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Dehydrated foods are the most cost-effective step to ensuring food security and nourishing our growing population by 2050.

Dehydrated fish,fruits and vegetables for longer shelf life, for increased consumption,for sustainable health and increased life expectancy.

Photo of Emeka Umechukwu
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Lead Applicant Organization Name

Aquafeed Solutions

Lead Applicant Organization Type

  • Small company (under 50 employees)

If part of a multi-stakeholder entity (i.e. team), provide the names of other organizations and types of stakeholders collaborating with you.

Green Harmony Nigeria Ltd, Lagos - Poultry, aquaculture and fruits production. Justin Wang sales at Guangzhou Kaineng electric equipment co, Ltd, Guangdong province China. Mango Ike sales at Foshan IKE Science & Technology Co., Ltd., Guangdong province China

How long have you / your team been working on this Vision?

  • 1-3 years

Lead Applicant: In what city or town are you located?


Lead Applicant: In what country are you located?


Your Selected Place: what’s the name of the Place you’re developing a Vision for?

Abuja is the federal capital territory of Nigeria and covers an area of approximately 7,315 km2.

What country is your selected Place located in?


Describe your relationship to the place you’ve selected.

Abuja is a city I love. Abuja has a municipal called Gwagwalada, located at about 47km from the city centre. There is a federal University located in Gwagwalada, it was here I graduated with a degree in B.Sc Accounting In 2000. While, in the University from 1996-2000 I developed an interest in Entrepreneurship, to provide solutions to challenges around us. Then as a student, I didn’t have any income so I came up with an idea to set up a sandwich snacks shop to enable the student to have a different snack to the regular fried ones they were having, that wasn’t healthy. It became a toast on campus with variants like strawberry jam flavoured, peanut butter flavoured, canned fish sandwich etc. And most especially it puts money in my pockets to pay for books, entertainment etc. When I reminisce those days I smile to myself. Abuja has enormous investment opportunities in the agricultural sector from production, distribution, processing, marketing etc. Abuja has a vast land that is fertile for agriculture, but as of today, 90% of agro products consumed in Abuja come from neighbouring states like Nasarawa, Niger, Plateau, Kogi, Benue, Kaduna. Abuja residents are made of civil servants, political office holders, Political aids, private business owners, traders, Low-income workers for the political elites and top civil servants. Also, Abuja is a melting pot for all tribes in Nigeria, here you find various restaurants and eateries that cater to the taste of its indigenous people living and visiting Abuja. Abuja Population is fast growing from immigration from rural and urban centres. By 2050 Abuja would be the most populous city after Lagos. Abuja is a good location for our project because it has a large growing middle-class spending money on nourishing healthy foods like fruits, fish and vegetables.

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.

Abuja is the capital of Nigeria, located in the centre of the country. It is a planned city and was built mainly in the 1980s, replacing the country's most populous city of Lagos as the capital on 12 December 1991. Abuja's geography is defined by Aso Rock, where the Presidential Complex is located, National Assembly, Supreme Court and much of the city extend to the south of the rock. Zuma Rock, a 792-metre monolith, lies just north of the city on the expressway to Kaduna. Abuja is a melting pot of the political class of Nigeria, top, middle and low-level civil servants, Christian and Islam religious leaders and organisations, private business leaders, traders, a complete mixture of all ethnic groupings in Nigeria reside in Abuja. Abuja is filled with restaurants serving the very best of Nigerian dishes that are spicy with pepper, ginger etc, the smell would keep your mouth watery, with a delicious taste that would keep you wanting more. We love rice in Abuja, which we eat with a stew made from tomato, pepper and other spices. We also love swallows made from starchy foods like yam, cassava etc We eat this swallows with assorted soups that are incredibly delicious like Okra soup, Egusi soup etc. Our swallow is not chewed but is swallowed in small balls with scooped soup with your fingers. Abuja's weather features a tropical wet and dry climate. Abuja experiences three weather conditions annually. This includes a warm, humid rainy season and a blistering dry season. In between the two, there is a brief interlude of harmattan occasioned by the northeast trade winds, with the main feature of dust haze and dryness. The federal government of Nigeria started developing Abuja in the 1980s and 1991 they moved the seat of government to Abuja. There was an incredulous increase in the population of Abuja, people from all walks of life came in, professionals, politicians, civil servants, traders, business. There is religious and ethnic diversity in Abuja, we have a fair share of Muslims and Christians in the city. We also have our various ethnic tribes well represented in Abuja with the big 3 which are Hausa/Fulani, Igbo and Yoruba. The prominent languages spoken are pidgin, Hausa and English. Abuja cultural trend is developing there is Nike art village consists of stone statues, carvings and huts with animal-shaped roofs. There is an outdoor exhibition space or artists and teachers who live on-site. About 90% of Abuja residents live in the urban centre, while 10% of the indigenous population live in rural area. Abuja agriculture is still on a peasant level, farmers grow mainly corn, millet etc. Abuja residents have developed poor dietary habits like skipping breakfast, increased intake of starchy foods and eating snacks high in calorie, eating outside the home, consumption of soft and alcoholic drinks and low consumption of fish, fruits and vegetables. This poor dietary habit leads to obesity, cancer, stroke, heart diseases, diabetes.

What is the estimated population (current 2020) in your Place?


Challenges: Describe the current (2020) and the future (2050) challenges that your food system faces.

Policy-Abuja is facing challenges with feeding its population, with high nourishing foods like fish, fruits, vegetables. Since, these foods mentioned above are transported from different states of the federation the challenge for distributors is to supply to consumers fresh products, which is difficult, with decaying government infrastructures like bad roads. Over 65% of Nigerian foods perish before reaching the consumer, inflating its prices. In 2050 Abuja ́s population would triple, the challenge becomes how to provide such a population with nourishing vitamins, omega-3 fatty acids in their diet. Technology-In Abuja, the use of technologies in production and distribution of agro-products are very low, so the sector depends more on manual farming, processing and distribution of agro-products. There are no fish, fruits and vegetable processing plant in Abuja. The challenge in 2050, is that we would have adopted better-automated farming equipment with a workforce that lacks technical know-how to operate it. Economic-Producers of fish, fruits and vegetables are the least paid for their products because they are highly perishable. Agro-products perish in hours, days, weeks. So the farmers need to sell off quickly and cheaply to reduce post-harvest losses. The major causes of fruit and vegetable post-harvest losses are non-availability of a ready bulk market. Challenges in 2050, would be having a sustainable, affordable and consistent supply of fish, fruits and vegetables throughout the year. Diets-Abuja´s high and middle-class income earners, love eating outdoors. Most Abuja residents have developed poor dietary habits like skipping breakfast, increased intake of high-calorie snacks, high consumption of alcohol, soft drinks and low consumption of fish, fruits and vegetables. This poor dietary habit leads to obesity, cancer, heart diseases, diabetes. In 2050, we expect more investment in fast food shops, which would increase refined sugar consumption leading to increased diseases and pressure on our health care expenditure. Environment- climate change is a key environmental driver. In Northern Nigeria where Abuja is located we are experiencing fewer rainfalls and longer dry seasons, this has an impact on the functioning of the food system. Our farmers lack knowledge and skills, on climate-smart agriculture. Abuja has a hot temperature, high temperature and relative humidity increases decay of fish, fruits and vegetables. There is increased pressure on land due to population growth. In 2050, we are expecting the population of Abuja to triple with increased pressure on land and water resources. Culture-These days in Abuja there is an increased number of people buying meals at outdoor eateries. As the population of Abuja increases there is a shift in diet choices that are influenced by affordability and availability. Till 2050, we are still expecting more rural-urban migration to Abuja, putting further pressure on land and water resources use.

Address the Challenges: Describe how your Vision will address the challenges described in the previous question.

The water content of most foods limits their shelf-life and make them more susceptible to storage and transport problems. Dehydration is needed to extend the shelf-life of foods without the need for refrigerated storage, to reduce weight and bulk volumes, saving the cost of transportation and storage, to convert perishable products (surplus) to stable forms to produce ingredients and additives for industrial transformation like vegetables for soups, onions for cooked chicken, fruits for cakes, binding agents, flavour, food colouring agents and to make convenience foods like breakfast cereals, dried fruits used as snacks. We know our government, has continually shown neglect to matters concerning its citizenry. As entrepreneurs, the responsibility rests on us to create solutions and better our food system. Our vision for addressing these challenges is by setting up a fish, fruits and vegetables dehydration processing plant. Dehydration preserves foods by removing enough moisture from it to prevent spoilage. When drying food the key is to remove moisture as quickly as possible at a temperature that does not affect the flavour, texture and colour. Our vision can drastically reduce post-harvest losses in fish, fruits and vegetable value chain in Abuja, making more nourishing foods affordable and available throughout the year. Our vision needs hygienic and modern processing equipment, with low power consumption, a green technology powered by solar power can dry foods in 14 hours, leaving the same flavour, texture and colour. To provide nourishing dry foods like dry fish, fruits and vegetables to millions of Abuja inhabitants, we need food technologies like closed-loop heat pump dryer, modified atmospheric packaging machine. Our dehydration processing plant would be semi-automatic, to give room for job opportunities in the organisation. Our supplies would come from neighbouring states to Abuja like Minna, Kogi, Benue, Nasarawa, Kaduna, these states are few hours drive to Abuja. Our agro-products can get to our dehydrating plant in less than 24 hours from harvest. We would also have our orchard where we would grow fruits like goji berry, dragon fruits etc to augment our dehydration plant. We would collaborate with fish, fruits and vegetable farmers, reach an agreement on how they can supply our processing plant directly, also our agreement would also include the farmer selling all his produce to our organisation. We would pay for his produce at a good rate so that he can afford to pay his workers a living wage. This would greatly reduce the influence of the middlemen who exploit consumers with outrageous prices for fresh fish, fruits, vegetables. This would drastically reduce post-harvest losses in fish, fruits and vegetables. Our waste from processing and dehydrating would be deposited in our compost bin to be used in our farm or sold to the farmer who supplied us, this has the capability of drastically reducing greenhouse emissions.

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.

The feeling of waking up early to avoid the morning rush and we rarely find time to plan or the meals of the day or week ahead. Taking into consideration the effect of pollution and stress on the human mind and body, at least one balanced diet every day is now more important than ever. Abuja inhabitants easily revert to takeaway meals, dining out, or simply eat what is easily available to cut out the time factor of preparing a balanced diet. The shift from current diets to healthier ones is likely to produce important benefits for Abuja residents health and prevent thousands of deaths each year. Our vision is concentrated on reducing the effects of post-harvest losses of fish, fruits and vegetables, also providing Abuja residents with an adequate supply of rich nutrients foods in proteins, vitamins, omega-3 acids, antioxidants in dehydrated form throughout the year. Our dehydrated foods contain 3 times the nutrients value in fresh produce. Dry fruits can be eaten as snacks, breakfast cereals and contain no additives. Our dehydrated products would enable Abuja residents to easily access and afford it because our product would be readily available in farmer markets, grocery store chains etc Our products can be quickly used to prepare any type of cuisine. For Abuja residents suffering from constant power outages or for those that don't have a refrigerator, our products can be kept in a clean cupboard free of rodents, insects for 12 months without spoilage. The challenges of distributing fish, fruits and vegetables in remote areas of Abuja with poor infrastructure are things of the past. Preserving food through dehydration is the most cost-effective step to ensure food security for the globe. Dried fish, fruits and vegetables are products of the future. A diet rich in plant-based and aquatic foods is healthy and environmentally beneficial. With our vision 2050 in place, Abuja inhabitants can be able to eat an affordable and readily available balanced diet daily.

Full Vision: How do you describe your Vision for a regenerative and nourishing food future for your Place and People for 2050?

Our vision of a regenerative and nourishing food system is for all stakeholders to see a positive impact from taking part in the system. For example, a farmer who grows tomatoes, pineapple for Aquafeed Solutions, we would reach an agreement to purchase all the agro-products the farmer grows.This includes ones that are imperfect and in today's farming system those don't get to the market.This would enable the farmer to pay a fair wage to his workers because we have agreed on a price that ensures that is possible. After dehydration and Packaging of our dried agro-products, our customers who patronize our dried agro-products would experience a positive impact due to the high nutrient density of the dried fish, fruits, vegetables and consume less food because their bodies are being fed nutrient-rich food.By eating nutrient-rich foods, we are reducing the amount of food needed to be grown overall. The remaining parts of our fresh agro-products that are not consumed like bark peels, fish fins and scale, vegetable stock will go into our compost bin.These compost bins are brought back to the farmer or used in our fruit orchard, where we build our compost and utilize it to grow nutrient-rich foods for our consumers.How our vision addresses these themes: a)Environment- Our food system vision in 2050 for Abuja, involves firstly dehydration processing and packaging of fish, fruits and vegetables. Secondly, growing fruits and vegetables that are rich in antioxidants and phytochemicals like dragon fruits, goji berry etc, so that Abuja inhabitants can get a constant supply of nutrient-rich foods throughout the year.During the process of dehydration, we have some waste from fruit peels, fish scales and fins that are thrown into our compost bin, we use to build our compost for our farm or sold to other farmers. By composting, we actively sequester CO2 back into the soil. We are mitigating climate change through agro-product waste composting.We would be using heat pump dryers, because of its low energy consumption for dehydration of our agro-products.We would also encourage our farmers to introduce the technique of crop rotation every few years.We would encourage farmers and consumers to have a compost bin, which could be used on their farm or sold to others.In 2050 people would focus more on eating and farming crops that have curative capabilities to reduce body inflammations, reduce blood sugar etc.These fruits, vegetables are high in antioxidants, phytochemicals to heal and relief certain illness.We would also encourage farmers we work with to use moderate poultry manure application, it has less impact on water quality, increases soil carbon, reduces atmospheric carbon levels and increases crop yields.By 2050, electric trucks would be used for the delivery of our agro-products. b)Diets- The Nigerian census board have predicted that Abuja with an estimated population of 3.2 million people can multiply by 3 by 2050.This is due to the steady immigration of young people into the city searching for a better life and being the seat of power they feel is a city where opportunity is boundless.Abuja is a city full of government workers, politicians, traders etc.The middle and low class prefer to eat outdoor because of the nature of their jobs, leave home by 7 am and come back late.In 2050, most of Abuja residents would be interested in healthy food style due to awareness creation on better health eating.They would be interested in vegan menus, eating more of vegetables, fruits and fish to build a strong immune system to fight off diseases.The role Aquafeed solutions would play is to provide rich and nourishing foods in fish, fruits and vegetable well dehydrated to have a long shelf life of up to 12 months.So that Abuja consumers can walk into any grocery store, shopping mall and pick our products at affordable rates and would be available throughout the year.Our vision focuses on creating a better food system in 2050, through dehydration of fish, fruits, vegetables and packaging it for our Abuja consumers.These foods are rich in calories, protein, vitamins and minerals.These dried fruits like pineapples, coconuts, mangoes would come in snack packs, we would also have fish fillet snacks in small and big packs.The aim is to make this nourishing snacks affordable to even children.Middle and low-class Nigerians love buying in small sachets and packs which are low priced. c)Economics- Presently agricultural sector accounts for about 12% GDP.In 2050, we are expecting the agricultural sector to account for about 35% of the cities GDP, this would be due to adopting modern farming techniques that would be available then, also agro-industries would be working on robots, semi and fully automated equipment that can increase production capacity.We are looking at a profit distribution formula of the producer or farmer taking 20%, the distributor taking 15%, the processors taking 25%, the retailers taking 15%, the food workers taking 10%, while the preparers take 15%.With automation in our food system come 2050, we would need employees with knowledge of the modern agricultural system.In 2050 I believe the number of females getting an education would surpass males.And females would naturally work best in a food system, because of their efforts in feeding their families.We would be working with smallholder farms in fish rearing, fruit orchards and vegetable farms, we would have agreements in purchasing all their products so that they can quickly reinvest into their farms.We would own our fruit orchard and vegetable farm, that is well irrigated in the dry seasons.Fruits, vegetables, even fishes are not available or plentiful or varied across the season in a year, also with the challenge of post-harvest losses in the fruit, vegetable, fish value chain.That is why a vision of hygienically dehydrating these foods would enable it to be plentiful, affordable, invariants across seasons in the year 2050.A living wage for stakeholders in the food system would depend on how profitable the companies are, if they are enjoying a high-profit margin, it is equally fair and right to make employees wage a living one.Our products would bear the fair trade label, to show we treat our employees well. d)Culture- The Abuja food culture offers a rich blend of traditionally Nigeria carbohydrates such as yam, corn, cassava as well as various types of soups.In 2050, we are expecting carbohydrates fortified with soya bean to make it proteinous.There is a rapid increase in diet-related ill-health which is as a result of over-consumption of calories, largely from food of poor nutritional quality.Our vision is to provide in dehydrated form foods that are rich in protein, vitamin, antioxidants, minerals, low-fat for the health and growth of Abuja inhabitants.Women would make 60% of our workforce in Aquafeed Solutions because when a woman thrives, all of the society benefits.The youths have to be attracted to the opportunities in our food system.As the opportunities in the white-collar jobs diminish, it is of great importance for our youths to build interest in Abuja food system.There is a need for training of our youths to various modern agricultural food tech.Our youths have to have access to capital, land, knowledge and technical know-how. e)Technology- Technologies that are beneficial to our food system are technologies for a post-harvest loss like food dehydration, modular factories etc.These technologies have the potential to reduce post-harvest loss in our food system.Technologies as using drones for the delivery of fresh produce, it is not a feasible project yet, because fresh produce is bulky and heavy. Technologies like food dehydration on-farm would be difficult because of the challenges of restive youths, no infrastructural facilities, low policing.What we need are smarter delivery and environmentally-friendly vehicles that can carry weight like electric trucks, electric minivans, electric bikes etc.Abuja is still a developing city by 2050, we are expecting to see more modern technologies in our food system, especially in the area of food processing technology, solar irrigation etc We are expecting more modern technology that uses low energy consumption and can be alternated with solar power.We are expecting more food technology in increased solar battery life, cold chain as service, solar irrigation system, recirculating aquaculture system. Where ever we would be sourcing our equipment, we must have an agreement in training and transfer of technical know-how to our workforce.In fish farming in Abuja, there has been an improvement in growth of the catfish, tilapia fish stock, I believe by 2050 we would have fishes we can harvest in 3 months.In the future 2050, we are looking at innovations like smart wristband dietician that can be designed for specific diseases, that can monitor and guide the patients on diets to eat and avoid. f)Policy- In Abuja, Nigeria the institution in charge of food are the Ministry of Agriculture, National root crops research institute, Nigerian institute for oceanography and marine research etc We are expecting them to be more responsible and proactive to the needs of our poor food system.We are expecting subsidies, grants and capital given to smallholder farmers.The government should give smallholder farmers a no-interest loan or single-digit interest loans.With government subsidies prices of fertilizer are still high, the subsidies should be direct to the smallholder farmers no middlemen or contractors.We would work with government agencies in agriculture to create new policies on actions for healthy eating, to reduce diet-related chronic diseases.We expect government incentives like tax breaks for low-income earners and smallholder farmers. Finally, the food we eat gives our bodies the information and materials they need to function properly.What we eat is central to our health.Food acts as medicine to maintain, prevent and treat disease.

How did you hear about the Food System Vision Prize?

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Attachments (6)


Fish drying video


compare drying with a closed-loop heat pump dryer and freeze-drying. You can see the quality of a closed-loop heat pump dryer is better.

carrot drying test.jpg

Drying test of carrot and cucumber

ike catalog-2019-new.pdf

Catalogues of Ike dehydrators

Executive Summary for Azu Dehydrate fish processing company.pdf

Executive summary of a startup fish dehydrator plant

Closed loop heat pump dryer Catalog-KINKAI-3.0.pdf

Catalogue of Kinkai dehydrators


Join the conversation:

Photo of Jacob Reiner

Emeka-san, We are packaging various food processing systems into shipping containers for easy delivery and turn-key operations in any country. Perhaps we can help you establish some dehydrating units in Africa? I am located in Japan and work with organic food importers as well, so any product you make we can help with export as well. - Jacob,

Photo of Emeka Umechukwu

Nice meeting you Jacob I have a few questions, what types of packaging do you use to extend shelf life for fresh and dry products, after packaging how long does the expiration last.

Photo of Jacob Reiner

Emeka, We can help provide you with vacuum packing equipment, which pulls all of the air out, so food is preserved in an oxygenless environment ( no food for mold). We also have a compact canning system, which can fit into a 20' container. I expect you get get shelf life of 3 years.

Photo of Emeka Umechukwu

Hello Jacob, it is a pleasure, please if you have a catalogue of your equipment and cost details, I would be glad to look at it, to know how competitive your pricing is. My email is

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