• Saturday, July 20, 2024
businessday logo


Ecotutu launches off-grid cooling solution in Mile 12 Market to tackle post harvest loss

Ecotutu launches off-grid cooling solution in Mile 12 Market to tackle post harvest loss

To tackle Nigeria’s huge post-harvest losses and help reduce food loss due to market shocks, Ecotutu – a startup accelerating off-grid solutions has launched a 20 metric tons solar-powered cold chain infrastructure in Mile 12 Market, Lagos.

The startup plans to deploy the same technology across major markets in the country within the next 18 to 20 months to ensure that perishable produce are properly persevered with their quality retained.

“The launch of our solar-powered cold room at the heart of the market is the beginning of a lot of interest that Ecotutu is looking to do within the Mile 12 Market,” said Babajide Oluwase, founder and chief executive, Ecotutu said.

We provide cold storage services and logistics for farmers, traders and aggregators and ensure that they get the value of their fresh produce and prevent the bulk of it going to waste as is the case today,” he said.

According to him, Ecotutu’s investment in tackling post harvest losses in the fruits and vegetable value chain is critical to Nigeria’s future, noting that the startup is also providing jobs for women and youths employed at each cold room facility deployed.

“For every Ecotutu cold room storage facility we set up we employ two persons. And we are targeting women and youths. We also train them in our data management tech for the food we store,” he said.

He added that Ecotutu is not just building cold rooms but enabling businesses across the value chain.

“From the point of production at the farm gate, Ecotutu is facilitating either storage or logistics of food, leaving it fresh and in its best quality as possible. We deploy this kind of facility in farm clusters, food points and markets.”

Read also: Ecotutu to launch cold chain infrastructure to tackle post-harvest losses

Speaking also during the launch, Abisola Olusanya, Lagos commissioner for agriculture, said the launch of the cold room in Mile 12 Market by Ecotutu is phenomenal and future thinking, noting that the markets are the last point in the food systems and should not be taken for granted.

“The marketplace is the place that in terms of concentration of efforts, ideas, innovation and technology a lot needs to be deployed within the space,” Olusanya said.

“Putting resources together in a way that is cohesive and in a way the average man can buy food at an affordable price with good quality is part of the solution Ecotutu has brought to the fore,” she added.

She said the country’s postharvest losses remain high owing to inappropriate cold storage solutions, adding that the state government is seeking partnerships to tackle the problem.

Post-harvest losses in Africa’s most populous nation have been estimated to range between 5 and 20 percent for grains; 20 percent for fish and as high as between 50 and 60 percent for tubers, fruits, and vegetables, according to experts.

Post-harvest losses in Nigeria amount to an estimated loss of $9 billion (N4.1 trillion based on the current I and E window exchange rate of N460).

Joseph Kruzich, public affairs officer at the US Consulate appreciated the founder of Ecotutu, who is a 2022 Mandela Washington Fellow for giving back to society by ensuring that farmers and traders can preserve their perishable produce.

Kruzich said that the founder of Ecotutu is an example of the great relationship between the US and Nigeria and an example of the trade and agricultural tides between the two countries.

Also, Leonie Van der Stijl, deputy consul general of the Netherlands Consulate, Lagos said, “We are focusing on trying to see how we can feed cities, states and the region on a sustainable basis.”

“We are pleased to see Ecotutu launching this initiative. Ecotutu is one of the beneficiaries of an incubation program we have sponsored in the Netherlands – Orange Corners helped to develop the business case and it is so good to see it blossom and launched to ensure that we reduce postharvest loss.”

Shehu Jubril, chairman of the Mile 12 Market appreciated Ecotutu for choosing Mile 12 Market for the launch of the cold storage facility, noting that it will help reduce postharvest loss in the market as traders can now properly store their perishables under the right temperature.

He said the market association will continue to support the initiative.