Each year, 2.8 trillion pounds of food goes to waste. In Sub-Saharan Africa, 95 percent of food waste is due to food loss, the phenomenon occurring when a gap between producers and markets exist. Lack of access to preservation technology and markets exacerbates this challenge. Agricycle houses a portfolio of brands using a vertically-integrated supply chain from tree to shelf to empower rural smallholder farmers and connect farmers to the US market.
In rural areas, the agriculture sector employs up to 70 percent of the population in Sub-Saharan Africa. Smallholder farmers lose up to 60 percent of their profits to the middlemen in supply chains. Agricycle cuts out the middleman and provides direct trade to smallholder farmers in East Africa, West Africa and the Caribbean. Women continue to be central to agriculture in these areas, and Agricycle ensures women represent at least 50 percent of each cooperative.
Direct trade practices are central to our business model. We buy products from cooperatives to transport and sell in the US, ensuring competitive prices go directly to farmers and removing prolonged waiting periods for products to be sold to consumers. In the communities we operate, the average daily wage is $2. We buy products for $5/kg and our dehydrators produce an average of 3 kilograms daily, giving cooperative members an average of $15 per day. Farmers not only receive income from their fresh fruit in local markets, but also additional income through selling dried fruit to Agricycle.
Production is seasonal; providing additional skills to farmers is central to our business model because it allows farmers to gain long-term career and life skills beyond harvest season. Partnering with local government and NGOs, we provide over 1,000 hours of training. From good agricultural practices to food safety standards to financial literacy, we empower women and smallholder farmers to gain additional skills. Additionally, training ensures high-quality, premium products to consumers in the US.
Designing preservation technology appropriate to the needs and resources of our farmers is imperative. Our passive solar food dehydrators use zero-electricity powered by the heat of the sun and airflow, allowing communities with limited access to electricity to dry fruits, vegetables, fish and insects. Combined, Agricycle aligns greatly with the Mohammed Bin Rashid Initiative for Global Prosperity.