Agriculture, Food and Beverage

Using the sun to keep agricultural produce cool? How Ghana’s farmers are benefiting from solar-powered cold storage

solar powered cold storage  AkoFresh farmers Ghana fruit vegetables boost income cut emissions

Farmers in Ghana are using solar powered cold storage to keep freshly harvested fruit and vegetables cool. Image: AkoFresh

Victoria Masterson
Senior Writer, Forum Agenda
Share:
Our Impact
What's the World Economic Forum doing to accelerate action on Agriculture, Food and Beverage?
The Big Picture
Explore and monitor how Agriculture, Food and Beverage is affecting economies, industries and global issues
A hand holding a looking glass by a lake
Crowdsource Innovation
Get involved with our crowdsourced digital platform to deliver impact at scale
Stay up to date:

Agriculture, Food and Beverage

Listen to the article

  • Farmers in Ghana are using solar powered cold storage to keep freshly harvested fruit and vegetables cool.
  • AkoFresh, the company behind the innovation, says countries in Sub-Saharan Africa can lose more than a third of their harvested food, mostly because of inefficient supply chains.
  • The solar cold stores will boost seasonal income for farmers by more than $10 million and cut greenhouse gas emissions by 15%, AkoFresh says.

Finding ways to store freshly harvested fruit and vegetables is a big problem for smallholder farmers in Ghana in West Africa.

Produce can rot quickly in outdoor temperatures, and transporting it to market isn’t an option for many small-scale farmers.

Solar powered cold storage

Now a company called AkoFresh is providing solar-powered refrigerated storage that it says extends the shelf life of perishable crops from about 5 days to 21 days.

Farmers can rent a space in the cold store for a daily fee of $0.30 per 20 kilogram crate of produce, or take up a weekly subscription. They can also pay for the cold storage with crops instead of cash.

To help farmers reduce food losses and sell their produce at competitive prices, the solar powered cold storage service also includes a mobile app that connects them to food aggregators. These are organizations that consolidate and distribute agricultural products, explains Ghana state-owned food company NAFCO.

This solar powered cold storage is helping farmers in Ghana keep freshly harvested produce cool.
This solar powered cold storage is helping farmers in Ghana keep freshly harvested produce cool. Image: AkoFresh

Food waste is a risk in Africa and globally

AkoFresh says it wants to halve the volume of crops lost after harvest across 10 communities in Ghana over the next 5-10 years.

This will boost seasonal income for farmers by more than $10 million, as well as reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 15%, it says.

About a third of all food produced globally – around 1.3 billion tonnes – is wasted, estimates the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization, a specialist agency that works to eliminate hunger, food insecurity and malnutrition.

Loading...

In Sub-Saharan Africa, countries can lose more than a third of their harvested food, AkoFresh says. More than 90% of these losses are linked to inefficient supply chains, it adds.

These food losses are a threat to the food security, financial stability and environmental protection of farming communities in Africa and globally, AkoFresh says.

How solar powered cold storage works

The company’s solar powered cold storage unit includes cold room panels, sensors, a condensing unit, and an evaporator.

Using solar power means the refrigerated unit doesn’t need to be connected to an electricity grid and is “net positive to the environment”.

“Every solar cold room we set up is reducing up to 16.5 tonnes of CO2 emissions each month,” AkoFresh says.

Have you read?

Helping communities in Africa

Local people can also charge their reusable lamps and mobile devices at the solar powered cold storage units, helping to tackle energy poverty.

Future plans for AkoFresh include investing 1% of the service charge for each crate of crop stored into educational materials for the children of farmers.

The company hopes to expand to another five communities in Ghana and to two more African countries in the next five years, allowing it to reach more than 15,000 smallholder farmers and traders.

Supporting ecopreneurs globally

Founded by entrepreneur Mathias Charles Yabe, AkoFresh is one of 14 companies supported through the #GenerationRestoration Youth Challenge. The solar powered cold storage initiative promotes youth-led solutions to conserve and restore ecosystems, in response to nature loss and climate change.

The #GenerationRestoration Youth Challenge is led by the World Economic Forum’s Trillion Trees forest restoration initiative 1t.org, in collaboration with funding partner Salesforce and supporting partner the UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration.

The #GenerationRestoration Youth Challenge is hosted on UpLink, the Forum’s platform to source and elevate innovations to tackle some of the world's biggest challenges.

Loading...
Don't miss any update on this topic

Create a free account and access your personalized content collection with our latest publications and analyses.

Sign up for free

License and Republishing

World Economic Forum articles may be republished in accordance with the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International Public License, and in accordance with our Terms of Use.

The views expressed in this article are those of the author alone and not the World Economic Forum.

Related topics:
Agriculture, Food and BeverageEnergy TransitionFood SecurityDavos Agenda
Share:
World Economic Forum logo
Global Agenda

The Agenda Weekly

A weekly update of the most important issues driving the global agenda

Subscribe today

You can unsubscribe at any time using the link in our emails. For more details, review our privacy policy.

Nearly 15% of the seafood we produce each year is wasted. Here’s what needs to happen

Charlotte Edmond

April 11, 2024

About Us

Events

Media

Partners & Members

  • Join Us

Language Editions

Privacy Policy & Terms of Service

© 2024 World Economic Forum