Even though there is abundant food to provide for sufficient nutrient intake for everyone on earth, hunger and malnutrition remain pervasive. Undernourishment affects more than a billion people worldwide who face weakened immune response making disease more likely and more threatening. Undernourishment is highly prevalent in low-income settings and can lead to macro and micro-nutrient deficiencies. India is the country with the highest prevalence of undernourishment in the world. In fact, stunting or reduced growth rate is prevalent in more than 50% of children. Stunting is a chronic form of undernourishment and hinders both physical and cognitive development.
As a result of this situation the World Health Organization has developed a peanut butter-based health food formula that helps children quickly recover their health. The problem in India is that even though thousands of dollars have been allocated to this effort, rural communities are unable to process enough peanuts to produce the therapeutic food. Because the de-cortification and separation processes are done manually it takes rur
al communities months to have enough peanuts to produce the product. Considering this, Shreya Mishra and Neeraj Jain from the Indian Institute of Technology are developing a low-cost, manually operated peanut processing machine especially designed for rural communities. This machine enable
s de-cortication and de-husking of raw peanuts to deliver clean peanuts kernels.
The machine has a total production cost of $140. The use of this machine will significantly increase the production of peanuts necessary to produce the food formula and also reduce the time dedicated in the processes. Furthermore, this machine will also contribute to value creation in low-income communities because it will allow farmers to process raw peanuts themselves and sell them directly in the market.
Currently, this machine has only one competitor that is electrically operated which in low-resource communities could be an obstacle to implementation. Project Agrow is in negotiating with the government of India the distribution of the product to low-income communities. Project Agrow is a device designed to tackle one of the most important health problems in India. If successfully implemented, this project will benefit a large number of children that are currently undernourished.
Solange Madriz, Global Health Masters student at the University of California San Francisco