Fighting Food Loss in Kenya with Solar Technologies

When it comes to crop production, Kenyan farmers face a number of challenges. The effects of climate change, like droughts or floods, lead to reduced harvests or poor quality crops. During the peak of harvest season, increased fruit supplies  leads to lower prices at local markets. Many farmers chose to dump the fruits or leave them to rot since accessing bigger markets often proves too expensive or difficult due to long distances, lack of infrastructure, or lack of certification.

A large portion of harvested fruit products never reach consumers and are instead left to rot and become waste. On a global scale, one-third of food produced for human consumption is lost or wasted. However, food loss and waste could be solved by processing lower quality fruits into dried or powdered products.

The partnership between Miyonga Fresh Greens and the WE4F East Africa Regional Innovation Hub pilots climate-smart food processing to address these challenges. The partnership began in October 2020 and aims to provide solar-powered mills, dryers, and cold storage to Kenyan farmers.

Now, a 40-foot mobile factory from South Africa that holds a solar dryer, ambulant ventilators, and processing equipment has arrived in Kenya. Along with other equipment, Miyonga’s mobile factory will travel between different regions in Kenya, depending on the seasonality and the local availability of product. Instead of needing to transport fruits to Nairobi for drying and processing, farmers can bring their harvests to local aggregation sites.

The mobile factory arriving in Kenya.

Miyonga also works with farmers and cooperatives to purchase second grade fruit. Normally this fruit would not make it to the market and be left to rot. By selling their produce to Miyonga, farmers and cooperatives can turn their lower quality fruits into dried and powdered products and even sell them at a higher mark-up, adding additional income to farmers’ pockets. Furthermore, mobile factories open up job opportunities for local villagers who can process local produce like mangos, pineapples, or bananas. In addition to the mobile factory, Miyonga will also offer trainings on food processing, safety and hygiene, and support farmers pursuing organic certification for their produce.

In the next months, a solar-powered mill and cold storage will arrive at the port in Kenya and will be set up by Miyonga. “We are really looking forward to kick-starting this partnership and give farmers around Kenya access to these technologies”, says Kilian Blumenthal, advisor in the East Africa Hub.