In a world where sustainability is not just a buzzword, but a quality standard, innovators like Binti Said Mwanahamisi are stepping up to tackle real issues in the food industry.
Binti Said’s mission to protect Kenyans from harmful pesticides in food
#FeatureByAiducation. Binti's project is all about strengthening local food systems. By offering farmers a natural alternative to chemical pesticides, it helps crops grow healthier and stronger.
Let's dive into the story of Binti, one of the remarkable winners of the Aiducation's Sustainable Food System Award, and her mission to revolutionise farming through an innovative biopesticide project.
Binti's project is all about creating a biopesticide using Trichoderma Asperellum, a fungus, to help farmers protect their crops.
It's a natural alternative to chemical pesticides and comes in both wettable powder and liquid forms.
Binti Said’s project has 2 main goals
Binti wants to encourage farming practices that are sustainable, meaning they're good for the environment and provide healthy yields.
She also aims to reduce the use of chemical pesticides and protect consumers from pesticide residual that makes their way to many households in Kenya.
So, what got Binti started on this journey? It was her firsthand experience seeing how small-scale farmers struggle with pests and diseases.
She also noticed the harm that chemical pesticides can cause to the soil and the health of farmers. That's what ignited her passion for finding a better way.
While Binti hasn't faced a lot of scepticism, some farmers have doubts about natural biocontrol agents. Her plan to address this is simple, to conduct solid trials and share the positive results to build trust in her products.
Growth opportunity at Aiducation's Summer School program
Aiducation's Summer School program played a big role in shaping Binti's project. It exposed her to the real challenges that farmers face, and that experience sparked her innovative thinking. It was like a turning point for her project.
One of the big takeaways was that she didn't need to reinvent the wheel to be innovative. Instead, she learned to find sustainable and impactful solutions within her own community.
Binti's project is all about strengthening local food systems. By offering farmers a natural alternative to chemical pesticides, it helps crops grow healthier and stronger.
This, in turn, reduces the need for harmful chemicals and ensures a more sustainable local food supply.
“Young entrepreneurs have a pivotal role in advancing sustainable food production. Through innovation, adaptability, and a fresh perspective, we can challenge conventional practices and drive the adoption of more environmentally friendly and socially responsible approaches to agriculture.”
How Trichoderma Asperellum acts as a biocontrol agent
What sets Binti's project apart is the use of Trichoderma Asperellum.
Trichoderma is a group of fungi that are well-known for their important roles in agriculture, industry, and biotechnology.
They are commonly found in soil and are considered beneficial microorganisms due to their ability to form symbiotic relationships with plants and to act as biocontrol agents against various plant pathogens.
This biocontrol agent not only protects crops but also helps them grow. It's eco-friendly and cost-effective, fitting perfectly with the principles of sustainable food systems.
“The project's foundation is on Trichoderma Asperellum, a naturally occurring organism, that provides a strong basis for scalability and replicability. Its adaptability to diverse climates and crops makes it viable for implementation in various regions. By establishing robust production and distribution networks, I aim to seamlessly replicate our model in different communities, contributing to sustainable agriculture on a broader scale.”
Looking ahead, Binti sees her project evolving over the next 5-10 years. She plans to refine production processes, expand the product line to cover different crops and regions, and even go global, offering her solution to farmers around the world.
Start small, learn and be open
For those inspired to make a positive impact in sustainable food, Binti's advice is clear “Start small, learn from your experiences, and be open to feedback. Surround yourself with mentors and collaborators who share your vision, and stay passionate and persistent.”
As one of the winners of Aiducation’s Sustainable Food System Award, she will be part of the Aiducation Start-Up Fund 1,000 Young Entrepreneurs, this means she will also receive mentoring and coaching within the next months.
The Start-Up Fund empowers young entrepreneurs by providing them with funding for their start-ups.
While the focus of Aiducation International is on providing scholarships to students in developing countries, the Start-Up Fund is a way for the organization to support young entrepreneurs in those same countries.
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