A 20 ton, 100 percent solar-powered cold storage facility has been installed in Mile 12 international fruits and vegetables market, Lagos, to provide market-led solutions for sellers of perishable farm produce, thereby eliminating post-harvest losses and wastage associated with lack of proper storage.
EnergyDay gathered that the solar solution was unveiled by Ecotutu, a startup accelerating off-grid cooling solutions, on Tuesday.
Babajide Oluwase, Founder and Chief Executive Officer, in a statement, said that the facility will fill fresh produce supply chain gaps and facilitate marketplace opportunities for farmers and aggregators.
Oluwase revealed that his organisation designed, developed, and deployed the solar-powered cooling infrastructure, adding that for the Ecotutu Hub, his organisation is working with self-chill, a cooling technology provider based in Germany.
He added that the hub is 100 percent solar-powered with a combination of renewable and thermal power to provide non-stop cooling without the use of batteries. “It is designed to operate even in areas not connected to the electricity grid,” he noted.
Michael Akinsete, Ecotutu, Head of Marketing, on his part revealed that the start-up is committed to democratising energy access in Africa through affordable and reliable cold storage solutions.
Akinsete said, “Nigerian farmers, aggregators, and retailers manage up to 23 million metric tons of fresh fruits and other vegetables worth $4 billion annually, yet the country loses between 35 and 45 percent of these due to post-harvest issues during storage and distribution.
“Post-harvest losses remain a major challenge confronting the Nigerian agricultural sector for so long.
“Ecotutu provides a solution to post-harvest losses through its flagship ‘pay-as-you-chill’ model by offering cooling and logistics services, and facilitating marketplace opportunities for retailers and wholesalers, without the need for the high upfront costs.
He stated that the cooling facility helps extend the shelf life of perishable produce from two to 21 days and reduces post-harvest loss by 85 percent.
“Each unit of Ecotutu’s solution eliminates food waste and preserves the economic value of food, enabling farmers to take a more significant share of their harvest to market. And more importantly, it boosts the confidence of the value chain players to remain in the food business.”
During the unveiling, Ozioma Ukegbu-Onwordi, CEO Eden Acres; facilitated training on the post-harvest handling for fruit and vegetable traders.
Leonie Van der Stijl, Deputy Consul General of the Netherlands Consulate in Lagos, Mr Lanre Oladimeji, Retail Banking, Zenith Bank and Alhaji Shehu Jubril, Chairman, Mile12 International Fruits and Vegetables Market.