Indian firm, another lead by Indian-American among 5 winners of prestigious Earthshot Prize

Indian firm, another lead by Indian-American among 5 winners of prestigious Earthshot Prize

Singapore, Nov 7 (PTI) An Indian solar-powered tech venture that is combating food waste in the country and a global soil carbon marketplace founded by an Indian-American are among this year's five winners of the prestigious Earthshot Prize, founded by Britain's Prince William and dubbed the 'Eco Oscars', announced here on Tuesday.

S4S Technologies, founded in 2013 by seven university friends Nidhi Pant, Vaibhav Tidke, Swapnil Kokte, Ganesh Bhere, Shital Somani, Tushar Gaware and Ashwin Pawade, won the award in the 'Earthshot Prize to Build a Waste-Free World' category, while Boomitra, founded in 2017 by Aadith Moorthy, won the award in the 'Fix our climate' category.

Among the winners is Accion Andina, a community-based initiative working across South America to protect native high Andean forest ecosystems for their invaluable benefits to nature and millions of people in the region.

Hong Kong-based company GRST won the award for developing a way to build and recycle lithium-ion batteries, while global non-profit organisation WildAid Marine Programme was awarded for scaling marine enforcement to end illegal fishing and strengthen ocean conservation.

These five winners are each awarded a GPB 1 million to help scale their solutions and accelerate their growth and impact, according to earthshotprize.org.

The work of these winners spans the globe, protecting and restoring the environment and supporting local communities across six continents, it said.

S4S Technologies combats food waste, rural poverty, and gender inequality by helping smallholder female farmers preserve and market surplus produce, the organisers said.

The firm provides rural communities with cheaper solar-powered conduction dryers and food processing equipment to prepare their crops on-site, rather than using cold storage or other more expensive methods of conventional industrial food preservation.

With a focus on supporting female farmers, S4S also supports its entrepreneurs in using the preserved waste to produce and sell valuable food products, such as ketchup. S4S creates a market, connecting commercial buyers to these products and returning most of the profits to the farmers who made them.

According to the organisers, 'Some 300,000 women smallholder farmers supported by S4S have recorded 10- 15 per cent increases in their profits, while the 2,000 female entrepreneurs they partner with have seen incomes double or even triple.' “Food waste, rural poverty and gender inequality are deeply intertwined challenges for the people of India. S4S’s innovative solution combines cutting-edge technology with the practical support and training needed to ensure women farmers can thrive and improve their livelihoods for themselves and their families.

'We are honoured by this recognition from The Earthshot Prize, and we look forward to continuing to work with our partners across India and around the world to reduce food waste, protect our natural environment and empower women,” said Nidhi Pant, Co-Founder of S4S Technologies.

Boomitra, which means “friend of the earth” in Sanskrit, is removing emissions and boosting farmer profits by incentivising soil restoration and the adoption of regenerative agriculture through a verified carbon-credit marketplace, the organisers said.

The company works with more than 150,000 farmers, from half-acre smallholder farms to large ranchers, managing more than five million acres of land in some of the poorest parts of Africa, South America and Asia.

Satellites and AI technology are used to monitor improvements farmers make to the soil, tracking its ability to store carbon over time.

“We cannot restore the earth without the support of farmers, who produce the food we eat and rely on the land for their income. Our technological solution empowers farmers with the data they need to improve soil and maximise their crop yields, while creating a valuable store for carbon. Our thanks to The Earthshot Prize for recognising our work as we continue to support thousands more farmers,” said Boomitra CEO and Founder Moorthy.

On the occasion, Prince William, Founder and President of The Earthshot Prize, said that the last year has been one of great change and even greater challenge. A year in which the effects of the climate crisis have become too visible to be ignored. And a year that has left so many feeling defeated, their hope dwindling.

'However, as we have seen tonight, hope does remain...From Boomitra, S4S, and Accion Andina, to GRST and WildAid Marine Programme, our winners and all our finalists remind us that, no matter where you are on our planet, the spirit of ingenuity, and the ability to inspire change, surrounds us all,” he said. PTI SCY AKJ SCY SCY SCY

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