Our vision is to build a sustainable food storage system that will help reduce post-harvest losses and food wastage for farmers and sellers.
Describe your relationship to the place you’ve selected.
Lagos is the largest and most economically viable city in Nigeria. I have lived, worked in Lagos for more than six years. Also, having studied the business activities and commercial dynamics of this city, it represents a city with high untapped potential.
Describe the People and Place: Provide information that would be helpful for an outsider who has never been there and may have no context about this Place to better understand the area.
Lagos is the most populous Nigerian city and one of the fastest-growing cities in the world. With an estimated population of more than 18 million people consisting of low, middle, and high-income earners, Lagos is a cosmopolitan city with a constant influx of people from other towns and rural settlements. It thus has become a melting pot of cultural traditions. Though predominantly occupied by the Yoruba tribe, every Nigeria tribe and culture is well represented in Lagos.
Today, the city is rapidly gaining built infrastructure and regulation, enabling it to attract more investment and continuous development. Notably, the government is building a whole new urban district, Eko Atlantic City, on land reclaimed from the sea, and protected by an 8.5km sea wall. This project reflects the challenges of climate change for Lagos but is also a major statement of confidence in the growing city and high economic viability.
The topography of Lagos is dominated by its system of islands, sandbars, and lagoons. The Island area of Lagos separates from the mainland by the main channel draining the lagoon into the Atlantic Ocean, which forms Lagos Harbour.
Fishing is the major agricultural activity due to the presence of rivers and lakes. Though the city is blessed with big markets, the city majorly depends on the import of agricultural products and crops from other parts of the country and other countries. Harvest crops and processed food products worth billions of dollars are transported into Lagos daily.
Major manufacturing industries include the production of electronics equipment, automobile assembly, food and beverage processing, metalwork, and the production of paints and soap. Textile, cosmetic, and pharmaceutical manufacturing are also economically vital industries.
Challenges: Describe the current (2020) and the future (2050) challenges that your food system faces.
The Nigerian Agricultural Industry is booming and contributes significantly to the economic growth of the country. Despite the successes recorded, the lack of sustainable cold chain storage and logistics, inadequate crating, and packaging have negatively impacted the food distribution value chain. Perishable foods, especially fresh fruits and vegetables, begin to deteriorate after harvest. As days and weeks go by, they decrease in weight, texture, flavor, nutritional value, and suitability for consumption.
Recent studies have revealed that farmers experience post-harvest losses of more than 50 percent. In addition, farmers suffer substantial losses record during storage and a significant dip in sales and revenue.
Proper storage and cooling increase the shelf life of the harvested product. This problem is not only common to farmers in Nigeria and Africa in general. Food spoilage and loss is a significant and urgent problem, particularly in developing countries.
The most direct impact on the poor comes from the effect of food loss on the livelihoods and income of producers in developing countries for whom the loss and degradation of food lead to reduced volumes and prices at the point of sale.
Food loss leads to decreased sales, price volatility, reduced long term productivity, and sustainability for farmers and food producers. Consumers are at risk, too, as food spoilages could result in reduced food availability, nutritional degradation, health issues, including dietary deficiencies in children.
The world population is increasing and is estimated to reach approximately 9 billion by the year 2050. With more than two billion people to feed, food loss and wastage must be reduced by significant levels. Food spoilage impacts every person across the food chain, and sustainable food storage systems will help solve this problem.
Address the Challenges: Describe how your Vision will address the challenges described in the previous question.
Our vision is to build a sustainable food storage system that will help reduce post-harvest losses and food wastage for farmers and sellers. With access to medium and large scale food storage systems located at strategic markets and commercial hubs, and supported by efficient transport systems, farmers can preserve their harvest pending when they find buyers to sell.
We will operate using two key models.
- Our major and primary model will involve providing cold storage facilities and space for farmers. We will also provide storage crates, labeling, and charge fees based on storage space and time.
- In the second model, we will create a sustainable ecosystem where we can buy harvested produce directly from farmers, package, and sell to shops, supermarkets in the high-end markets in Lagos and environs.
We will use solar energy, a renewable free source of energy that is sustainable and inexhaustible. Utilizing renewable energy is a conscious step towards combatting climate change and contribute to sustainable development goal 13. We are committed to contributing our quota towards meeting sustainable development goals.
We will also introduce technology and artificial intelligence to enable us farmer’s book storage slots and sell their products to us. Our technology application will also allow sell and deliver the fresh harvest to consumers. Also, our app will provide analytics and insights to help us make data-driven decisions.
Our solution and vision will help reduce food wastage, increase revenue for farmers, create employment, reduce malnutrition, and contribute to solving the food crisis.
High Level Vision: With these challenges addressed, now provide a high level description of how the Place and the lives of its People will be different than they are now.
Food is one of the essential resources on earth. The quality of food has a direct impact on the quality of human life. Our vision will also improve the quality of food, reduce food-related illnesses, and inspire a new, sustainable, and functional food storage and distribution system. For farmers and sellers, it will help reduce post-harvest losses and food wastage.
Our vision will change the current dynamics of food distribution and storage in Africa. Through our solution, we will inspire sustainable food systems that support the health, wellness, and nourishment of our bodies, souls, and communities. Our vision is multifaceted, as it does not only benefit consumers, it creates wealth for farmers, improves food security create employment, reduce malnutrition, and contribute to solving the food crisis.
Full Vision: How do you describe your Vision for a regenerative and nourishing food future for your Place and People for 2050?
The image above shows a prototype of our storage system.
Our vision cuts across six interconnected themes: Environment, Diet, Economics, Culture, Technology, and Policy.
Climate change is a defining issue in our time. From shifting weather patterns that threaten food production to rising sea levels that increase the risk of catastrophic flooding, the impacts of climate change continue to be a growing concern on a global scale. Our solution will employ the use of Solar, a sustainable and renewable energy source. Our efforts will be geared towards reducing our carbon footprints that results in the use of fossil fuels.
One of our key goals is to reduce food waste. We will work with communities, farmers, intermediaries, locals, and the government to establish timely and efficient transport and storage systems. Our vision will ensure that the food from the field to the family safe and healthy for consumption.
With the global population expected to reach nearly 10 billion by 2050, changing climate, growing global community, rising food prices, and environmental stressors will have significant yet uncertain impacts on food security.
According to the United Nations’ Committee on World Food Security, Food security means that all people, at all times, have physical, social, and economic access to sufficient, safe, and nutritious food that meets their food preferences and dietary needs for an active and healthy life.
FAO estimates indicate that post-harvest losses can reach up to 20% for cereals, 30% for dairy and fish, and 40% for fruit and vegetables. Much of this loss happens because of a lack of proper storage systems and technology, limited knowledge in supply chains, limited access to markets, poor infrastructure.
Our vision is geared towards reducing food spoilage, wastage, and hunger while improving the quality of food from the field to consumers. Effective and sustainable food storage systems will allow consumers to access healthy foods with high nutritional value.
Farmers can reduce postharvest losses, access broader markets, and increase revenue.
Agriculture is a multi-billion dollar industry. In Nigeria, Agriculture contributes 23% of total gross domestic product. Statistics also reveal about 40% of the foods produced are wasted. In 2018, another report showed that Nigeria’s food waste had hit $750 billion yearly.
Striving to increase production and efficient storage and access to fresh, healthy, local food is key to strengthening the economic and physical wellbeing of communities.
Our vision seeks to address these underlying issues. We can reduce revenue loss resulting from food wastage. We want to build a system that farmers, policymakers, traders, agribusinesses, and consumers derive socio-economic value. Our solution will help a multitude of stakeholders to earn substantial revenue and derive a livelihood from food systems now and in the future
Our food culture is as much about our ethnic, cultural heritage as it is about our environment and the way our surroundings impact the foods we eat and the way we experience them.
Food is a unifying factor among people of similar cultural or ethnic groups. As the world grows and human interactions across cultures continue to exist, food will continue to adapt and change. Because food cultures are deeply rooted parts of our natural history that have evolved and developed over time, they are essential parts of how we support our overall health and nourish our bodies.
Our vision of a sustainable food storage system will inspire a health-conscious culture amongst the key stakeholders while encouraging the active participation of women and youths through job creation and capacity development.
Innovation is a crucial aspect of modern agriculture. One key factor in solving the global issue of food waste is leveraging emerging technology. Reducing food waste requires cutting edge technology, like better inventory management and improving and expanding the cold chain. We will leverage big data from the farms to track harvest, transportation, and food storage.
We will also introduce mobile technology to enable us farmer’s book storage slots and sell their products to us. Our technology application will also allow consumers to locate our cold storage centers where they can buy or have fresh foods and harvest delivered to them. Also, our app will provide analytics and insights to help us make data-driven decisions and improvements.
Through technology and artificial intelligence, we will provide a seamless connection across the agriculture value chain, and consumers can access fresh and healthy foods.
It the intention of the Nigerian government to look far ahead and beyond the present economic conditions to ensure a stable and healthy investment environment for the economic and social development of the country. The Nigerian Agricultural Policy is centered on promoting sustainable agricultural practices. It is also designed to ensure that the government’s goals in agricultural development are fulfilled in line with the set objectives and operational modalities.
The Government’s policy on Agriculture aligns with our vision to encourage a sustainable food storage system that impacts on the health and livelihoods of Nigerians. The government also provides subsidies to establishments focused on improving the Agriculture value chain.