ColdHubs: Africa’s hope for reliable food storage

Image copyright AFP Image caption Startup CFF Foods has set up its cold storage system in a former-refrigerator warehouse in Nigeria

One of the technology problems the World Bank has identified as critical in sub-Saharan Africa is falling food supply.

The problem is made even worse by Africa’s history of severe droughts and, more recently, widespread cross-border movements of goods, food and people as the continent grows richer.

The World Bank has proposed how national governments can make sure that food is sent quickly and weather-resiliently to where it is needed.

The ColdHubs programme is one of the solutions.

This initiative based in Nigeria hopes to bring a unique solar-powered storage method to remote communities in Africa by providing backup cold storage.

Ben Clarke is CFF Foods’ CEO.

He says: “As Africa grows wealthier, more people are likely to be in towns and cities to find a job.

“This leads to more goods entering the region and large cities like Lagos in Nigeria and Johannesburg in South Africa being unable to cope with the rising influx of goods, as well as the growing number of people.

“When there is a small scale issue like turning a piece of rice into bread in London, it requires lots of individuals and large scale systems to take care of it.”

Image copyright AFP Image caption CFF Foods hopes ColdHubs will provide useful backup storage for small farmers

In small West African countries like Ghana and Ivory Coast, CFF Foods is training farmers to grow cold storage equipment for sale, with more than 60% of farmers either already using it or training to do so.

CFF Foods have already supplied cold storage systems to over 70 sites, and this year, it will team up with existing farmers to provide a produce delivery service to about 1,000 homes.

Mr Clarke adds: “We have also opened up additional off-take markets across West Africa where we will be working with land owners in and around Accra, Burkina Faso, Mali, Togo and Benin to secure food deliveries for their villages.”

ColdHubs is not the only organisation working on creating better sources of cold storage – but CFF Foods are ahead of the game on the uptake of solar storage.

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