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India’s cold chain model points way for Nigeria

...experts urge government to see the sector as an integral part of agriculture …call for adoption of innovative solutions

For Nigeria to address issues of post harvest losses and effectively develop its cold chain sector, experts say the country should learn from the Indian’s biomass model.

The experts say Nigeria must adopt innovative off-grid solutions such as biomass, LPG and solar to effectively develop its cold storage and supply chain sector.

The experts who spoke at the 2nd West Africa Cold Chain Summit and Exhibition (WACCSE) in Lagos recently stated that with these innovative solutions the country will be able to address issues of postharvest losses while improving farmers’ income.

“In India, there is a direct subsidy for cold chain which is an ideal that Nigeria can borrow from as well as its biomass model,” said Tunde Okoya, president, Organisation for Technology Advancement of Cold Chain in West Africa (OTACCWA).

“The Indian biomass model is an off-grid solution where farmers burn the waste on their farmland to generate cooling and we have lots of farm waste in Nigeria,” Okoya said.

“We need to unlock practical cold chain solutions to grow and develop our cold chain industry and impact farmers’ income,” he added.

He stated that the goal of OTACCWA is to shape government policies as regards cold chain through advocacy by ensuring that the country has policies in place that will further reduce investment costs.

According to him, the capacity of the cold chain in Nigeria is estimated to be at 250,000 cubic while the estimated supply-demand gap is between 4-5 billion cubic.

He noted that the huge gap is an indication that the country still has a lot to do in developing its cold storage and logistics industry.

Nigeria postharvest loss is put at 15million metric tons valued at $9billion per annum, experts say.

India, the largest producer of milk and second-largest grower of fruits and vegetables globally, has developed its cold chain industry and increased its cooling capacity to 10 percent using innovative solutions such as biomass.

Anurag Agarwal, CEO, and co-founder, New Leaf Dynamic Technologies Limited, New Delhi, India in his keynote presentation said that the biomass initiative is important to the Indian government and has been in operation in the last 10 years.

“The Indian government is providing financial assistance for cold chain and educating farmers on the need to store their produce and adopt the biomass solution,” Agarwal said.

He stated that the biomass solution is a cooler convention system that is easily affordable as wastes are used to generate power for storage.

Speaking also, Alexander Isong, CEO, Alyx Limited and vice president, OTACCWA said that the country needs to create sustainable power solutions to develop its cold chain sector.

He advised the government to focus on solar and gas to grow the cold chain sector by harnessing the potentials in their production.

“Government should provide the initial capital outlay for average Nigerians to be able to buy gas off the local market, and then we would be able to develop the sector,” Isong said.

“We have a comparative advantage in gas production and we are currently exporting to other countries. So, the government should focus on LNG as an option in powering the cold chain sector and generally the power needs of the country,” he said.

“Most of the companies that provide cold chain logistics find it difficult to get a loan from the banks because the Nigerian banks do not understand cold chain,” he further said.

He urged the government to create an enabling environment by ensuring that NIRSAL, Bank of Industry and Bank of Agriculture provide loans to investors in cold chain logistics.

“Government must see cold chain logistics as an integral part of agriculture. Cold chain logistics should be their number one primary aim for the government to solve because of its impact on the economy by reducing food waste by 5percent and increasing farmers’ income,” he added.

Josephine Okojie

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