preserve today to feed tomorrow

A thermo dehydrator for drying vegetable and fruits power by harvest bio-waste to prolong self-life of the produce from 2 days to 2 year.

Use Case

Agriculture is the main source of livelihood in Uganda and across Africa yet 45% of harvested produced (mainly fruits and vegetables) are lost before consumption, according to FAO (2013). The post-harvest losses are due to poor handling and preservation means. The main open sun drying method for preservation used by 90% of the farmers is limited to drying high sugar and acid content fruits and not recommended for drying vegetables. This method and also solar dryers in the market takes a long time, 3-8 days to dehydrate, unhygienic and highly depended on the weather which is very unpredictable in todays climate change. Electric powered dehydrator is another alternative however it is very expensive ($150-$300) and over 85% of Uganda’s small scale farmers’ don’t have access to electricity.


Sparky shall reduce post-harvest losses by increasing shelf-life of harvested fruits and vegetables from 3 days to 1 year through thermo dehydration preservation methods powered by harvest wastes (stems, branches and leaves) as bio fuel. The innovation offers the value of reliability as it dehydrates 5 times faster than solar dryers and 10 times faster than open sun drying method, with minimal bio fuel while maintaining all the nutrients. It is convenient to use as it portable and affordable. With sparky, a farmer can dry up to 100kg of produce within 5 hours with only 2kg of bio fuel (with zero CO2 emission) irrespective of weather. This will mean more income available for the farmers (reduce poverty) and more food available consumption (increased food security).

Business Case

Sparky is a low tech thermo dehydrator for vegetable, fruits cassava and sweet potatoes power by harvest bio-waste to prolong the self-life of the produce from 2 days to 2 year. It targets 4 million farmers in Uganda and 700million more across Africa. With using recycled materials, the product cost only 80$, three times less expensive than electric dehydrators (300$). It is also more reliable, clean and convenient than open sun dying (used by 90% of farmers today) and solar dryers which is dependent on weather. We shall earn revenue through direct sales to farmers through SACCO groups and farmers associations as channels. On successful scale across Uganda in three years, sparky shall scale the use of its innovation across Africa and Asia with current post-harvest losses at 45%.


  1. 1. To reduce current post harvest losses to less than 20% through use of clean sustainable dehydration preservation methods.
  2. 2. To achieve food and nutrition security among rural farmers in Uganda and across Africa.
  3. 3. To improve the livelihood of farmers by increasing their income as a result of reduce post-harvest losses.

Team Sparky

Kampala, Uganda

FINAL PROTOTYPE / Published January 4, 2017 by Okettayot Lawrence


This are the team members of sparky having a happy moment with their product....

PROTOTYPE / Published January 4, 2017 by Okettayot Lawrence


There is one of the member doing the final bit of the work by painting it to give it a good looking colour and also environmental protection.

PROTOTYPE / Published January 4, 2017 by Okettayot Lawrence


Team members finalizing on the dryer production ,
Doing some assembly to put all the body parts together and make it a working prototype

prototyping / Published January 4, 2017 by Okettayot Lawrence


This is the stage where the team fabricated the framework

Sparky / Published November 26, 2016 by Okettayot Lawrence


Qualify dried fruits and vegetables at all seasons

Our Team

Our Mission

To reduce current 45% post-harvest losses in food (fruits, vegetables, tubes) among small scale farmers in Uganda and across Africa, to less than 20% by extending the shelf life of the produce to more than a year through low tech affordable drying technologies that only removes water content while maintaining the nutrients in the food.

Our Background

Growing up in the northern part of Uganda that experienced a two decade civil war, we experienced firsthand the realities of food insecurity. Local communities struggle to grow food, but half of the little they harvest are lost due to poor handling and preservation means. These experiences inspired us to create Sparky, a multi-disciplinary team of young innovators, engineers, entrepreneurs and biologist from three different Universities (Kyambogo, Makerere and Elgon) to not only solve the problem for the Uganda community, but also for Africa and other regions like Asia and South America also in the same dilemma. Our participation in the Thought for Food challenge is to leverage on the platform to share our idea, get mentorship, finance and build networks to support us as we take the innovation to the communities and directly impact the lives of over 1billion and contribute to feeding 9BX2050.

Our Badges

  • Power Team
    Your team has at least three members
  • Design Lab Experts
    Attended at least one of the weekly TFF Design Lab “office hours” sessions.
  • We Famous
    Your project has been covered by your university or other media outlet
  • Get #Social
    Created team Facebook or Twitter page and attached to team page
  • Fan Club
    You have 100 likes or followers on your team Facebook or Twitter
  • Interior Architect
    Posted three pictures of your team workspace
  • Idea Parkers
    Shared a picture of your teams unique “idea parking”
  • Global Foodies
    Posted three facts about global food issues learned in the Explore mode
  • Insight + Insight + Insight
    Shared three new insights your team formulated in the Define mode
  • On Time, On Target
    Shared your Design Statement created during the Define mode
  • Post-it Fiends
    Shared pics of the chaos of the post-it filled Ideate work mode
  • Brain Food
    In the Ideate intro video, Richard shares an important tip while eating an apple. Share a team-apple-eating pic!
  • Expert Input
    Shared three pieces of expert feedback on your concept
  • GIF Masters
    Shared a GIF of the prototype building frenzy
  • Live Testing
    Shared a video of a user testing your concept
  • Way To Go
    Shared a picture of your plan for iterating your project
  • Etch-A-Sketch
    Shared your logo sketching session on your team blog
  • WE DID IT!!
    Submitted Final Pitch, including videos and concept details
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.