Nigeria is one of the most highly blessed Nations in Africa. That She has not been able to solve, even her own problems of food and agriculture is a matter of great concern.
One of the major problems of food agriculture is lack of proper preservation of farm produce.
CityMirrorNews findings indicate that over 75% of Nigerians are rural dwellers and are part time farmers facing serious challenges after post production as they find it so difficult to preserve their farm produce.
In a bid to find lasting solution to this problem, a Solar Engineering Procurement Construction Company East Wind Laboratory Limited, Ile-Ife, has erected RAAS Refrigeration, a solar powered Refrigerating system that enables proper preservation of farm produce, reducing food wastage and other veritable agricultural produce.
The RAAS Refrigeration according to Mr Ola Abraham, Director, East Wind Laboratory Limited said with the aid of SolarCold there will be high increase income for local farmers and market women just as he said RAAS will also ensure price stability for perishable goods and commodities thereby maintaining and preserving the integrity of the agricultural value chain.
At the official commissioning which took place at the permanent site of RAAS Refrigeration, located at 8, Lagere, Opposite GTbank, Ile-Ife, Mr Abraham noted that power failure had adverse effect on people’s businesses, which has made life unbearable for them, especially in the ancient city of Ile-Ife.
“This prompted me, Solar Engineering Procurement Construction Company to establish the project for the benefit of the citizenry, saying through solar, equipments, appliances as well as perishable goods can be powered”, he stated.
According to him, this would increase income for local farmers and market women and RAAS would ensure price stability for perishable goods and commodity thereby maintaining and preserving the integrity of the Agricultural value chain.
He further said that RAAS stabilizes the cost of refrigerated goods to be more reasonable and affordable. He added that it engages the Bottom of the Pyramid (BOP) population in Ile-Ife and empowers women particularly to generate more income.
The Director, Diamond Development initiatives, Mr Adamu Garba, said that the SolarCold Storage Solution is the way out for goods preservation across the country.
Miss Oluwasayo Atetedaye, an Off – Grid Energy Specialist, who represented Garba at the Commissioning said that Agriculture activities has globally advanced in its operation but power failure has been affecting the storage of farm produce which has led to huge loss to the country at large.
He added that Nigeria would have been yielded better return on investment, if she had sets her power structure availability right.
” It is estimated that Nigeria loses over $9 billion worth of fresh produce due to a deficit in its access to power to drive agro-allied processing.
“Food preservation would require cold storages, industrial drying and lighting facilities which significantly affect the shelf life of agricultural products and livestock.” he stated.
The director called on industrial processors to partner SolarCold Storage so as not to sell their products at a fairer price due to a drop in losses incurred.
“Creating large solar-powered cold hubs would also reduce wastewater as the livestock would be frozen and maintained due to the availability of electricity.
” This would increase economic activities in the area as customers would have a more reliable market that caters for their increasing need.
“Another viable option is creating Industrial cold storage hubs at large livestock farming clusters to increase the opportunity for livestock farmers to sell their products at competitive prices as the pressure to sell off due to potential decay or damage would be eliminated” ,he urged.
Atetedaye while fielding questions from newsmen said that the initiative is the local implementing partner for United States African Development Foundation in Nigeria
She thanked the guarantee for taken the bold step and being responsible for starting the project development, saying she was here to monitor the project to ensure the donor fund is accounted for and judiciously used.
Also speaking, Dr Taiwo Momodu, at Centre for Research & Energy, Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, commended the organisers of the project for setting it up when needed.
Momodu attributed the huge post harvest losses to lack of storage, population and migration, saying that refrigeration services brought to the community would assist stability of perishable goods and commodities.
The Don acknowledged the donor for bringing something tangible to the community, especially first of its kind in Southwest of the country.
He said that the farmers in the villages would be empowered and this would minimise the percentage of huge losses of farm produce.
Momodu observed that the Nigeria population was between 40 to 50 million in years back, and majority were resided in rural area, but presently, we are about 200 million in which large number are urban based.
“The increase in population has drastically increased the number of mouths to feed, therefore, farmers needs to be taking good care of, for the project would help a lot in preservation especially meat product” He stated.
He urged the farmers, butchers, fresh fish sellers, poultry operators, vegetable sellers, fruit sellers, cold room operators, frozen chicken, cold drinks sellers, among others to partner with East Wind Laboratory on SolarCold Storage Solution
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