INNOVATION: The key to success.  

For Vaibhav Tikde, developing FooDer was a chance to give back to his farming community something of value.

Today, harnessing natural, renewable sources of energy is important. Realising the need to utilise alternate energy sources and help farmers Vaibhav Tikde started FooDer, a solar dryer, for domestic use.

In 2008, when Tikde was in his final year at Mumbai’s Institute of Chemical Technology he was struck with the idea to set up such an organisation. With the help of his friends, peers and professors, Science4Society (S4S) was launched.

How it works

Tikde’s organisation, S4S Technologies developed a solar conductor dryer that helps store farm produce without preservatives or artificial additives. As he comes from a family of farmers, Vaibhav knew the needs of the farming community.

He knew that one of the most pressing problems that farmers face is the difficulty of preserving agricultural produce. As a result, they are forced to sell their produce immediately, and at a low cost.

“I grew up seeing the pain of my parents and fellow farmers,” said Tikde. “It was heart-wrenching to see months of hard-work go in vain. So, after completing my studies, I decided to help them address this issue.”

While the solar conductor dryer was started to aid farmers, the S4S team has recently developed FooDer — a solar dryer, for domestic use.

FooDer came into existence when the S4S team got requests for a small version of solar dryer conductors used by farmers that people could use at home. It is used to dehydrate fruits and vegetables in a controlled environment and can also be used for making pet food, dried fish, candied fruits and pot-pourri too. As FooDer consumes lesser energy than regular dryers and refrigeration devices, it plays an instrumental role in reducing carbon footprint.

Tikde explains how people perceive dehydrated foods as unhealthy and laden with fats and preservatives. With FooDer families get a chance to make their own dehydrated foods. “Yes, it is a challenge,” he admits. “However, studies show that proper dehydration can retain 85-95% nutritional value in foods. We try our best to spread the message, especially in our consumer products,” he adds.

The eight-member S4S Technologies team under Tikde, is making its presence felt — they have won the team many accolades, including the Dell Social Innovation Challenge. Ask Tikde about his vision for the organisation and he says, “Feeding nine billion people by 2050!”

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Printable version | Feb 25, 2020 6:37:08 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/children/farmers-friend/article17578971.ece

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