To drive down food prices, we need to increase food supply and availability. One of the ways to increase the food supply is by eliminating post-harvest losses. This is a very big problem as up to 50% of fruits and vegetables produced in sub-Saharan Africa are never consumed due to poor post-harvest handling. Increasing food availability does not only depend on growing food production, but also on reducing food waste and making supply chains more efficient in matching present and future demand and supply.
However, we can significantly contribute to solving this problem through proper post-harvest cooling, and handling.
Proper postharvest cooling and handling can help to ensure that harvest quality is maintained until the product reaches the consumer. Postharvest cooling rapidly removes field heat from freshly harvested commodities before transportation, storage, or processing and is essential for most fruits and vegetables.
Proper postharvest cooling can:
- Suppress enzymatic degradation and respiratory activity (softening)
- Slow or inhibit water loss (wilting)
- Slow or inhibit the growth of decay-producing microorganisms (molds and bacteria)
- Reduce production of ethylene (a ripening agent) or minimize the product's reaction to ethylene.
This is why we are excited to announce that we have built and deployed our second solar-powered cold storage solution for fruits and vegetables. The commercial cooling solution is now operational and serves a network of greenhouse farms in Lagos State, Nigeria.
It increases the shelf life of fresh produce such as the tomato from 48 hours to 3 weeks.
This facility is completely solar-powered with pre-cooling and cold storage functionality. We also used solar to provide power for air conditioning, lights, and appliances for a container office which we also built. Our goal is to build Africa’s largest network of commercial cold storage solutions, eliminate the post-harvest losses and make Agricultural supply chains more efficient.
This is the second of several more to come. We keep building.