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Winners’ Stories – Agrotech Plus

World Food Day is a time to celebrate innovative solutions that are making a significant impact on achieving the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs); particularly Goal 2: End hunger, Achieve food security and improved nutrition, and promote sustainable agriculture . This provides an opportunity to talk about Agrotech Plus, a company based in Nairobi, Kenya. In this article, we will delve into the remarkable journey of Agrotech Plus and explore how their innovative cold storage systems are helping drive down food prices, increase yields, reduce food waste, and promote inclusive economic growth.

Contributing to the UN SDGs Progress

Before diving into the story of Agrotech Plus, it's essential to understand the broader context of UN Global Initiatives and their relevance to food security and economic growth. The United Nations has set ambitious targets through the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to eradicate poverty, achieve zero hunger, and foster sustainable economic growth by 2030. In many parts of the world, food waste is a senseless and largely preventable obstacle to achieving that goal. Fruits, vegetables, and other perishable foods often spoil due to inadequate storage and transportation facilities. This issue not only results in significant economic losses for farmers but also contributes to food scarcity and rising prices, directly affecting consumers.

According to the United Nations World Food Program, a staggering 1 billion tons of food are thrown away annually with almost 30% of the global population moderately or severely food insecure.

Recognized as a WSA Young Innovator, Agrotech Plus is making a significant impact in Kenya’s agricultural sector by addressing food waste head-on. Their inventive cold storage systems play a pivotal role in curbing food waste, lowering food prices, boosting crop yields, and fostering inclusive economic growth.

Tech for change – Agrotech Plus

Agrotech Plus is revolutionizing the agriculture sector by providing cutting-edge cold storage systems designed to empower farmers. Their core offerings include walk-in, solar-powered cold stations that operate 24/7 for storage and preservation of perishable food items. These systems can be conveniently located at the farm-gate, catering to multi-produce storage, ripening, and freezing needs.

Extending Shelf Life and Reducing Food Waste

One of Agrotech Plus's game-changing innovations is their "plug and play" modular, solar-powered walk-in cold room. This innovation is a beacon of hope for addressing the persistent issue of post-harvest losses in fruits, vegetables, and other perishable foods. Farmers in major food production and consumption centers, including markets and farms, now have the means to extend the freshness of their produce from a mere 2 days to an impressive 21 days.

The technology behind Agrotech Plus's cold storage solution utilizes solar panels mounted on the roof-top of the cold room. These solar panels store energy in high-capacity batteries, which in turn powers the refrigeration unit. This sustainable approach not only preserves food but also reduces the environmental footprint, aligning with broader sustainability goals.

Promoting Inclusive Economic Growth

Agrotech Plus has tapped into the sharing economy to make its cold storage units accessible to smallholder farmers who may not afford to invest in such infrastructure. Instead of purchasing expensive units, these farmers can now borrow or rent them from other parties. Accessing these units is as simple as sending a request via mobile phones, using various digital platforms like SMS texting, Unstructured Supplementary Service Data (USSD), or voice messages.

Market Analytics and Linkages

AgroTech Plus goes beyond cold storage; they empower farmers with vital market analytics and linkages. By providing insights into market prices and demand in local markets, they enable farmers to make informed decisions about marketing their products. This knowledge not only reduces guesswork but also helps farmers optimize their yields and profits.

Furthermore, AgroTech Plus fosters forward linkages, connecting farmers and farmer groups to better markets. This creates additional value from harvested crops, contributing to economic growth in rural communities.

Cooling as a Service (CAAS)

AgroTech Plus adopts a flexible pay-as-you-store model, which is particularly beneficial for smallholders and communities. Farmers can rent cold storage facilities on an “as needed” basis. To prepare for storage, they transfer perishable foods into reusable crates, which neatly fit onto the shelves in AgroTech Plus's cold rooms. Farmers then pay a daily flat fee for each crate of food they store, making it an affordable and scalable solution.

Conclusion

On World Food Day, let AgroTech Plus inspire your commitment to innovative solutions that drive real-world impact. Their achievements in extending the shelf life of perishable foods, reducing post-harvest losses, and providing affordable cold storage access are pivotal in lowering food costs and fostering inclusive economic growth. AgroTech Plus harmonizes with UN Global Initiatives, making a substantial contribution to the global mission of eradicating hunger and poverty. For an in-depth look at AgroTech, explore their website. If you seek more success stories in the fight against food waste, here are some other inspiring initiatives:

  • Too Good to Go - Winner of the WSA Environment & Green Energy Award - 2016
  • Chowberry - Winner of the Young Innovators Award - 2016
  • Yonodesperdicio - Winner of the WSA Environment & Green Energy Award - 2018
  • Ricult - Winner of the WSA Environment & Green Energy Award - 2020