A Plant-Based Coating Helps Small Farmers Stop Crop Rot

December 15, 2020

Once small­hold­er farm­ers in the Kenyan vil­lage of Masii have picked their crops, all they can do is wait until a buy­er trucks through. The sys­tem works fair­ly well for beans and corn, but mangoes—the area’s oth­er main crop—spoil more quick­ly. If the trad­er is late, they rot.

We lose mar­ket because the man­goes go spot­ty,” says Oba­di­ah Kisain­gu, chair of the Masii Hor­ti­cul­tur­al Farm­ers’ Coop­er­a­tive Soci­ety. He esti­mates 40% of the co-op’s man­go crop is lost to spoilage. But a sim­ple coat­ing could change that. A Cal­i­for­nia com­pa­ny has cre­at­ed a for­mu­la­tion that doubles—or for some foods even triples—the shelf life of fresh pro­duce, enabling farm­ers like Kisain­gu to access far-off, larg­er markets.


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