With about 200 million people to feed, Nigeria is battling with food security and is yet unable to produce all the food it needs. Coupled with that, farmers still lose a significant percentage of produce from post-harvest losses because of poor roads, lack of storage systems among others.
Most farms are located in rural areas because that is where the land is. The markets, however, are in the urban areas and in taking the food from where it is harvested to where it is needed, a lot of damages happen to the produce. Studies carried out on post-harvest losses in some Nigerian communities show that as much as 20 – 30% of total grain production, 30 – 50% of root and tuber and a usually high percentage of fruits and vegetables are lost after harvest.
What if farms were located closer to the urban markets and farmers could cut down post-harvest losses by selling to the farm as soon as the produce is ready? Agritech startup, Fresh Direct, is making this possible through its combination of hydroponics and vertical farming. The company was founded by Angel Adelaja in 2014.
The container farms allow people in urban areas as well as people who have never farmed before to grow agricultural produce directly in places that are closer to the market. By using stackable shipping containers, the volume of crops that can be cultivated on a piece of land is increased exponentially. This allows the farmer to get as much as 10 times more yield using only 7 per cent of the land that would be required if traditional farming methods are used.
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