Published: December 31, 2014


Screen capture Wakati

Megan Treacy

The Wakati isn’t a refrigerator, but it does keep fresh fruit and vegetables from spoiling quickly without refrigeration. In developing countries where electricity is scarce, a means for keeping produce fresh can make a big difference in profit and livelihood for a farmer because more of their product can be sold before going bad.

The Wakati is a solar-powered, sterilized microclimate that stores and ventilates fruits and vegetables. A 3 W solar panel rests atop a tent-like box. The solar power runs a ventilator that gradually evaporates a weekly supply of about 6.7 oz of water, creating a humid environment within the Wakati that keeps produce fresh.

Crops can dry out quickly after being harvested, but with the Wakati system the humidity keeps the cells of the crops intact and the acids and enzymes inside the cells that would normally begin to digest the crops are kept under control.

© Wakati

The Wakati does nothing to control temperature, so it’s not a long-term food storage solution, but it does make short-term storage last a good bit longer. Produce that would normally only have a shelf life of two days in a hot climate can last for 10 days with the Wakati. Farmers have more time to sell more food and less food will be wasted, meaning more profit for the growers and more fresh food getting to the people who need it.

Wakati has already supplied 100 of the systems to areas in Haiti, Uganda and Afghanistan and plans to start mass producing them at $100 each sometime soon.