To maintain the quality of agricultural produce and prevent post-harvest 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 witnessed 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 benefit the local farmers not only because it will entail no additional cost for power expenses in storing their produce, but also due to the fact it can be easily installed in remote areas where there is no access to electricity.
“Like in other developing countries, the Philippine agriculture sector has been suffering from the high post-harvest losses. In the high-value crops alone, the losses can easily reach 20-40 percent (%),” Dar said.
In recent years, farmers in rural and remote islands are unable to preserve their produce due to a lack of cold-storage facilities, forcing them to sell at lower prices to the middlemen and loan sharks, often realizing lower than 50% of their actual produce value.
Many of the off-grid rural and remote locations of our archipelago nation, where agriculture, fisheries and allied activities are the main economic livelihood activities of our Filipino population, are suffering from unreliable supply of electricity, blackouts, brown-outs, etc. In addition, the increasing climate change risks and frequent natural disasters like typhoons, floods, droughts, etc., are exacerbating the post-harvest problems and pain points of our 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, droughts occur.
Appropriate on-site cold storage facilities can also play a crucial role in preserving our 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, with after-sales service, which should be a requisite for all agri-fishery equipment manufacturers, distributors and service providers. According to the agri chief, the collaboration of Next Agri Corporation Philippines Inc. and Ecofrost Technologies of EcoZen Solutions Private Ltd., India, post-harvest losses can now be addressed and prevented.
The two agri-tech corporations specialize in building sustainable post-harvest technologies to prevent losses and wastage, allowing food producers to maximize yield and profit.