Solar fridges at war with food waste in Kenya
Updated: Mar 31
By addressing the issue of post-harvest losses and spoiled food in developing countries, the multi-awarded Kenyan start-up Solar Freeze is an inspiring model of a viable business that pragmatically tackles the world hunger concern.
In Kenya and much of the developing countries, post-harvest losses constitute a major issue. The UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) estimates that, due to the lack of cold storage equipment in the third world’s agriculture, 30 to 40 percent of the total food production is lost before reaching the market, which includes vegetables, fruits, and dairy production. In Sub-Saharan Africa, these food losses represent not less than US $ 4 billion per year - or enough to feed at least 48 million people… Considering these alarming figures, the Kenyan entrepreneur Dysmus Kisilu had the idea of a smart off grids solution and devised huge mobile fridges powered by solar renewable energy. This is how, in 2016, he founded the start-up Solar Freeze, which now operates cold storage units with a positive impact for thousands of smallholder farmers in Kenya... and the life of all the people depending on them for food supply.
A mobile solar-powered cold room enabling to store cold agricultural product
Credit: Solar Freeze
Dispatched across production areas, these giant fridges allow farmers in rural communities to store their perishable products safely before selling them. Farmers can locate a cold unit near their farm by using the mobile application developed by Solar Freeze and send an SMS to place an order. The facilities are available for the affordable price of 10 to 30 shillings per crate stored thanks to a 'pays-as-you-store' system based the quantity and duration of the storage. As a result of its innovative solution, Solar Freeze has already reduced food loss and waste in the fresh product agricultural sector by 90 percent where in use. By increasing the life of shelf food from 2 to 21 days, the device allows a rise in the farmers' income by 70 percent and contributes to reducing malnutrition with a significant impact. What is more, it also cuts down the huge carbon footprint of food wastage, by containing the expansion of agricultural lands as farmers become more productive. In September 2018, the Solar Freeze project received the Progress Award from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation for its action against post-harvest losses.
These companies do practically contribute to the UN SDGs numbers 2 (zero hunger) and 12 (sustainable consumption and production).
The Dauphine Futuria Team.
Credit: Solar Freeze
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