On average, half of the food produced in African countries is thrown away, despite the fact that this quantity could feed 300 million people. According to the UN’s Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO), this is mostly due to inadequate supply chain infrastructure in the agricultural sector, where smallholder farmers account for more than 60% of the population in Sub-Saharan Africa alone.
The advantages of temperature control and cold chain maintenance are frequently regarded as optional and a luxury in some parts of Africa. Construction of a temperature-controlled warehouse or distribution facility is only the beginning; you must also consider the entire supply chain, including transportation and the retail environment.
Many African households lack a refrigerator, therefore food is purchased in large quantities for immediate consumption. This also means that in these marketplaces, the long-term shelf life that we value in items is useless.
Energy and Other Constraints
Electricity expenses are relatively high in most African countries, and outages are common, especially in isolated farming areas. It can be difficult to run a cold storage facility without a backup electrical system. Simultaneously, many builders with no experience in cold storage are creating facilities with substandard materials. This results in a significant increase in energy use, further discouraging the use of temperature-controlled warehouses. Solar panels for electricity generation are a viable option, especially if the country’s grid system allows for the additional energy generated during the day to be utilised at night (a net metering scheme).
Due to the rise in internet purchasing as a result of the epidemic, the number of tuk tuks and other smaller vehicles performing last-mile deliveries in our African cities has increased dramatically. However, with no refrigeration, sometimes some insulation, and the addition of dry ice (or eutectic plates) in the last mile, the cold chain is neglected, although this is the exception rather than the rule. For distribution purposes, the last mile is quite difficult. You must contend with traffic congestion, constraints and laws, downtown tonnage restrictions, delivery time windows, and noise regulations, in addition to customer purchase behavior and a low cold chain culture.
Last Mile/First Mile
When it comes to first-mile origin, cold storage infrastructure, package houses, and post-harvest facilities are inefficient or non-existent, and up to 50% of goods are wasted. As a result, producers must sell at considerably lower prices, food quality suffers, and the commercial life of the product is shortened. First-mile cold chain infrastructure is one of the best investments for developing countries because it raises domestic production standards, produces more consistent foods with longer shelf lives, and allows those countries to substitute domestic production for imports and even export if the products meet consumer demands.
Under ISM Green, one of our of business units that is focused on building green sustainable solutions we have partnered with Resillient Energy Infrustructure to build an interactive cold chain from first mile to factories, and export processings zones that is built with international expertise to the highest industry standards for cold storage to ensure compliance with international certifications. We are currently raising investments to set up the infrustructure and scale in different counties in Kenya.