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by مؤسسة محمد النادي الخيرية
If you are an agriculture engineer or a food industries specialist, solve this challenges by proposing an innovative and economic way for preserving Aswan Dates! Get a chance to win 15,000 EGP provided by the Academy of Scientific Research and Technology to implement the proposed solution in collaboration with Al-Nady Foundation in Aswan.
Aswan is known for its palm trees which produce more than 27 various types of dates, including “Escoty”, “Mercabi”, and “Pertmod”, and it is considered the second largest producer of dates after Al-Wadi Al-Gadid. Despite the increase in dates production, Aswan experience many difficulties when it comes to drying and storing the dates, where primitive and outdated methods are used. This causes several problems in the later stages of marketing and selling these dates that reached 5 million Egyptian Pounds one year.
Large amounts of the dates produced in Aswan expire before the lapse of the year and become inadequate for consumption in the sales season. This is because of the poor preservation methods and unhealthy storage conditions, given the seasonality of the product.
Drying the dates is one method of preserving it, where the process starts by exposing the dates to the sunlight by spreading them on the sand, without taking any hygienic measures. The dates are then packed in sacks and stored in small compartments, where they are sterilized through dangerous and unhealthy methods, involving the use of Propane or Butane gas according to the statement of one of the NGOs working with the dates producers. Despite the drawbacks of this dangerous method, it is still inefficient in preserving the dates which get infected after a short time and go bad.
The challenge is to find alternative way(s) to preserving and storing Aswan dates to extend its shelf-life beyond one year and thus make it available in the markets all year round increasing its competitive advantage. The solution should fulfill the following requirements:
Using healthy and ecofriendly methods;
Capitalizing on Aswan climate conditions;
Including a training and awareness program for the farmers on the proposed solution;
Taking into consideration food safety standards.
Reward & Conditions:
A reward of 15,000 EGP provided by the Academy of Scientific Research and Technology will be provided to the best solution to implement it in collaboration with Al-Nady Foundation, in addition to, marketing services for the solution, according to the following conditions:
The solution should include a clear plan of action including implementation stages, timeline, required tools/materials, estimated budget, and technical support required (if applicable).
The reward will be given in installments, in accordance to milestones set by the innovator(s) according to their plan of action.
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