Entrepreneur’s solar-powered fridges save food in Nigeria

Better food storage means less hunger in Nigeria. Nnaemeka Ikegwuonu wasn’t always an entrepreneur. He used to work as…
ColdHubs save food in Nigeria

Better food storage means less hunger in Nigeria.

Nnaemeka Ikegwuonu wasn’t always an entrepreneur. He used to work as a radio journalist. Back in 2013, a job took him to the Farin Gada Market located in Jos, Nigeria. While he was learning about the cabbage market for his story, he became very interested in an important topic: food spoilage.

Before founding ColdHubs, Ikegwuonu spoke to farmers to help him brainstorm a solution to the spoilage at markets:

I asked the farmers what can be done to reduce the waste and they said they will need some form of storage inside the market, to store and sell later. It then struck me that all our markets [have] no storage for fresh fruits and vegetables.

Nnaemeka Ikegwuonu

Agriculture in Nigeria

Agriculture is a very important industry in Nigeria. It makes up 22% of the country’s GDP. But food spoilage is a huge issue for the industry. Food spoilage means “reduced farmer income and supply chain bottlenecks.”

Nigeria doesn’t have much power availability. Because of the power issues, there are fewer ways farmers can store their produce. This means that farmers usually need to ship the food as soon as it as harvested.

The country also has a poor infrastructure for transporting food which means getting produce from farm to consumer is expensive. Also, the current ways to preserve food, such as bagging and drying in open air, are outdated.

So, the agricultural system is problematic and inefficient overall. On the consumer end of things, this leads to malnourishment and food insecurity.

ColdHubs’ success in 2020

But Ikegwuonu’s innovation is beginning to turn things around.

With ColdHubs, markets in Nigeria get access to cold storage that is completely solar-powered. Right now, there are 24 Hubs across Nigeria. To date, these Hubs have kept 20,000 tons of produce from spoiling. ColdHubs helps farmers save money, creates work for women, and reduces food shortages and therefore hunger.

a woman works in a Hub in Nigeria

ColdHubs has been operating for seven years. Now, in 2020, its founder is being recognized. Ikegwuonu was just awarded a high honor: the 2020 Waislitz Global Citizen Disruptor Award.

Ikegwuonu will put the award to good use:

We will use the award prize to build two ColdHubs in two fruits and vegetables markets, serving 200 users, saving 3,285 tons of food from spoilage yearly, increase the income of 200 users, and create four new jobs for women.

Nnaemeka Ikegwuonu

Article source: Global Citizen

Featured image source: Nnaemeka Ikegwuonu

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