In developing nations like Nigeria, preserving produce long enough to reach the mouths of those who need it most presents its own set of problems. An astounding 45 percent of food goes to waste in these regions primarily due to the lack of cold storage. While the harsh Nigerian sun is hardly gentle to fresh fruits and vegetables, one local startup is starting to harness solar energy as a means for preservation.
ColdHubs provides solar-powered, walk-in cold rooms to major food production and consumption centers like farms and outdoor markets. Farmers pay a daily flat rate based on the number of food crates they store, thereby extending the shelf life of their inventories by two to 21 days. Each year, 470 million farmers in the developing world lose 25 percent of their income due to the lack of proper storage. ColdHubs cuts post-harvest waste by 80 percent, providing more revenue to farmers and better nutrition to consumers.
The company was founded by Nnaemeka Ikegwuonu, a Nigerian farmer and entrepreneur. The team was one of 14 groups chosen by the United Nations to present at this year's Solution Summit, an event targeted at solving the UN's 17 Sustainable Development Goals for 2030. Though the startup is still in the early stages, they plan to become self-sustaining within their first year of business.