Many smallholder farmers in many part of Africa produce fruits and vegetables alongside their stable food – such as cereals, tubers and roots. Yet farmers are losing more than 50% of their crops due to lack of cold storage.
The Food and Agriculture Organization the United Nations estimates that one third of the food produced in the world for human consumption (approx. 1.3 billion tonnes) gets lost or wasted.
Therefore, there is a need for post-harvest handling facilities for both horticultural produces and also for cereals. For ten years, Nnaemeka Ikegwuonu has been producing radio shows for smallholder farmers in the rural southern region of Nigeria. In one of his shows, the idea of refrigerating the produce came up when one farmer lost a truck full of cabbage due to lack of such services. The idea of ColdHubs was born.
ColdHubs is a ‘plug and play’ modular, solar-powered walk-in cold room which operates 24/7 and offers storage and preservation of perishable foods.
These are installed in major food production and consumption centres, where farmers place their produce in clean packaging and this extends the freshness of fruits, vegetables and other perishable foods – extending life from 2 days to about 21 days.
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Smallholder Farmers Rural Radio
The Smallholder Farmers Rural Radio mentioned above, is a non-governmental organization in Nigeria which promotes sustainable agricultural productivity and environmental conservation beneficial to rural poor small farmers, through educational radio programs and on field practical demonstrations.
The Smallholders Farmers Rural Radio broadcasts educational radio programmes on crop cultivation, livestock rearing and soil management 10 hours a day in the local Igbo Language to inform and educate its 250,000 small-farmer listeners and improve their agricultural, environmental management and market access capacity.
According to the Qata Foundation, “the station also helps poor farmers by broadcasting information on basic business skills such as market research, cost-benefit analysis, business planning, opening bank accounts, and keeping accurate accounts and store records”.
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