The African Postharvest Losses Information System reports indicate that countries in Africa waste more than 30% of fresh fruits and vegetables through inefficient post-harvest management. Growers in the region urgently need solutions to reduce food loss and waste.
Tanzania is one of the countries that experience this problem. The East African nation is an agriculture-based economy with small-scale farmers dominating the sector. Most small-scale farmers live in areas where access to electricity is limited. With a lack of cold storage, nearly 30% of fresh produce in Tanzania perish before they get to consumers. For fresh tomatoes, as much as 50% is lost before reaching markets due to poor storage conditions.
Recently, solar-powered cold storage facilities have emerged as a potential solution. These facilities are already benefiting thousands of farmers and traders in Nigeria. But they are not reaching many others across sub-Saharan Africa. Barriers to uptake were limited awareness, the cost of the technology, farmers’ low capacity to pay, and consumer preference for non-refrigerated food. Practical policy interventions would include incentives to attract investment, payment flexibility to make technology more affordable, and greater awareness of the benefits of cold storage.