The mission of ACES is to accelerate the uptake of sustainable cooling and cold-chain solutions in the agriculture and health sectors in Africa, improving livelihoods, health, food and nutritional security, bringing integrated environmental, social and economic development.

Globally, 526 million tonnes (12% of total food production) are lost due to lack of cold-chain, enough to feed ~1 billion people. Similarly, 25% of vaccines are wasted globally due to failures within cold-chains; more than 1.5 million people globally die from vaccine-preventable diseases each year.

At the same time, 4% of global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions are caused by cold chains and lost food. Conventional cooling technologies are highly polluting due to the climate impact of refrigerants Hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) and the indirect emissions from energy use. They account for 7% of all global GHG emissions, warming the planet and contributing to their own demand. Global cooling emissions could double by 2030, and triple by 2100.  Existing cold-chain technologies represent 1/3 of HFC emissions and, given projected growth in demand, will increase proportionately by 2050 without action.

Rwanda – an example

  • 73% of the total workforce in Rwanda are employed in agriculture (this percentage is higher for the female workforce with 82%, compared to males with 63% being employed in agriculture) contributing to 24% GDP.
  • Agriculture in Rwanda is dominated by six million small and marginal farmers; cultivated land per family farm is 0.6ha.
  • According to the World Bank, food losses represents 12% annual GDP.
  • 96% of farmers living in the vicinity of the cold rooms  don’t use them including 10 solar powered cold storage facilities built across SAIP sites.
  • Only 5% of firms in the food and agriculture sector have refrigerated trucks, while 9% have a cold room to store fresh produce. For small and marginal farmers, where the majority of post-harvest food losses occur, functional cold chains are completely absent (less than 1% of cold-chain capacity).

Farmer cash and credit constraints combined with lack of customer-centric business model to enable uptake – Rwanda, 62% cannot afford cooling technology due to high initial investments.