BASE and Empa awarded by data.org challenge

Today, data.org announced BASE, together with Empa, as awardee of its Inclusive Growth and Recovery Challenge (the Challenge).

Launched in partnership with the Rockefeller Foundation and the Mastercard Center for Inclusive Growth, the Challenge aims to tackle society’s greatest challenges and help people and communities thrive by harnessing the power of data science. BASE and Empa will split $10 million in grants with the seven other successful awardees, and will use the grant money to further develop our winning project – an open data-science driven tool that enables smallholder farmers in India to access data and sustainable cooling facilities for their produce, minimising food waste and increasing the farmers’ revenue. 

India is one of the world’s largest food producers, yet 25 percent to 35 percent of the produced food is wasted due to a lack of proper refrigeration and other supply chain bottlenecks. Only 6 percent of the food produced in India currently moves through the cold chain, compared to about 60 percent in developed countries.  Currently, there are barriers that prevent farmers from accessing sustainable cooling solutions to save food. These include high upfront investments costs for equipment; limited access to finance; uncertainty related to new technologies; limited technical know-how of cooling systems and hygrothermal sensor data; limited expertise in postharvest storage practices; and in some cases limited access to electricity. 

To solve this challenge, BASE and Empa will create an open access, data- science-based mobile application: Your Virtual Cold-Chain Assistant, to enable smallholders access sustainable cooling facilities and pre and post harvest expertise and market intelligence; made inclusive and accessible through an innovative servitisation business model. The application will include various data inputs including weather and climate data, geographical location data, fresh-produce yields, hygrothermal cold-storage sensor data, forecasted remaining shelf life of produce and real-time market prices. This will enable smallholders to make decisions on cooling based on lifecycle benefits, rather than upfront costs; have access to easy to use information so that they can make optimal decisions on produce and farm management.

The project aims to break the negative cycle of poverty for smallholder farmers in India – while also improving food security, reducing food loss, minimising the impact of food production on the global climate, and increasing smallholder incomes by up to 30 percent per year.

Learn more about the Inclusive Growth and Recovery Challenge and the other awardees at: data.org/challenge-awardees

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