Project overview

Solar 4 Resilience (S4R) is a project started by the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP), the state of Odisha in India, and the private company Science for Society (S4S) Technologies. S4R aims to scale the use of solar-based technologies to build resilience and livelihoods of women and smallholder farmers. The project focuses on vegetables, millet, fish, seafood, and other commodities. S4R builds on a model developed by S4S Technologies, in which women receive low-interest loans from local banks to purchase innovative solar dryers which process perishable food that is usually thrown away. The empowered women become micro-entrepreneurs and get access to markets for processed food and training in finance and quality assurance.

 

The problem

Lack of energy access prevents smallholder farmers preserve and process food post harvest, losing up to 40 percent of the produce at farm level. Gender inequality, lack of land ownership, and job instability keep women and their families in poverty. While technology solutions exist locally, the ecosystem is fragmented without sufficient incentives to create sustainable markets.

Wasted tomatoes lying to rot
Wasted tomatoes lying to rot

 

The Solution

To respond to the challenge of lack of energy, Solar 4 Resilience (S4R) gives vulnerable women micro-entrepreneurs access to low-interest loans enabling them to purchase patented solar-drying technology that dries perishable food that would otherwise be thrown away. The technology and business model were developed by the private company Science 4 Society (S4S) Technologies.

S4R aims to scale the use of solar-based technologies for building resilience and livelihoods of smallholder women farmers in India through training the women in finance, quality assurance and facilitating access to markets for processed food.

By 2022, about 300,000 people in India earned US$ 12 million of extra income, thanks to the women micro-entrepreneurs who processed 60,000 tons of food for over 1,400 institutional customers. In turn, each woman micro-entrepreneur created new recurring income for up to US$ 1,200 per year.

300,000+
People in India earned US$12 million in extra income
60,000 tons
Of food processed by women micro-entrepreneurs for over 1,400 institutional customers
US$ 1,200
Of annual recurring income for each female micro-entrepreneur.
Meet Anita
Anita
“Previously I was doing only farming work. Now I work on solar drying. It gives financial support and we are happy to work on it. This extra money will help me pay school fees in June and for farm inputs. We are happy to work on it in the future also.”
Anita Bagri, from Village Khamkheda, Aurangabad.
The way forward

The first phase of the S4R project started in Odisha with plans to scale in the region in line with government policies.

In collaboration with the national government and private sector companies, the project envisions bringing solar-based technologies for building Resilience and Livelihoods in other geographies in the world. Please reach out to us.

 

Women drying food using the solar dryers
Women drying food using the solar dryers. Photo: WFP/Alex Lozán.

Meet the team

Pradnya Paithankar
Pradnya Paithankar
WFP India
Himanshu Bal
WFP India
Alexander Lozan
Alexander Lozan
WFP Innovation Accelerator
Nidhi Pant
Nidhi Pant
S4S Technologies
Nitesh Rikame
S4S Technologies
Ashwin Pawade
S4S Technologies
Last updated: 08/11/2023