Problem Statement: Hot arid climates in Afghanistan pose a problem for locals to grow pomegranates and other melons as farmers tirelessly attempt to preserve them from the elements.
Kandahar region of Afghanistan has a ton of agricultural potential, especially for pomegranates and melons. These two fruits grow extremely well in hot arid regions like Kandahar, Afghanistan. They can adapt themselves to a wide range of climatic conditions but are grown successfully in areas of cool winters and hot and dry summers. High temperature is beneficial at the ripening period during the spring and summer because it produces sweeter fruits.
Pomegranates are especially profitable for people living in underdeveloped and developing countries because they grow on tress, and therefore do not have to replanted on an annual basis. The tree is extremely hardy and can withstand drought to a considerable extent. This is why over 706 hectacres of pomegranates are planted in Kandahar. However, much of the crop is being wasted because it will not last long enough to make it to market or to be shipped into other countries for trading. Kandahar’s government is really trying to push farmers to bring their crops to Kandahar’s International Airport, as its staff can help farmers load their iconic fruit onto a plain to send it to the international market. The only problem is that the International Airport is a long distance from most of the rural communities in Kandahar. Therefore, farmers needs some type of food storage to get it there in a good condition.
Pomegranates will last around 2 weeks when they are kept at 41 F and at 90% to 95% humidity. Melons will only survive between 7 and 10 days, even when kept at their ideal state, which is 50 F and in 90% to 95% humidity. When they are kept out in the open in Kandahar, the number days that they stay fresh is more than halved, where pomegranates keep about 6 days and melons 3 days.
Solutions: We plan to help raise awareness in communities and to individuals about the facts of food waste. Be aware of the problem and drawing an emotional response from the masses is half the battle!
There is a mechanism called the water refrigeration which is basically a damped fabric you put over your food in hot and arid areas. As the water evaporates it takes along with it about 1000 BTU’s of heat energy allowing the food underneath to stay a cooler and more preservable temperature.