Cool storage called for
Inadequate warehousing facilities for agricultural produce are said to cost food production in Africa 40% of its output. This state of affairs has prompted the Agra alliance and the Indian agrochemical manufacturer UPL to support the continent’s farmers with a project.
More than 40% of agricultural perishables produced in Africa are said to be spoilt before they even reach a consumer. These losses not only have a major impact on individual farmers’ incomes, but simultaneously also impair food security for the public in the entire continent.
Now an organisation called the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (Agra) has entered into a partnership with UPL, an Indian agrochemical manufacturer, and launched a public-private initiative dubbed «the one million tons of cold storage in Africa» project. It aims to raise USD 2 billion in ten years, and build post-harvest warehousing facilities for 1 million t of perishables in sub-Saharan Africa.
Creating new opportunities
At the unveiling of the project during the World Economic Forum on Africa (see box), held in Kigali (Rwanda) recently, Agra president Dr Agnes Kalibata said that «the initiative aims to increase productivity and improve farmers’ marketing clout. It will allow them to decide when to put their produce on the market and thus improve their negotiating power.» Cooling and storage facilities will add value to agricultural produce, the initiators said, and enable farmers to serve local markets more effectively.
UPL chief executive Jai Shroff said that «there is currently a total lack of functioning cool chain facilities across all of the sub-Saharan region that can handle substantial quantities of fresh produce. Establishing new centres will add value to agricultural produce.»
Three cold storage facilities are already under construction in Kenya, Rwanda and Uganda, Agra said. They are expected to be operational by 2017 and prove that the initiative can achieve success.