ColdHubs, A Nigerian startup is providing cold storage services to market traders and small scale farmers in a bid to curb food wastage. Over 30 percent of food produced in the country goes to waste because of inefficient harvesting, storage, processing and time to market
According to Nnaemeka Ikegwuonu, the founder of Smallholders Foundation, his interest in agriculture saw him leave his job as host of an agriculture radio show to set up his first cold room in 2015, “We used to have a lot of damages without place to preserve these things. We pack them in packing shops and then within two days the thing gets spoilt and we have a lot of losses but now the cold room is available we can quickly go there and keep our goods and we don’t have much loss again.”
“Something stood out from each community we visited, the inability of small holder farmers to store their perishable foods especially fruit and vegetables and also related to several root and tuber crops and in the course of our travelling we met and interacted with a lot of farmers and we asked them a lot of questions whether they’ll be able to pay for a small service if we provide cold storage facilities within their farms, in their market or very nearby close to them.”
ColdHubs is an initiative that provides solar powered cold rooms for traders and farmers who want to rent space to keep their produce fresh. Solar panels fitted on the refrigerator’s roof provide energy that’s stored in batteries and used to power the cold room.
The company is run by a local non-governmental organization known as Smallholders Foundation which wants to help develop agriculture in the country. ColdHubs has over 11 cold rooms across 7 states in the country. The company is also working to educate farmers in the country on the importance of effective food storage. The government is encouraging agricultural investments with an aim to create jobs in the sector with an aim to fight poverty and boost food security.