The UN’s Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO) produced a report in 2019 which estimated that 40% of the 12 million tons of fresh fruit and vegetables produced in Kenya annually is wasted through post-harvest losses arising due to technical issues as well as inadequate storage and cooling facilities. While post-harvest loss, in Kenya and elsewhere, is predominantly seen as a food security and livelihoods issue, addressing it presents an important opportunity to reduce GHG emissions since anaerobic decomposition of organic matter is a significant emission source of methane.
31 million Kenyans live in rural areas, the majority of whom rely on rain-fed agriculture for their livelihoods. In this sense, agriculture is the bedrock of the Kenyan economy, constituting 75% of the country’s labour force and contributing to 34% of GDP in 2018. Consistent harvest losses restrict small holder farmers’ productivity and capacity to grow and increase their incomes and livelihoods. Women, who make up 75% of the labour force in the agricultural sector, are disproportionately affected.
The Kenya Solar-powered cold chain services NSP aims to take a major step in reducing post-harvest losses, by addressing the market barriers preventing the private provision and adoption of solar powered cold storage services. Under its technical cooperation component, The NSP is designed to educate, inform, and stimulate a fundamental shift in the way farmers approach post-harvest management, activating demand for cold chain services which are essential to addressing post-harvest loses. Through its Financial cooperation component, the NSP will make the economic proposition reasonable and practical for cold chain service providers and enable crowding-in of third-party private commercial capital into the solar-powered cold chain services market in Kenya.
By the end of the NSP, 495,028 tCO2e emissions will have been abated through replacing diesel-powered cold storage and more importantly, avoiding methane emissions from food spoilage. 3,900 tonnes of cold storage capacity will be deployed in Kenya thanks to the NSP, connecting smallholder farming cooperatives in Meru and Nakuru Counties to 33 end-markets across the country. In this way, beyond the core objective of reducing GHG emissions, the NSP will increase food security as well as agricultural productivity and farmer’s incomes.