Trofi

Your crops, our responsibility

Trofi is a for-profit social company that provides & installs equipment that will protect crops from floods & droughts at no initial cost

Use Case

Trofi would help farmers protect their crops from climatic irregularities by the means of a set-up consisting of an automatic cover powered by solar panels would provide shade from excessive rainfall and sunlight and a central reservoir where the rainwater deflected would be collected. The provision & installation of the protective equipment would be free of cost to the farmers who agree to sell their crops directly to Trofi which we would then re-sell to make profits. The farmers would benefit as: 1. They now have more crops to sell as they are protected from draughts and floods 2. Middlemen are effectively removed and they are now assured of fair profits by Trofi

Potential

Trofi has the capacity to not just reduce crop loss but also to encourage more farmers to actively cultivate, thereby increasing the overall produce from a root level. As a result of no initial cost associated with the set-up of the protective system, the guarantee of a better harvest as well as the assurance of fair profits for the crops through the elimination of middle men, there would be a steady increase in not just the total produce but also the number of farmers opting for our services instead of exiting the agricultural sector. Also, with Trofi acting as the mediator between the farmers and the consumers, we would be able to guarantee high-quality food through quality regulation, while effectively controlling the prices of these agricultural products for consumers.

Business Case

Trofi plans to initially start with the provision of its services to small sets of farmers, in phases, and then expand to a larger percentage of the farmers. Trofi would initially require seed funding, during its start-up stage, so as to set-up the initial equipment for the first set of farmers. Soon after, by acting as an intermediary between the farmers and the consumers, Trofi should not only be able to cover the initial investment but also the cost of the equipment to be provided for the next set of farmers. Through this iterative expansion process, enough surplus cash should be generated that would aid in Trofi’s expansion.

Objectives:

  1. To enable all farmers to save their crops from ruin by draughts and floods and thereby maximise produce
  2. Eliminate middlemen from the supply chain of the food system to reduce prices and increase food sovereignty
  3. Partnering with local Governments to expand Trofi's reach

Team Mavericks

Bangalore, India

Our Team

Trofi’s Rainout Shelter Technology! / Published January 10, 2016 by Sam Sundar D

Trofi’s Rainout Shelter Technology!

“Frame and curtain” version of a lightweight rainout shelter powered by solar panels. Rain sensors automatically control rolling of the covers along the built pole-structure (can be done manually in case of rain forecasts or insufficient solar power). Paths will be dug around the structure in order to guide rainwater to a reservoir.

Disclaimer: Image is for illustration only.

Rainout Shelter technology – The Options! / Published January 10, 2016 by Sam Sundar D

Rainout Shelter technology – The Options!


Rainout shelters are designed to protect a certain area of land against receiving precipitations so that an experimentally controlled drought stress can be imposed on that area. Many types of rainout shelters were designed and used, with better or lesser results.

There are two main designs:

(1) static and
(2) movable.

Within the moveable design there are automatic/motorized and manual versions. The automatic version is signaled to move over the protected plot by a rain sensor and an electric drive system. The manual version is moved either by manually switching the drive on ("manually driven") or by manually pushing it ("manually pushed") over the protected plot. The 'manually pushed' must by lightweight and hence it is cheaper and can cover a limited land area.

The manual version is moved from its parking spot onto the protected plot whenever a rain is expected and not when the rain begins. It is moved into the parking space whenever rain is expected to cease completely. Good weather forecasting service is therefore important. If forecasting is unreliable, better have the shelter over the protected plot more time than expected. Therefore, the shelter construction must allow sufficient light inside as well as some ventilation.

The area around the shelter should be managed in consideration of surface runoff and the drainage and diversion of rainfall flowing off the shelter especially under storm conditions. Hence ditches and other means of protection should be properly placed around the installation, with respect to topography. Consideration should be given also to the fact that horizontal flow of water in a saturated soil can be appreciable.

SOURCES:

http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2Fs00442-002-1024-3

http://journals.cambridge.org/action/displayAbstract?fromPage=online&aid=1616668

http://www.plantstress.com/methods/rainout/rainouts.htm

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fKkNb0CN0xs

Research Paper identifies climate and middlemen as deterrents to food security!


We recommend reading this research paper published on the Journal of Agriculture and Social Research (JASR).

The abstract is as below-

“This paper appraised the roles of middlemen in the distribution of agricultural products and the inherent implications to food security. The results showed that climate and weather are known limiting factors of production in agriculture. Also, middlemen intervention raise price for consumers. The result showed that farmers encounter high production costs in their efforts to boost production but hardly get fair pricing of their products from the middlemen, the bulk farm gate buyers. The real profit goes to the middlemen who buy up the farm products at almost give away prices and sell at outrageous prices to the consumers. This attitude of middle men have discouraged genuine investors getting into agriculture because of the marginal profit associated with it as the middle men cart away the bulk of the profits. Thus, the activities of middlemen seem to be a threat to food security.”

To read the entire research paper visit -

http://www.ajol.info/index.php/jasr/article/view/67575

Case Study: The End of Hunger in Belo Horizonte, Brazil / Published January 10, 2016 by Sam Sundar D

Case Study: The End of Hunger in Belo Horizonte, Brazil

Belo Horizonte, the third most populous metropolitan city in Brazil, is one of the most progressive actors in poverty reduction. Home to nearly 2.5 million, Belo Horizonte practices the Right to Food that perceives food as a human right rather than a commodity. Poverty rates have dropped dramatically in Belo Horizonte since policy makers enacted this act in 1993.

The Right to Food guarantees healthy and accessible food to all citizens in Belo Horizonte. Policy makers use systematic approach to effectively execute this law by implementing the following techniques:

1. Integrating logistics and supply chains of the food system
2. Tying local producers to consumers to reduce prices and increase food sovereignty
3. Regulating markets on produce that guarantees the right to healthy, high-quality food

Poverty has reduced drastically in Belo Horizonte, Brazil since the Right to Food law passed in 1993. Benefits include:

1. Reduction of the child mortality rate by 60 percent
2. Reduction of child undernourishment under the age of 5 by 75 percent
3. Fruit and vegetable intake increase by 25 percent

The Right to Food law is an award winning policy and serves as an inspirational example of how food redistribution saves lives. UNESCO named the Right to Food law, Best-Practice in 2003. The Right to Food law also received the Future Policy Award by the World Future Council in 2009.

Insights:

We at Trofi believe that we need to tackle the issue of Hunger from a bottom-to-top approach. By eliminating middlemen in agriculture we can isolate the detrimental effects of competition in the market and eradicate them, thereby emphasizing the freedom in free markets. Eliminating middlemen would ensure more profits for the farmers, guarantee high-quality food (easier regulation) and bring down prices for the consumers.

Sources:

http://www.unesco.org/most/southa10.htm

http://borgenproject.org/end-hunger-belo-horizonte-brazil/

Why are Indian farmers poor? / Published January 10, 2016 by Shreyaa Sreenivasa

Why are Indian farmers poor?


In a country such as India, just 8% of the population is responsible for growing crops to feed the entire nation. With figures such as these, the profits made by the farmers should be quite large. However this is not the case as according to a recent study, 36.2% of the farmers in India fall in Below Poverty Line category (expenditure below Rs. 32 in a month for rural areas).

This would lead us to the question of where these profits go.

In India, farmers incur huge production costs in order to meet the demand for crops. But in order to distribute the crops to the population, there are middlemen, who purchase from the farmers and sell to the consumers. This seems to be pretty normal considering that most markets function in the same manner. However, a majority of the farmers are uneducated or have prior debts, which force them to sell their crops to the middlemen at extremely low rates. As a result of this, they end up receiving poor prices for their crops and hence hardly make any profits.

The middlemen purchase the food products for throw away prices but sell the same at high prices to the consumers. As a result, the cost of the farm product when it reaches consumers increases.

The high production costs as well as the low selling prices not only affects the profits being made by the farmers, causing a majority of them to fall in the BPL (Below Poverty Line) category, but also discourages people from entering the agricultural sector.

It can be concluded that in the Indian agricultural industry, the real profits are made by the middlemen. Elimination of the middlemen and connecting the farmers to the consumers, directly or through a single agency, would greatly benefit both the farmers and the consumers.

Sources:

http://blogs.wsj.com/indiarealtime/2014/02/26/farmers-struggle-to-escape-middlemen/

http://www.moneylife.in/article/middlemen-reap-benefits-of-rising-food-prices-not-farmers/17852.html

Our Mission

Food scarcity is an issue too close to home –even a way of life for many Indians. Two contributing factors for this crisis are the extreme variance in the amount of rainfall and an appalling dearth of agro-technology. Agriculture in India is heavily dependent on the climate: a favourable monsoon is pivotal in securing water for irrigation. The failure/surplus of the monsoons results in below-average crop yields. On average, one-third of the crops grown in India are lost to floods and draughts. There is no protective net for the farmer in such a case and there are alarmingly frequent occurrences of farmer suicides. Government schemes for insuring crops have all failed and the compensation provided by the Government seldom reaches those affected. Farmers whose crops were destroyed are less likely to be able to contribute to India’s agriculture the subsequent year and this cascading effect is detrimental. Our mission is to provide farmers an easy way to ensure that neither floods nor draughts affect their crops. Moreover, we would later expand our line of services to combat other issues that plague farmers; for example, post harvesting losses. Trofi would also eliminate middlemen which would ensure more profits for the farmers, guarantee high-quality food (easier regulation) and bring down prices for the consumers.

Our Background

We are engineers and engineers solve problems. Growing up in India with conspicuous economic disparity it is easy to become desensitized to sufferings of the unfortunate. A few members of our team were brought up in family farms and have experienced firsthand the difficulties faced by farmers in India. At University, we began to wonder if we can do something to change the way things are. There began our journey of attempting to solve, arguably the most important problem in India – hunger. Our first step was to find out why food scarcity occurs. Armed with our research on the why, we proceeded to build a solution to combat hunger in India. We feel that the TFF challenge would be a perfect platform to refine and subsequently implement it (fingers crossed!). We hope that we can give back to society through our unique venture - a seed, which we hope will one day grow so tall and mighty that its fruits would be sufficient to feed the world.

Trofi’s Rainout Shelter Technology! / Published January 10, 2016 by Sam Sundar D

Trofi’s Rainout Shelter Technology!

“Frame and curtain” version of a lightweight rainout shelter powered by solar panels. Rain sensors automatically control rolling of the covers along the built pole-structure (can be done manually in case of rain forecasts or insufficient solar power). Paths will be dug around the structure in order to guide rainwater to a reservoir.

Disclaimer: Image is for illustration only.

Rainout Shelter technology – The Options! / Published January 10, 2016 by Sam Sundar D

Rainout Shelter technology – The Options!


Rainout shelters are designed to protect a certain area of land against receiving precipitations so that an experimentally controlled drought stress can be imposed on that area. Many types of rainout shelters were designed and used, with better or lesser results.

There are two main designs:

(1) static and
(2) movable.

Within the moveable design there are automatic/motorized and manual versions. The automatic version is signaled to move over the protected plot by a rain sensor and an electric drive system. The manual version is moved either by manually switching the drive on ("manually driven") or by manually pushing it ("manually pushed") over the protected plot. The 'manually pushed' must by lightweight and hence it is cheaper and can cover a limited land area.

The manual version is moved from its parking spot onto the protected plot whenever a rain is expected and not when the rain begins. It is moved into the parking space whenever rain is expected to cease completely. Good weather forecasting service is therefore important. If forecasting is unreliable, better have the shelter over the protected plot more time than expected. Therefore, the shelter construction must allow sufficient light inside as well as some ventilation.

The area around the shelter should be managed in consideration of surface runoff and the drainage and diversion of rainfall flowing off the shelter especially under storm conditions. Hence ditches and other means of protection should be properly placed around the installation, with respect to topography. Consideration should be given also to the fact that horizontal flow of water in a saturated soil can be appreciable.

SOURCES:

http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2Fs00442-002-1024-3

http://journals.cambridge.org/action/displayAbstract?fromPage=online&aid=1616668

http://www.plantstress.com/methods/rainout/rainouts.htm

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fKkNb0CN0xs

Research Paper identifies climate and middlemen as deterrents to food security!


We recommend reading this research paper published on the Journal of Agriculture and Social Research (JASR).

The abstract is as below-

“This paper appraised the roles of middlemen in the distribution of agricultural products and the inherent implications to food security. The results showed that climate and weather are known limiting factors of production in agriculture. Also, middlemen intervention raise price for consumers. The result showed that farmers encounter high production costs in their efforts to boost production but hardly get fair pricing of their products from the middlemen, the bulk farm gate buyers. The real profit goes to the middlemen who buy up the farm products at almost give away prices and sell at outrageous prices to the consumers. This attitude of middle men have discouraged genuine investors getting into agriculture because of the marginal profit associated with it as the middle men cart away the bulk of the profits. Thus, the activities of middlemen seem to be a threat to food security.”

To read the entire research paper visit -

http://www.ajol.info/index.php/jasr/article/view/67575

Case Study: The End of Hunger in Belo Horizonte, Brazil / Published January 10, 2016 by Sam Sundar D

Case Study: The End of Hunger in Belo Horizonte, Brazil

Belo Horizonte, the third most populous metropolitan city in Brazil, is one of the most progressive actors in poverty reduction. Home to nearly 2.5 million, Belo Horizonte practices the Right to Food that perceives food as a human right rather than a commodity. Poverty rates have dropped dramatically in Belo Horizonte since policy makers enacted this act in 1993.

The Right to Food guarantees healthy and accessible food to all citizens in Belo Horizonte. Policy makers use systematic approach to effectively execute this law by implementing the following techniques:

1. Integrating logistics and supply chains of the food system
2. Tying local producers to consumers to reduce prices and increase food sovereignty
3. Regulating markets on produce that guarantees the right to healthy, high-quality food

Poverty has reduced drastically in Belo Horizonte, Brazil since the Right to Food law passed in 1993. Benefits include:

1. Reduction of the child mortality rate by 60 percent
2. Reduction of child undernourishment under the age of 5 by 75 percent
3. Fruit and vegetable intake increase by 25 percent

The Right to Food law is an award winning policy and serves as an inspirational example of how food redistribution saves lives. UNESCO named the Right to Food law, Best-Practice in 2003. The Right to Food law also received the Future Policy Award by the World Future Council in 2009.

Insights:

We at Trofi believe that we need to tackle the issue of Hunger from a bottom-to-top approach. By eliminating middlemen in agriculture we can isolate the detrimental effects of competition in the market and eradicate them, thereby emphasizing the freedom in free markets. Eliminating middlemen would ensure more profits for the farmers, guarantee high-quality food (easier regulation) and bring down prices for the consumers.

Sources:

http://www.unesco.org/most/southa10.htm

http://borgenproject.org/end-hunger-belo-horizonte-brazil/

Why are Indian farmers poor? / Published January 10, 2016 by Shreyaa Sreenivasa

Why are Indian farmers poor?


In a country such as India, just 8% of the population is responsible for growing crops to feed the entire nation. With figures such as these, the profits made by the farmers should be quite large. However this is not the case as according to a recent study, 36.2% of the farmers in India fall in Below Poverty Line category (expenditure below Rs. 32 in a month for rural areas).

This would lead us to the question of where these profits go.

In India, farmers incur huge production costs in order to meet the demand for crops. But in order to distribute the crops to the population, there are middlemen, who purchase from the farmers and sell to the consumers. This seems to be pretty normal considering that most markets function in the same manner. However, a majority of the farmers are uneducated or have prior debts, which force them to sell their crops to the middlemen at extremely low rates. As a result of this, they end up receiving poor prices for their crops and hence hardly make any profits.

The middlemen purchase the food products for throw away prices but sell the same at high prices to the consumers. As a result, the cost of the farm product when it reaches consumers increases.

The high production costs as well as the low selling prices not only affects the profits being made by the farmers, causing a majority of them to fall in the BPL (Below Poverty Line) category, but also discourages people from entering the agricultural sector.

It can be concluded that in the Indian agricultural industry, the real profits are made by the middlemen. Elimination of the middlemen and connecting the farmers to the consumers, directly or through a single agency, would greatly benefit both the farmers and the consumers.

Sources:

http://blogs.wsj.com/indiarealtime/2014/02/26/farmers-struggle-to-escape-middlemen/

http://www.moneylife.in/article/middlemen-reap-benefits-of-rising-food-prices-not-farmers/17852.html

Our Team

Our Mission

Food scarcity is an issue too close to home –even a way of life for many Indians. Two contributing factors for this crisis are the extreme variance in ...Read More

Our Background

We are engineers and engineers solve problems. Growing up in India with conspicuous economic disparity it is easy to become desensitized to sufferings of the unfortunate. A few ...Read More

The information contained here represents student project ideas developed as the result of brainstorming activities during Round 1 of the TFF Challenge. It does not represent any final business plans or commercial products.