Reducing Post-Harvest Loss With PYXERA Global

  • Reducing Post-Harvest Loss in The Tomato Value Chain in Nigeria
    Educational Toolkit, Aggregation Center Game and a Festival Strategy for Improved Tomato Handling.
    PYXERA Global and The Rockefeller Foundation.

    Nigeria is the second largest producer of tomatoes in Africa, yet suffers from up to 75% of Post Harvest Loss (PHL). The project challenge is to research and develop innovative technology solution concepts and/or product adaptation concepts for improved handling tomatoes in Nigeria with the objective of minimizing loss and spoilage along the tomato value chain, particularly in transit. 

    The team consisted of a professor, an associate director and 10 students from diverse cultures, majors and backgrounds. Our diversity of experience and knowledge brought a multifaceted approach to this project and its mission.

    With the other team members, I researched and reviewed case studies, I participated in the analyses of the data and brainstorming. In the second part of the project, I led the concept development of the educational toolkit, one of the three solutions in which we reconfigured an existing toolkit and iterated it according to the context of the project.

    The project happened in Winter 2017 for 10 weeks. The team hosted a midterm presentation and a final one with representatives of PYXERA Global including the CEO.
  • Primary research in Nigeria and secondary research.
    Our team tackled the issue of post-harvest loss using Human-Centered Design, an approach put together and utilized by designers to solve seemingly unsolvable, complex issues. We embarked on a ten-week journey of secondary and primary research, analysis and ideation. For the secondary research we studied the report of two SCAD students who went to Nigeria, interviewed the farmers and observed the process of tomato in transit; we studied the stakeholders map of tomato value chain that was created by the two students; we examined the GKI Collaboration Colloquium Report, the Waste and Spoilage Innovators Storybook, and 26 case studies from the Rockefeller Foundation. For the primary research, we interviewed members of PYXERA Global who work with the farmers in Nigeria. After gathering data points, we analyzed the data by plotting it on the tomato value chain to see if there were any new actors, resources, or facts that would further inform our understanding. We studied the tomato raffia basket chain as well as alternative materials to be used for tomato handling. We then affinitized the data, gathered insights, and ideated solutions around what the research dictated.
  • Basket value chain, tomato value chain, stakeholders.
    Our design principles focused on CARE, Create, Aware, Relationship, and Enhance. We wish to infuse CARE into the current situation in Nigeria. First, we must Create a system/infrastructure that can support and transport the tomato in a safe manner. Second, we must foster Awareness by providing education and training for better practice. Next, we must cultivate Relationships building on the community and encourage sharing of resources. Lastly, we must Enhance economic stability. By leveling off the fluctuations in the market due to glut and scarcity we can create both economic and food stability.
  • Our midterm presentation with PYXERA Global. The team presented 19 concepts and gathered feedback.
    We developed three tools that addressed CARE in different ways. Building an ‘Aggregation Center Game’ targets the necessity of creating a system to handle tomatoes safely as it serves as a hub for new economic opportunities, reducing post-harvest loss and creating a new source of income for the community. ‘Connect and Grow’ addresses post-harvest loss by teaching women different ways of processing tomatoes and how to brand and market them to become a viable business. This would provide an empowering product that can quickly turn the loss into gain, the women processors will bring food and financial stability to the value chain as well as to their community. ‘Tomato Festival’ is a comprehensive strategy to guide, cultivate connectivity, and celebrate the tomato through a festival. This is a diffusion tool that would serve as motivation for the community, and all the stakeholders in the tomato value chain to learn how to infuse CARE in the system to reduce post-harvest loss.
  • Our three solutions. For more information, kindly, request our process book.
    PYXERA Global acknowledged the efficacy of the outcome, so I was selected with another colleague to go to Nigeria and implement the Aggregation Center Game and the Connect and Grow Toolkit. For personal circumstances, I couldn’t accept the offer but my colleague, Pilar Moreno Azcárate went and tested the solutions with the farmers. The impact was very positive and the solutions were further enhanced and iterated according to the farmers’ feedback in Nigeria. The project is currently being considered for the 2018 Fast Company World Changing Ideas award.
  • Our final presentation with PYXERA Global representatives and members in Nigeria.
  • Our colleague testing the aggregation center game in Nigeria.
  • The process book and more details about this project are available upon request.