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by Anonymous FMCG
Okra production requires hot climate, as such it originally comes from Africa. Okra production is about 8 million tons each year, Egypt produces around 1.2% of that and is considered seventh worldwide in Okra production. The plan is a seasonal one and usually starts in mid-May in Egypt, and continues till October.
Egypt plants and produces two types of Okra to be sold and exported, the red and green Okra, as such there are many packaging factories here. Okra needs to be sorted and chapped before being packaged, this process usually takes a long time, as here is no efficient way to sort and identify the infected okra quickly, most machinery are unable to identify some of the infected okras, due to the nature of the infection and the difference in okra sizes.
1- Small okra (length does not exceed 3.5 cm)
2- Medium okra (length does not exceed 5 cm)
3- Large okra (length does not exceed 7 cm)
1- Insect infestation or fungal
2- Processing defection (the existence of part of the capsule and/or part of the leg)
5- Over maturity (bloated)
The infection usually starts appearing, in small numbers, in June and July and increases in August, reaching its peak in September and October, appearing as follows:
1- The appearance of a very small or medium sized hole in the Okra, sometimes with a dark circle around it, but most times without it, making it hard to see.
2- The infection usually increases in okras that experience abnormal growth and don’t take the usual straight cone shape of most okra.
3- After doing a longitudinal section of an okra piece, we found that the worm usually remains inside it or remnants of the worm’s droppings.
The problem is available machinery for sorting okra right now are incapable of detecting these infections, due to the nature of okra of having black straight lines on its body, similar to the dark circles around the infection, that’ll lead to removing a huge portion of uninfected okra and causing the production numbers to drop. Manual sorting doesn’t work as most time the hole is too small to be seen by the naked eye or it’s in a place where it can’t be seen or it doesn’t have a black circle, which leads to the existence of infected okra in the final product which is contrary to the company’s object of producing infection free okra.
The challenge is to:
1- Either adjust the current machinery available, which is Best-Genius (Optical Sorter), to be able to detect the infection better, or to create a new machine that: it has high input and output capacity, is at least 90% accurate and easy to use.
2- Finding a practical and easy for way for the farmer to use and fight the infection before harvesting.
3- Finding other quick and effecient ways to find the infection during the packaging process, such as the floatation of the infected okra on the surface of water, or using natural dyes to highlet the infected and make them easy to recognize by the current machinery.
The winner will be awarded 70000 EGP, provided the solution meets these conditions:
1- It should be in the form of a written research containing the proof of concept (the papers and research to prove that you can build a prototype).
2- The prize will be given in parts, in accordance to milestones set by the solver and solution seeker.
3- Prototype funding is included in the prize itself, unless the solver presents a working prototype or is able to provide funding.
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