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ColdHubs: How Solar Refrigeration Keeps Food Fresh in Nigeria


Therefore, Naemeka Ikegwonu decided to take a new approach to food waste. He is the founder of Cold Hubs, offering solar-powered food storage units designed for markets and farms.

The 39-year-old woman has won countless awards for this initiative and was announced as a $ 1.5 million co-winner. AYuTe Africa ChallengeFor promising young innovators who are using the technology to rethink food production on the continent.

Officially launched in 2015, Cold Hubs currently owns 54 units in 22 states in Nigeria. With more than 5,250 smallholders, retailers and wholesalers using refrigerated rooms, in 2020 the company stored 40,000 tonnes of food, reduced waste and increased farmers’ profits.

“This is a food intended for human consumption and is usually lost along the supply chain in harvesting, transportation or distribution,” says Ikegwuonu. “The mission is to reduce food spoilage due to a shortage of refrigerated foods at key points in the food supply chain.”

Efforts to tackle the food waste crisis

Nigeria is ranked 100 out of 113 Countries in the world food security index. More than 88 million people in the country are facing food insecurity and 12% are undernourished.
But the problem is not lack of food. It’s a wasteful excess. An amazing 40% of Nigeria’s annual food production is lost before it reaches consumers. This is equivalent to 31% of total land use. According to the World BankAnd accounts for 5% of the country’s greenhouse gas emissions.
Ikegwuonu’s Cold Hubs are 10-foot-square refrigeration units that maintain up to fresh produce. 21st.. According to Ikegwuonu, traditional refrigeration units of this size are powered by a diesel generator and require 20-30 liters of diesel daily, but by using solar panels instead, all units 1 million kilograms The amount of CO2 released into the atmosphere each year while powering the unit 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
according to united nationsFood waste accounts for up to 10% of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions, so finding a solution to reduce waste can be essential in the fight against climate change.

The cost of storing boxes of produce in ColdHub was about 25 cents a day, helping farmers and retailers double their monthly income. “This was achieved by selling previously abandoned produce at a reasonable price.”

Cold Hubs are currently available on farms and markets in 22 Nigeria states.

Scale up

Looking to the future, Ikegwuonu says Cold Hubs is also developing technology to freeze produce for the Niger Delta fishing community. “Most of the coastal areas have no energy available,” he said, adding that these freezer storage units are also capable of producing ice blocks.

Ikegwuonu also wants to expand his social influence by creating gender equality and employment in the surrounding countries. 35% of total employment Engaged in agriculture, 90% of rural livelihood It depends.

“We were able to create about 66 new jobs for women,” he says. “Many of these women are empowered and changing agents in their homes and communities.”

Ikegwuonu says the current focus is on expanding business in Nigeria, but over the next decade, we are looking at other countries suffering from similar food waste problems.

“Our big dream is to solve the problem of food spoilage in Nigeria and expand our technology and services to other African countries with these challenges,” he says.

A natural time bomb?
A natural time bomb?



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