Morocco: Sara Benlafqih helps reduce crop losses with solar cooling systems

By : Melchior Koba

Date : jeudi, 08 décembre 2022 12:47

She got her agritech business idea during an academic internship. With some of her classmates, she developed a system to reduce the post-harvest losses incurred by smallholder farmers in her country. Thanks to her system, she has earned several awards and recognitions. 

Sara Benlafqih (photo) is a Moroccan industrial management engineer. She is also the CEO and one of the co-founders of agritech startup BMTA&C which develops innovative solutions to challenges like access to energy and food insecurity. 

Through BMTA&C, she created a storage unit to help farmers extend the shelf life of their crops from 2 to 20 days. The unit uses a solar cooling system to help smallholder farmers in remote areas reduce crop losses in Morocco and the sub-region. 

The said unit was inspired by a discovery Sara made during an academic internship. Indeed, she found out that farmers used to lose almost one-third of their harvest yearly just because they had no storage facility. The storage unit she created can now store up to six tons of fruit and vegetables without using coolants, which are harmful to the environment. 

By giving access to clean, reliable, and affordable energy, our technology promotes food security, fights climate change, and improves farmers’ livelihoods,” Sara told Forbes in early 2022. 

Before launching BMTA&C, the CEO who holds an MSc in industrial management engineering interned at various companies and organizations. In June 2017, she was a blue-collar intern at OCP SA, a mineral exploration firm. The following month, she spent a two-week summer internship at Cardiff Metropolitan University. In April 2018, she took on a 1-month shadowing internship at the mining firm Group Managem. 

From June to August 2018, she was an engineering intern at the Portuguese group Águas de Portugal (AdP). Her last internship was in 2019 with an end-of-studies internship at the Mohammed VI Polytechnic University, where she got her MSc in industrial management engineering. 

In 2017, she was a speaker at the Dean’s Forum held at MINES ParisTech. The following year, she was also a speaker at the Economy Days, in Lyon, Paris, where the discussions revolve around the growth of the digital sector in Africa. 

Nominated for the Aviram Awards - Tech for Humanity launched by the Aviram Family Foundation and Forbes to celebrate the most impactful startups in the Middle East and North Africa in 2022, Sara Benlafqih's startup participated in the four-month accelerator program, MassChallenge Switzerland 2022. In 2021, it was in third place in the EDF Pulse Africa 2021 innovation competition and was the Grand Prize winner of the Global Food Challenge.

Melchior Koba


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