Enzymes extending the shelf life of fruit
Samuel Muyita has been selected as part of UNICEF Innovation30: Young Innovators Shaping the Future.
Countries of Solution Deployment: Uganda, Rwanda
Innovation Accelerator: Massachusetts Institute for Technology (MIT) Solve, United States
Samuel Muyita, 26, loves playing the guitar and piano. His favourite Ugandan song, which translates to "there is a grace that follows me," echoes his life journey. With family ties in agriculture and mango production, at an early age, Samuel was struck by food wastage due to transportation hurdles, weather-related perishability, and the crippling effect on local farmers.
Now, Samuel has pioneered a patented nanotechnology transforming Uganda's agricultural sector. Karpolax are tea bag-sized sachets that inhibit the enzymes that cause fruit ageing. Typically, a mango will only last five days post-harvest. By placing one Karpolax sachet in a box of harvested mangoes, families can keep fruits fresh for up to 30 days without refrigeration. By extending the shelf life of produce, children and their families can have sustained access to nutritious fruits even in the face of climate change.
What began as a nascent idea in 2018 has become an impressive enterprise. Today, the Karpolax team works with 100 local farmers, 20 exporters, and 250 local market vendors. It has prevented 1 million tonnes of fruits from getting wasted and enabled over 250,000 people to access fruits and vegetables in a year.
Samuel wants to expand beyond fruits and envisions a world where Karpolax combats malnutrition, reduces food waste, opens doors to new markets and uplifts farmers. Samuel says: "Think of what can drive people out of poverty, what can make the environment much safer... with that, you'll be able to change the world."