As a huge source of income for so many Nigerians, farming is a profession that helps the common man by providing job opportunities, serving as a major source of income for many and a way to provide food at affordable costs for citizens, and also helps in generating a large part of the national revenue. Food security is core to every nation and proves to be a priority in the lives of millions of people.
It has been estimated that each year, over 1.3 billion tons of the world’s food gets lost or wasted, a loss that is particularly devastating in Africa where an estimated 280 million people are malnourished. In Nigeria, 40–50% of harvested crops are lost post-harvest between the farm gate and the market causing these nutritious foods to be less available and affordable for consumers and a huge profit loss for farmers, distributors, and the country’s economy.
In many rural areas in Nigeria, huge quantities of fruits and vegetables rot and wither before reaching the markets because not a lot of technology and care is put into postharvest handling and storage.
What does this mean for everyone? Well for everyone in the value chain, this has a detrimental effect. Between the harvest of crops and their consumption, so much is lost and many lives are affected as a result.
Each person at each stage of the value chain ends up losing a lot of revenue. The farmers would sell way less than they intend and harvest, the distributors, losing harvest in transit and storage, would lose more than they paid for, and the marketers would end up having to purchase these harvests at an amount way more than they should and sell to the final consumers that have no choice but to buy their food at exorbitant prices. In essence, the farmers, distributors, and marketers all lose income when it could have been avoided.
But what if food security was a priority? Let us paint you a picture of the perfect world where we introduce Cold Storage solutions that reduce post-harvest loss by preserving the harvests at each stage of the value chain. The farmers are provided with cold rooms that ensure their yields are well preserved for as long as needed before distribution. These solar-powered cold rooms are designed to keep fruits and vegetables fresh to ensure a reduction in post-harvest loss. At the Stage of Distribution, cold vans, tricycles, and fresh boxes on motorbikes are introduced to ensure these perishables are transported from the farms to the markets in quality conditions. These modes of transportation, are well insulated to ensure great care is taken of the harvests in transit. When the harvests finally reach the markets, in their fresh conditions, they are placed in Fresh Boxes powered by the Ice Cell to guarantee these fruits and vegetables are kept fresh while consumers purchase them. And finally, the consumers arrive at the markets with their Shopper bags, also powered by the Ice Cells. In this perfect world, the post-harvest loss would greatly decrease, everyone on the value chain would lose a lot less and even the revenue generated by the country would increase. It would also mean that the more the harvest, the cheaper the food, and then the more affordable it is for the average citizen, which reduces the number of malnourished people in the country. For a country that loses one-third of the total fruits and vegetables produced yearly, this would be a huge turnaround for the economy. In this perfect world, everyone is a bit happier, loses a lot less, and gains a whole lot more.