Arguably the biggest challenge of agriculture in Nigeria, is the preservation of harvest and our #BellaNaijaMCM this week Nnaemeka Chidiebere Ikegwuonu is contributing his quota to tackling that challenge.
According to the Rockefeller Foundation, in developing countries like Nigeria, 45% of food is lost due to the absence of cold storage. This leads to a 25% loss of annual income for smallholder farmers.
Nnaemeka is the founder of ColdHubs, solar powered walk-in cold rooms that extend the shelf-life of perishable foods from two to 21 days.
The ColdHubs are 3 x 3 metres and have solar panels on the roof and are capable of storing up to 3 tonnes of food arranged in 30 kg crates.
The ColdHubs are installed at markets and farm co-operatives and farmers and retailers can rent spaces in the hubs pay per crate of food stored per day.
As at the end of 2018, ColdHubs had saved about 114,000 tons of food from spoilage with its 12 ColdHubs across Nigeria. Some of it’s over 500 customers recorded more than 50% increase in their income.
The platform uses natural refrigerants, minimising the impacts on the environment. It also excess solar power is stored in batteries to ensure the hubs are kept cold at night and in bad weather.
Nnaemeka is a graduate of History and International Relations from Imo State University. He is also the Executive Director at The Smallholders Foundation.
He’s a 2007 Fellow of the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (NORAD), and a 2008 Fellow, Ashoka – Innovators for the Public. He has also spoken and facilitated sessions for the World Bank and the United Nations.
He is also a 2010 Laureate, World Innovation Summit Education (WISE), Qatar Foundation; 2011 Architect of the Future Awards, Waldzell Institute; 2011 Young Leader, BMW Foundation 1st Europe-Africa Young Leaders Forum; and 2011 New Leader, Cran Montana Forum.
In 2017, ColdHubs made the UK Royal Academy of Engineering’s Africa Prize for Engineering Innovation Shortlist.