Kenya, East Africa
Off-grid cold storage
GHG mitigation potential (tonnes of CO2e/year)
Investment ask (US$)
PFAN Regional Coordinator
Kenya alone represents 5 million potential customers of the large market in sub-Saharan Africa for off-grid solar cold storage solutions, with smallholder farmers and cooperatives mainly in off-grid areas as the target population for this market. Nonetheless, cold storage in Kenya has a very low adoption rate, especially for a country which is heavily dependent on agriculture. Almost half of the horticulture produce in Kenya fails to make it to market, of which 56% of these failures is caused by post-harvest and storing issues. Although food production in Kenya is highly distributed, with approximately 5 million smallholder farmers responsible for 90% of Kenya’s food production, these farmers do not have enough income to invest in professional equipment.
SokoFresh, with over 50 years of experience and expertise in agribusiness, energy access, IT, logistics, operations and sales, aims to mitigate such challenges for Kenyan farmers through offering affordable cold storage services to Kenyan farmers and agribusinesses and integrating it with market linkage services. In fact, SokoFresh is one of the only companies in the market to offer first-mile off-grid pay-as-you-go cold storage with market linkage. With SokoFresh, more than 800 farmers have been onboarded and 3 cold storage systems have been deployed. The cold storage solutions are brought as close to the point of production as possible, to make it accessible and affordable, since most smallholder farmers are poor. Agribusinesses, communities and smallholders are able to rent cold storage facilities from two different models: a flat monthly rental fee per cold SokoFresh Left: Avocado from farmers in Kivute, Embu County to be stored in Sokofresh cold storage. storage (USD 8,800 total revenue per cold storage per year), and a rental fee per kg stored per day (USD 15,000 per cold storage per year).
SokoFresh is currently operational with 3 cold storage solutions deployed. The company has over 10 off taker relationships established, and 4 strategic partnerships signed. Current clients include wholesale market vendors, exporters, supermarket chains and social enterprises. SokoFresh operates in the regions of Murang’a County, Embu County, Kajiado County, Makueni County and Kitui County in the mango, avocado and French beans value chains.
PFAN supported project of SokoFresh is expected to link 100 cold storages, thereby helping 30,000 farmers, 50% of which are women, have access to cold storage solutions. SokoFresh not only aims to provide women farmers with access to cold storage solutions, but also increases women’s incomes through improved accessibility and affordability of cold storage enhancing food preservation, access to markets and produce quality. SokoFresh had the opportunity to present its project at the PFAN Cooling Investment Forum, and has been successful in securing grant funding to further develop its business model, while discussions with investors regarding long-term commercial finance are ongoing at the time of writing