Heifer International Launches 100-Toone Solar-Powered ColdHubs For Farmers In Zaria

Heifer International Launches 100-Toone Solar-Powered ColdHubs For Farmers In Zaria
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Heifer International supports Nigerian-based ColdHubs to build a 100-tonne capacity off-grid solar-powered storage solutions in Danmagaji market, Zaria, Kaduna State. The move is part of its efforts to boost the production and marketing of horticultural products in Nigeria.

The project was commissioned on Wednesday, May 24, 2023, by the company’s country Director, Rufus Idris, who said young entrepreneurs across Africa could develop homegrown solutions that will support farmers across the continent, boosting their confidence. He said: “We want to do our part to help young innovators deploy transformative agric-tech innovations that will boost farming and food production and provide smallholder farmers with the support they require to grow a profitable, sustainable business.” Nnaemeka Ikegwuonu, founder and CEO of ColdHubs, says Heifer’s support has proven to be a significant motivation for the food storage solution, as the company has launched an ambitious expansion Strategy.

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He said that the company supports entrepreneurs to deploy 10 ColdHubs across Nigeria, with eight of them being 3-tonne capacity hubs while two being 100-tonne capacity hubs. He stated that the hub is expanding its affordable, pay-as-you-go refrigeration options and making them available to local markets and farm clusters in Nigeria. One of Heifer International’s 2021 AYuTe (Agriculture Youth and Technology) Africa Challenge winners, ColdHubs, is expanding its agritech storage solution to Kaduna State, Nigeria. In 2021, ColdHubs and Hello Tractor founders were selected as winners of the inaugural AYuTe Africa Challenge.

The AYuTe Africa Challenge serves as a springboard for identifying outstanding young agritech innovators in various Heifer countries and assisting in forming solid partnerships. Through a regional competition, the company awards up to $1.5 million yearly to leading agritech innovators across Africa. The Hubs are used by smallholder farmers, retailers, and wholesalers to store and preserve perishable foods, extending their shelf life from two days to 21 days. Reports say the transportable, stand-alone units give local farmers an affordable, pay-as-you-go option for keeping their farm produce fresh for days and weeks.

The unit’s solar panels are connected to a a battery storage system that allows the coolers to operate entirely off the grid 24 hours a day. Launching the 100-tonne capacity ColdHubs in Zaria adds to a network of more than 50 existing ColdHubs across Nigeria, ten of which have been powered through Heifer International’s support. Working with rural communities across Africa for 47 years, Heifer International supports farmers and local food producers to strengthen local economies and build secure livelihoods that provide a living income, while ColdHubs Ltd. is a social enterprise in Nigeria that designs, installs, commissions, and operates 100% solar-powered, walk-in cold rooms known as “ColdHubs.”

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