Basil Kransdorff

Ashoka Fellow
Johannesburg, South Africa
Fellow Since 2010


This profile was prepared when Basil Kransdorff was elected to the Ashoka Fellowship in 2010.
The New Idea
Nutrient repleteness – or our body’s ability to absorb micronutrients – is the basis of good health, well-being, and sustainable development. Making human beings nutrient replete and therefore physiologically functional is the new paradigm Basil wants to bring to the world. Moving away from activities that deliver partial solutions and an approach to food that is focused on quantity (or calories), his innovative approach helps change the “rules” and shifts the emphasis to food quality (or nutrient content). The result: a food system in which all decisions are designed to achieve nutrient repleteness. Nutrient repleteness encourages a holistic approach to solutions that include changing the way food is grown, processed and prepared. It encourages new scientific approaches to fortification that mimic nature to ensure better bioavailability of nutrients.

Basil has invented a unique nutritional supplement in the form of a modified version of a staple food in Southern Africa called ‘pap’. He has taken ‘pap,’ which is a porridge made from ground maize and soy, and invented ‘e’Pap’, which is an affordable package of ready to eat, fortified food. Basil, and his business partner and wife Rose, developed this technology approach to achieve “nutrient repleteness” to combat malnutrition and poverty. The objective of nutrient repleteness hinges on the hypothesis that the body performs optimally when it absorbs the necessary quantities of nutrients. The objective - a physiologically functional human being.

Basil wants to help decision makers better understand the issues to fix our food chain so that all human beings can become nutrient replete. The e’Pap technology approach shows how it is possible to bring a human being back to nutrient repleteness. It is necessary to bring understanding as to why current approaches to address the “nutritional crisis” are part of our problem. The lessons learnt and the technologies and science that supports e’Pap Technologies can be applied to not only how we grow our food but also to how we process package and distribute our food chain.

Through the development and promotion of micronutrient rich foods, Basil is cost effectively improving the health and well being of malnourished people in over 15 countries across rural and urban Africa. Furthermore, Basil is changing agricultural norms around food production and the value placed on nutrient dense foods. The effect of the new idea, taken to its logical conclusion, will revolutionize the way a farmer is incentivized to approach food production. Rather than being paid according to weight, or in terms of a product’s appearance, the measure of commercial value would be the nutrient content of the food? And Basil is also transforming the way big agribusinesses, COs, and the international donor community manage food production and aid. With the locally produced e’Pap, countries can become less dependent on foreign food aid, pharmaceutical supplements, unhealthy processed foods, and expensive imported fortified foods.
The Problem
The Strategy
The Person

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