A cool solution to food spoilage
Each year, small farmers and retailers living in developing countries lose 45% of their harvest and 25% of their income to post-harvest food spoilage. In rural Nigeria, these losses – caused by high ambient temperature and relative humidity – are exacerbated by a lack of reliable electricity and suitable storage facilities. The situation particularly hurts women, who are responsible for most small-scale farming and trading of crops.
ColdHubs designs, assembles, installs and commissions 100% solar-powered walk-in cold rooms in off-grid markets and farm cooperatives. Branded as ColdHubs, the cold rooms improve food quality and safety and eliminate rapid rotting by reducing exposure to direct sunlight, heat and contamination by chemicals, bacteria, parasites and mycotoxin.
ColdHubs allows farmers, retailers and wholesalers to store and preserve perishable foods around the clock, extending shelf life from 2 to 21 days. By acting as warehouses, the hubs not only prevent food spoilage but also give customers the opportunity to haggle harder and sell their wares when prices increase.
ColdHubs has a simple “pay-as-you-store” revenue model. Customers pay the equivalent of US $0.50 to store one 20 kg crate per day. Each hub is operated by a manager who monitors the loading and unloading of crates, collects the fees and builds relationships with users.
IMPACT ACHIEVED SO FAR?
ColdHubs currently earns revenue from the five hubs it installed in the Nigerian states of Imo and Kano. To date, its 320 customers have saved 5 700 tons of produce and other perishable food from spoilage and increased their average household income from USD 60 to USD 120 per month as a result. The venture has also recruited and trained women to work as hub operators and market managers at its five hub sites, creating 10 new jobs.