As noted on the RAMP partner Villgro's blog, Anand Krishnaswamy, The Lemelson Foundation's consultant in India, wrote an interesting article about in innovative group in India that has created the 'Milk Tree' – a vending machine for milk for installation in apartment complexes and housing colonies in India. This innovation removes the middlemen in the milk industry, leading to increased revenue for farmers as well as improved quality and options for Indian families.
The device allows access to fresh and refrigerated milk satchets on an as-needed basis using smart cards, eliminating several problems with milk delivery methods in India. Currently, there are only a few points in the supply chain where proper refrigeration is used, which leads to 1-3 percent spoilage annually, directly effecting farmer incomes. Additionally, due to limited carrying capacity for local milk delivery "milk boys," customers place their order at the beginning of the month for how much fresh milk will be delivered each morning – which doesn't allow the option of purchasing more or less milk on a daily basis depending on need.
The milk vending machine uses a unique mechanism to dispense the milk, rather than traditional coiled spring mechanisms which proved unsuitable for milk satchets in India. As a result of the innovative design, the machine is also half the sales price of existing machines.
The 'Milk Tree' is just one of the many projects supported by the Recognition and Mentoring Programs (RAMPs) in India, Indonesia and Peru. The projects, established by The Lemelson Foundation, work with local institutions and organizations to help innovators in developing countries establish viable, replicable and scalable enterprises. The RAMPs provide assistance during the early stages of development and testing products as well as networking, marketing and commercialization support.
For more information:
The oldest of the three Recognition and Mentoring Programs (RAMPs), RAMP India was established in 2004 as a partnership with the Indian Institute of Technology, Madras (IIT-M) and Villgro (formerly known as the Rural Innovations Network). Based in Chennai, RAMP India focuses on innovations from the state of Tamil Nadu.
For more information, visit: L-RAMP India.