By Oludele Taiwo
Ecotutu, a startup accelerating off-grid solutions, has launched a 20-metric tonne solar-powered cold chain infrastructure in the Mile 12 Market, Lagos in order to reduce food loss and tackle the nation’s post-harvest losses. Founder and Chief Executive of Ecotutu, Babajide Oluwase, while speaking at the launch, said Ecotutu’s investment in tackling post-harvest losses in the fruits and vegetable value chain is critical to Nigeria’s future, stating that the startup is also providing jobs for women and youths employed at each cold room facility deployed.
He disclosed that Ecotutu plans to deploy the same technology across major markets in the country within the next 18 to 20 months to ensure that perishable produce are properly preserved with their quality retained. According to him, “The launch of our solar-powered cold room at the heart of the market is the beginning of a lot of interest that Ecotutu is looking to do within the Mile 12 Market. We provide cold storage services and logistics for farmers, traders and aggregators and ensure that they get the value of their fresh produce and prevent the bulk of it going to waste as is the case today”, he said.
“For every Ecotutu cold room storage facility we set up, we employ two persons. And we are targeting women and youths. We also train them in our data management tech for the food we store”, he said. Lagos Commissioner for Agriculture, Abisola Olusanya, said the launch of the cold room in the Mile 12 Market by Ecotutu was phenomenal and future-thinking, noting that markets were the last point in the food systems and should not be taken for granted. She said the country’s post-harvest losses remained high owing to inappropriate cold storage solutions, adding that the state government was seeking partnerships to tackle the problem.
The Chairman of the Mile 12 Market, Shehu Jubril, while appreciating the firm for choosing the market for the launch of the cold storage facility, said that the association would continue to support the initiative. He added that it would help reduce post-harvest loss in the market as traders can now properly store their perishables under the right temperature. The Public Affairs Officer at the United States Consulate appreciated the founder of Ecotutu, who is a 2022 Mandela Washington Fellow, for giving back to society by ensuring that farmers and traders can preserve their perishable produce. The Deputy Consul-General of The Netherlands Consulate, Lagos, Leonie Van der Stijl, said, “We are pleased to see Ecotutu launching this initiative. Ecotutu is one of the beneficiaries of an incubation programme we have sponsored in The Netherlands – Orange Corners helped to develop the business case and it is so good to see it blossom and launched to ensure that we reduce postharvest loss”, he added.