Electricity-Free Food Production for the Developing World

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 organization, 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; an energy-efficient steam-boiler which burns almost any local fuel such as wood, 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.

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 and partners, commercial or NGO, to initiate technology transfers to other regions in the developing world.

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