The Department of Agriculture (DA) has launched the Philippines’ first solar-powered on-farm cold storage demo unit in collaboration with Filipino firm Next Agri Corporation Philippines and Indian firm Ecozen Solutions Private Ltd.
On Friday, Agriculture Secretary William Dar led the inauguration of the demo unit of India’s most innovative digitally enabled modular on-farm solar-powered cold storage.
The technology was developed in partnership with Ecozen Solutions, an internationally recognized Indian agriculture technology company and modular cold-storage leader, and Next Agri Corp., a Filipino Corporation that develops innovative, sustainable, and affordable post-harvest technologies and cold-storage supply chain solutions.
“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.
“The key is making this facility affordable and sustainable, with after-sales service which should be a requirement of all agri-fishery equipment manufacturers and providers,” he added.
Dar said 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 that it can be easily installed in remote areas where there is no access to electricity.
“Like other developing countries. The Philippine agriculture sector has been suffering from high post-harvest losses. In the high-value crops alone, the losses can easily reach 20 percent to 40 percent,” said Dar.
He added that farmers, particularly in the 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 middleman and loan sharks, often realizing lower than 50 percent of their actual production value.