Affordable Greenhouses: Means for Improved Livelihoods & Food Security (Mavuuno Greenhouses)

Pennsylvania State University, 2011 - $38,950

Food security issues are escalating in East Africa, where over 60% of the population is malnourished. There is broad agreement on the need to help small-scale farmers boost their agricultural productivity, reduce spoilage and provide links to markets. Greenhouses can help farmers increase yields, but the greenhouses currently sold in East Africa, designed for large commercial farms, are too expensive for small-scale farmers and generally do not meet their needs. 

Over the last three years, this team has collaborated with Kenyan and Tanzanian partners in the field to design, prototype, and field-test affordable greenhouses designed for small farmers. The greenhouses cost $200 and can be assembled by two people in two days. Proprietary and technical innovations include modular design, a fastener system, the construction process itself, and the choice of materials used in lieu of glass.