THE WAY FORWARD │ Level Up Philippine Agriculture!

Solar-powered cold storage answers farmers woes on postharvest loss and waste 

Author: DA Communications Group | 25 June 2021

To maintain the quality of agricultural produce and prevent postharvest losses, thereby enabling farmers to earn a decent income from their yield, the Department of Agriculture has teamed up with the Next Agri Corporation Philippines Inc., and Ecofrost Technologies India for the installation of solar-powered storage in food production areas across the country.

On June 25, 2021, Agriculture Secretary William Dar attended the demonstration of the demo unit of India’s most innovative digitally-enabled modular on-farm solar-powered cold storage.

“We welcome this innovative and inclusive technology that can be adopted anywhere in the Philippine countryside, simply with the aid of renewable solar energy,” Dar said.

According to the Secretary, the solar-powered unit, the first-ever in the Philippines, will entail no additional cost for power expenses in storing their produce, and can be easily installed in remote areas without access to electricity.

“Like in other developing countries, the Philippine agriculture sector has been suffering from high post-harvest losses. In high-value crops alone, the losses can easily reach 20-40 percent (%),” Dar said.

In recent years, farmers in rural and remote islands have been unable to preserve their produce due to a lack of cold-storage facilities, forcing them to sell at lower prices to middlemen and loan sharks, and often getting lower than 50% of their actual produce value.

Many of the off-grid rural and remote locations of the Philippine archipelago, where agriculture, fisheries, and allied activities are the main livelihood are suffering from unreliable supply of electricity and power outages.

In addition, the increasing climate change risks and frequent natural disasters like typhoons, floods, droughts, etc., are exacerbating post-harvest problems and pain points of small farmers.

As such, on-site cold-storage facilities will help to build resilient Filipino farming communities in reducing food and income losses when natural disasters like typhoons, floods, and droughts occur. Appropriate on-site cold storage facilities can also play a crucial role in preserving farmers’ produce, increasing their income, ensuring food security and export-competitiveness of our nation.

Dar said that the challenge is to make the facility affordable and sustainable, and to offer after-sales service, which should be a requisite for all agri-fishery equipment manufacturers, distributors, and service providers.

Next Agri Corporation Philippines Inc., and Ecofrost Technologies India specialize in building sustainable postharvest technologies to prevent losses and wastage, allowing food producers to maximize yield and profit. ###

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Reference:

DA-Bantay Presyo National Coordinator Jerry Pelayo
CP: (0917) 533 7981

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