Kevin Kung earns second place at MIT Food and Agribusiness Innovation Prize

Tata Fellow adds to an impressive record in business and technology competitions.

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Kevin Kung, a Tata Fellow in the Department of Biological Engineering, earned second place at the MIT Food and Agribusiness Innovation Prize. It was the inaugural edition of this prize, co-sponsored by MIT’s Abdul Latif Jameel World Water and Food Security Lab (J-WAFS) and Rabobank, one of the largest banks in the world that caters specifically to food and agribusiness clients.

Kung’s company, Safi Organics, “presents an alternative fertilizer called fortified biochar from organic waste,” according to their competition profile. “We have developed technologies enabling farmers to make their own fertilizers in 30 minutes, thus saving them 40% of the cost of traditional fertilizers.”

The company’s work is currently focused on Kenya, where co-founder Samuel Rigu works as an agricultural manager, and is related to Kung’s Tata Center project, which uses a process called torrefaction to process agricultural waste into a usable form.

Kung is well on his way to becoming one of the most decorated Tata Fellows in program history. His accolades already include a Fulbright Scholarship, the Factor(E) Energy for Development Prize, the Clean Energy Prize, a Legatum Fellowship, the IDEAS Global Challenge (twice), and he is currently a semi-finalist in Ashoka Changemakers.