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Increased investment in solar cold storage to aid African producers

African farmers frequently lack a facility to keep their obtained perishable commodities, which forces them to sell their produce as soon as possible and leaves them vulnerable to broker exploitation.

In addition, it's thought that 30–40% of horticultural products in sub-Saharan Africa never reach the market due to shaky supply chains.

An investment in SokoFresh, a Kenyan company that provides smallholder farmers with solar-powered, mobile cold-storage facilities for vegetables and herbs in remote areas, was announced earlier this month by the US-based impact investment firm Acumen.

SokoFresh offers storage space for rent to companies that buy perishable produce from nearby farmers. The business also offers farmers a service that links them up with major consumers of agricultural products, such as retailers and exporters, directly.

Small farmers are not the only ones who need refrigeration. Market vendors and other enterprises in nations with constrained grid power supplies need these solutions as well. Targeting this market, the Nigerian company Koolboks has created an off-grid, solar-powered refrigerator or freezer that can maintain a cool temperature without electricity or sunshine for up to four days. Moreover, the devices include two LED lamps and USB ports for charging smartphones. Koolboks features pay-as-you-go technology built in, which lowers the cost of the devices. Aruwa Capital Management led a $2.5 million seed funding round for the company last year, bringing the total amount invested to $3.5 million.

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