ColdHubs provides affordable, solar-powered cold storage space to smallholder farmers in Nigeria. Access to cold storage improves livelihoods, combats food waste, and helps limit greenhouse gas emissions that come from rotting food.
Refrigeration is essential to combatting food waste; nearly one-third of the 1.6 billion tons of food wasted each year could be saved if kept cold—enough to feed 950 million people. In Nigeria, as in most developing countries, food waste is largely due to a lack of cold storage and cold chain infrastructure. More than 80 percent of Nigeria’s farmers live in rural areas with no access to refrigeration and 40 percent of the food grown in Nigeria each year ends up in landfills. When food is wasted, so are the water, fertilizer, seeds, time, and effort used to grow it and the fuel used to transport it. Food waste also contributes to global warming—as much as five percent of Nigeria’s annual greenhouse gas emissions are due to food waste (and about eight percent globally).
ColdHubs installs solar-powered, walk-in cooling stations at markets and farms across Nigeria. Farmers rent crates and store their produce in these hubs for a low daily fee (equivalent to about US$ 0.30). Refrigeration extends the shelf life of the produce and preserves its nutritional quality. This gives farmers more control over when to bring their harvest to market and increases their profit. It also allows food to be consumed farther from where it was grown, giving more people access to nutritious, fresh foods. Since the hubs are solar powered, they can be installed in remote areas and do not contribute to global warming. As of early 2023, ColdHubs was operating 58 cooling stations in 28 of Nigeria’s states, helping more than 6,300 farmers store their harvest. It had also started a refrigerated transport service to collect produce and deliver it across the country to those who need it most.
King Philanthropies’ support of ColdHubs is helping it directly improve the lives of 400,000 smallholder farmers, retailers, and wholesalers of fresh fruits and vegetables. In so doing, ColdHubs will also avoid three million metric tons of CO2 equivalents that would have been generated from food spoilage—savings equivalent to taking 100,000 gas powered cars off the road.