Due to changing climate patterns, lack of irrigation, and extensive historical use of fertilizers and pesticides, farm yields (and quality) have declined in many parts of India. Primary farmer markets (mandis) generally accept only Grade A produce at market prices, resulting in farmers being forced to sell Grade B produce at much reduced prices, thereby enduring losses in income.
S4S’s solution is built upon decentralized drying of Grade B food produce using its patented solar dehydration technology. S4S procures Grade B produce directly from farmers and provides women farmers with their patented drying equipment and raw produce at their homes. The women farmers dry out the raw produce and are compensated for their labor. S4S sells the final dried products to large B2B retailers such as Marico and Nestle, as well as small restaurants and catering businesses.
Through S4S’ intervention, women farmers receive 18% increase in annual incomes, and achieve an increased independence within their families. S4S has so far worked with 200 smallholder and marginal women farmers (with family landholdings less than 2 acres) across 2 states in India: Maharashtra and Odisha.