Cold storage solutions for horticulture smallholder farmers in Nakuru & Nyandarua Counties.

Nakuru and Nyandarua, are two of the counties in Kenya dubbed ‘country’s food basket’ owing to fertile soils, favourable climate, and topography. Sitting at an average altitude of 2000 metres above sea level, it provides a cool and temperate climate that is ideal for growing variety of crops. Agriculture contributes to 33% of the country’s GDP.  Many Small Holder Farmers (SHF) depend on their farm produce to sustain their livelihoods. However, SHF encounter myriad challenges such as poor pre and post harvesting handling, limited production skills, high input costs and exploitative markets.

The Project

The ‘Loss to Value’ project (L2V) aims at reducing food loss and waste through green cold chain solutions for farmers and traders in Kenya, specifically in the two counties. The project – informally known as L2V – is funded by Danida Green Business Partnerships (DGBP) and looks to uplift horticulture SHF in the two counties by implementing scalable cold storage solutions accessible to the farmers. Flexible and sustainable payments/loans options will make the cold storage accessible to farmers, cooperatives, and traders. The project targets selected value chains including French beans, snow peas/sugar snaps, chillies, and vegetables.

The Impact so far

In a partnership with DanfossInspiraFarms Cooling, and Fresh Produce Exporters Association of Kenya (FPEAK), and in collaboration with respective County and National Departments, L2V aims at developing energy-efficient, low global-warming potential refrigeration solutions to benefit: –

  • 2,000 farmers (1200 women and 400 youth).
  • Four trader associations.
  • Ten commodity aggregators in Nakuru and Nyandarua.

It also aims at recovering 66% of the current 24% post-harvest loss suffered by SHF. By doing this, businesses will make a substantial impact in improving their livelihoods and reducing food waste. The success of this initiative in Kenya could pave way for scaling cold-chain systems to other East African countries, enhancing food security, reducing emissions, creating jobs, and promoting sustainable business models. Ultimately, L2V seeks to transform the cooling landscape in East Africa, making green cooling infrastructure accessible and affordable to all – especially smallholder farmers – and fostering inclusion and sustainability.

The Story So Far…

By January 2024;

  • 18 farmer organisations (ranging from 25 – 250 members) have been mapped and engaged
  • Four export companies have been engaged as the off takers with three of these already having refrigerated trucks for transportation of perishable produce.

SHFs are already banking on this to be a game changer. Having the storage close to their farms will mean few losses and more money. Check back for updates on how the project is doing.

This article was originally published on the DanChurchAid website in Kenya. Please click here to access the original piece.