According to a 2011 FAO report in sub-Saharan Africa alone the lack of a reliable cold chain is responsible for an estimated loss of about 30% in meat commodities and 50% in roots, tubers, fruits and vegetables.
Food losses resulting from an insufficient refrigeration system have direct impacts on food and nutrition security of communities in ACP countries. Perishables commodities start degrading immediately after harvest, resulting in loss of produce weight, texture, taste, appearance and nutritional value. Markets are also affected by the lack of access to efficient cold chains. Many farmers without means to preserve their excess produce are obliged to sell it at low prices in saturated markets.
However, in Rwandan like most of other African countries, the development of cold chain sub-sector has been hindered by the limited access for customized technologies and their lack of qualified technicians in order to provide installation, operational, management and maintenance services at local level.
To tackle this ever remaining challenge in vegetable post harvest system, PASP has introduced the construction of cold and hot rooms In the line with reducing post harvest losses that small holder farmers are meeting since decades. 2 vegetable cold rooms were installed and completed in Kicukiro/Niboye, and Kamonyi/Gacurabwenge, and 3 remaining cold room are at final stage in Rubavu District Kirehe and Gasabo.
''solar powered cold room at horticulture collection center located at Kayonza District, Mukarange sector, Nyagatovu cell, Ragwe village''.
This is one of the climate smart solution that PASP would have implemented under business plan, as it uses solar power to provide solution to the long lasting challenge in the Horticulture value chain. Due to the increasing demand in food supply, the production of perishable goods such as fruit and vegetables continues to rise. In order to preserve these types of goods, they need to be placed in cold storage facilities to make sure that they do not spoil.
Cold rooms are very important as they help to prolong the shelf life of fresh goods. They are also effective in reducing the amount of waste and in lengthening the timeframe for marketing these foods.
PASP has also found more impotant to establish hot rooms which also are extremely important in reducing post harvest losses in some part of the holticulture value chain more specifically in Vegetables like Garlic, ginger and many more. So far 1 hot room has been suppported in Rubavu District, and will eventually help in promoting garlic competitiveness on the Market.
LESSON TO DROW
As matter of facts in Holticulture production, from June to september in Rwanda is a period of holticulture growing in marshlands ans watershades.
Most of farmers who are in this business experience extreme losses and market fluctuation which result to later abandon of the business for some of the practitioners.
Constructing more adequate and climate smart cold and hot rooms would help in total containment of vegetable post harvest losses and more people would be exited to join this business which profits to all the consumers around the country.