DA launches solar-powered cold storage facility

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The Department of Agriculture (DA) has launched the “first-ever” solar-powered cold storage facilities in the Philippines, which would be built in the country’s food production areas.

The DA’s program, to be done in partnership with Next Agri Corporation Philippines, Inc. and Ecofrost Technologies India, aims for farmers to maintain the quality of agricultural produce and prevent post-harvest losses, so they could have a decent income from their yield.

On Friday, Agriculture Sec. William Dar attended at the department’s training center the demonstration of the demo unit of India’s most innovative digitally-enabled modular on-farm solar-powered cold storage.

“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 in a statement.

He added that the solar-powered unit will entail no additional cost for power expenses in storing their produce, and can be easily installed in remote areas without access to electricity.

“Like in other developing countries, the Philippine agriculture sector has been suffering from high post-harvest losses. In high-value crops alone, the losses can easily reach 20-40%,” Dar said.

In recent years, farmers in rural and remote islands have been unable to preserve their produce due to a lack of cold-storage facilities, forcing them to sell at lower prices to middlemen and loan sharks, and often getting lower than 50% of their actual produce value.

Many off-grid rural and remote areas, where agriculture, fisheries, and allied activities are the main livelihood, are suffering from unreliable supply of electricity and power outages.

In addition, the increasing climate change risks and frequent natural disasters like typhoons, floods, droughts, etc., are exacerbating post-harvest problems and pain points of small farmers.

On-site cold-storage facilities will help build resilient Filipino farming communities in reducing food and income losses when natural disasters like typhoons, floods, and droughts occur. Appropriate on-site cold storage facilities can also play a crucial role in preserving farmers’ produce, increasing their income, ensuring food security and export-competitiveness of our nation.

Before the launch of the solar-powered cold storage facilities, Dar witnessed the opening of Citicore Power’s agro-solar farm project in Tarlac City.