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LightFridge

A cooling storage unit/system that uses green technology to extend the shelf-life of fruits and vegetables in a cost effective way

Photo of Philip Tumwebaze
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EXPLAIN YOUR IDEA

LightFridge is a cooling storage unit/system that uses GREEN TECHNOLOGY to extend the shelf life of fresh fruits and vegetables. LIGHT FRIDGE employs, empowers and equips small holder farmers in rural areas through COLD STORAGE. The simple technology only requires a flow of DRY AIR and a source of WATER. Cooling slows down ripening and rotting of fresh produce hence reducing food losses, which enables availability of more food for households and markets, maintains the quality(nutritional value) of food, improves income generation along the food chain and enables the farmers to sell their produce at a better price. In Uganda, post harvest losses have been estimated at 35%-60% in fruits and vegetables which is a threat to food and nutrition security. In absence of refrigeration, fresh produce rots, most of which can't be converted to shelf-stable foods. 80% of the country's population is employed in agriculture and lives in the rural areas with only 3% having access to electricity, grossly limiting them access to refrigeration or cold storage facilities.

WHO BENEFITS?

Small scale farmers who do not have access to electricity especially those in rural areas. In developing countries, agriculture continues to be the main source of employment, livelihood and income for between 50% - 90% of the population. Of this percentage, small farmers make the up the majority, up to 70 – 95% of the farming population. Nearly 80% do not have access to electricity which limits the possibility of cold storage.

WHERE WILL YOUR IDEA BE IMPLEMENTED?

Uganda

ARE YOU IMPLEMENTING IN AN ELIGIBLE COUNTRY?

  • Yes

EXPERTISE IN SECTOR

  • I’ve worked in a sector related to my idea for over a year

EXPERIENCE IN IMPLEMENTATION COUNTRY(IES)

  • Yes, for more than one year.

TELL US MORE ABOUT YOU!

LightFridge is an early stage startup project based in Uganda. Our focus is green technology and affordable means to extend the shelf-life of perishable products like fruits, vegetables, milk, medicines.

IS THIS IDEA NEW FOR YOU OR YOUR ORGANIZATION?

The idea of LightFridge is new to our team.Currently LightFridge is still under production but it is meant to be used in the rural areas of Uganda where small holder farmers have unreliable(limited or no) access to electricity. Otherwise we have previously worked on other projects on separate teams e.g an RFID chip which is basically a live real time cattle geo-positioning system that enables the farmer to keep track of all his animals and their locations, any that crosses the defined boundary triggers an alarm.

HOW IS YOUR IDEA UNIQUE?

Unlike most cooling systems that use electricity or solar to operate, LightFridge is completely natural and only requires a flow of dry air and a source of water to cool it's contents. It is easy to use (user friendly), affordable and doesn't need any maintenance or repairs. It can also be used to store other perishables like milk, medicines

WHO WILL IMPLEMENT THIS IDEA?

LightFridge(The team): Roles; product design and development, user testing, marketing, Financial management. We plan to formalize partnerships with startup hubs, agricultural organizations and cooperatives, NGO's and women's development centers. Role; promotion, provide a user testing ground, mentorship. We have worked with the head of DFID who has been providing advice on scale-ability, presentation, and various tests to be done to prove the efficiency and viability of the product.

HOW HAS YOUR IDEA CHANGED BECAUSE OF BENEFICIARY FEEDBACK?

From our user testing with small holder farmers in Bushenyi (Uganda), they grow different fruits and vegetables in different quantities. The following product design changes have been suggested; -more size options of LightFridge to accommodate different user preferences -Incorporate compartments to accommodate different types of fruits and vegetables in a more organized way - Introduce an outdoor system to accommodate different power options i.e solar

WHAT ARE SOME OF YOUR UNANSWERED QUESTIONS ABOUT THIS IDEA?

From our field studies through user research and testing with the prototype, we learned that farmers grow a variety of fruits and vegetables in different quantities. Some suggested they wanted bigger sizes of LightFridge. How might we increase or vary the size of LightFridge without reducing it's efficiency? Some farmers wanted different power options like solar and remember that our target users are those in areas with unreliable access to electricity. How might we incorporate other power sources while maintaining cost effectiveness? How might we improve the design of LightFridge to maximally optimize cooling?
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Photo of Chioma Ume
Team

Hi Philip,

The Amplify team and our experts have some feedback for you:

May you share details about how this is working, where you are piloting and who you have partnerships with? 

How much will this cost? How likely are people to use it? I am not sure people will save for 2.5 months just to buy this. What are they using now, how can this be integrated, improve their situation currently?

Have you done cost comparisons to the other cold storage options like CoolBot, ColdHubs, etc?  The other ideas haven't scaled, is this different? I also wonder if I misunderstood something, if LightFridge doesn't require any power source (electricity or solar); why are farmers requesting that there is a solar-optional power source? Is it not very effective as is?

Hi I'm Steve, an agricultural economist who is reviewing your idea. What is the source of the flow of dry air? Will that require electricity in the areas identified as not having access to electricity? Water, in rural areas, often requires considerable effort to acquire. How much water is required relative to the amount of produce preserved?

Looking forward to learning more!

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