Ecotutu, a startup accelerating off-grid cooling solutions is set to launch a solar-powered cold storage infrastructure in Mile 12 Market, Lagos, to provide market-led solutions to post-harvest losses causing wastage of fresh produce.
The launch which is scheduled to take place at Mile 12 Market – Nigeria’s largest market for fresh produce on April 4, 2023, in Lagos, will fill fresh produce supply chain gaps and facilitate marketplace opportunities for farmers and aggregators.
“Ecotutu’s mission is to democratise access to affordable and reliable cold storage solutions in Africa,” said Michael Akinsete, co-founder and CMO, Ecotutu.
“Nigerian farmers, aggregators, and retailers manage up to 23 million metric tons of fresh fruits and other vegetables worth $4 billion annually, yet the country loses between 35 and 45 percent of these due to postharvest issues during storage and distribution,” Akinsete said.
He noted that post-harvest losses remain a major challenge confronting the Nigerian agricultural sector for so long.
According to him, Ecotutu provides a solution to post-harvest losses through its flagship ‘pay-as-you-chill’ model by offering cooling and logistics services, and facilitating marketplace opportunities for retailers and wholesalers, without the need for the high upfront costs.
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He stated that the cooling facility helps extend the shelf life of perishable produce from two to 21 days and reduces post-harvest loss by 85 percent.
“Each unit of Ecotutu’s solution eliminates food waste and preserves the economic value of food, enabling farmers to take a more significant share of their harvest to market. And more importantly, it boosts the confidence of the value chain players to remain in the food business.”
According to experts, an efficient cold chain industry helps in promoting better food safety outcomes as fresh fruits and vegetables are stored and transported in the right temperatures to markets.
It is an integral part of agriculture identified as a means to significantly reduce the post-harvest losses of perishable fresh fruits and vegetables. Nigeria’s post-harvest loss is at 15 million metric tons valued at $ 9 billion per annum, according to experts.
Speaking also, Babajide Oluwase, founder and chief executive, Ecotutu said that the solar powered cooling infrastructure is designed, developed, and deployed by his organisation.
Oluwase noted that for the Ecotutu Hub, his organisation is working with Self Chill – its cooling technology partner based in Germany.
He added that the hub is 100 percent solar-powered with a combination of renewable and thermal power to provide non-stop cooling without the use of batteries. “It is designed to operate even in areas not connected to the electricity grid,” he noted.
The event will have in attendance association heads of various fresh produce, Mile 12 Market chairman, stakeholders across the fruits and vegetable value chains, and officials from the federal and state ministry of agriculture among others.