Solar Energy a Sustainable Solution For Tanzania’s Tomatoes
Tanzania is an agriculture-based economy with small-scale farmers dominating the sector. Most small-scale farmers live in areas where access to electricity is limited.
As a result, they don’t have cold storage facilities for their fresh vegetables and fruits. Nearly 30% of fresh produce in Tanzania perishes before they get to consumers. For fresh tomatoes, as much as 50% is lost before reaching markets due to poor storage conditions.
Evodius Waziri Rutta, Sustainability Researcher, Queen’s University, Ontario believes the solution to all this is solar-powered cold storage. Rutta spoke to tomato farmers, solar energy experts, and policy experts in Kilolo district in southeast Tanzania to explore what needs to be done to improve access to cold storage facilities.
His findings are that the barriers to uptake were limited awareness, the cost of the technology, farmers’ low capacity to pay, and consumer preference for non-refrigerated food. His suggestion is that practical policy interventions would include incentives to attract investment, payment flexibility to make technology more affordable, and greater awareness of the benefits of cold storage.