• Farmers or traders access cooling boxes for less than Sh500 a week.
• The innovation helps to reduce post-harvest losses which is as high as 40 percent in some places like Lake Turkana.
A startup in Nairobi is offering cooling services to fish traders for less than Sh500 a week to reduce post-harvest losses.
Francis Nderitu, founder and managing director of Raino Tech4Impact Limited, said they have decentralised access to the market and cold chains for smallholder traders and farmers.
He said the startup company, Keep It Cool, distributes fish products from small-scale fishers to retailers in middle- and low-income areas in Nairobi, therefore connecting buyers with sellers.
“We are disrupting the fish value chain by introducing cold chain both on the production side on the lake as well as the business side. We make these cooling boxes affordable,” he said.
“Farmers or traders can access the cooling boxes for less than Sh500 a week. With these cooling boxes, we are able to assure the quality of fish from the lake to plate,” he said.
He said the innovative solution helps reduce post-harvest losses, which has been as high as 40 per cent in some places like Lake Turkana.
“By bringing this solution, we have been able to reduce the 40 per cent post-harvest loss to about 0.5 per cent,” Nderitu said.
He said they are distributing over three million fish meals per year using the cool chain platform.
They plan to increase this to over 10 million fish meals in the coming years.
“This is with the objective of making sure that nutrition is accessible for the urban poor. We have been able to package fish well and by the introduction of cold chain, it has been accessible to the urban poor through affordable prices,” Nderitu said.
He said they have been working with the Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN) to ensure quality.
"We are also a member of the SBN network where we have a peer-to-peer platform to learn from other companies that were there," Nderitu said.
"The quality process has been good, we have been able to introduce new ways of quality assurance in the fish value chain and that is how we have been able to scale this platform without major issues in terms of food safety.”
Scaling Up Nutrition Business Network Senior Associate at GAIN Maureen Muketha said they partner with small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to deliver safe and nutritious foods.
“We support SMEs in nutritious food value chains in developing profitable business models and sustainably bringing nutritious and safe food to market through the Marketplace for Nutritious Foods approach,” she said.
GAIN through the Keeping Foods Markets Working Project provided funding to the company to increase their resilience to weather Covid-19 crisis and increase supply of fresh fish to the low-income markets.
The funds were utilised in microbial analysis, procurement of equipment, packaging, and business development.
The funds cushioned the company against business shocks amid the pandemic and enabled the company to increase production and distribution of the supply of fresh fish products targeting low-income communities.
Muketha said GAIN has partnered with Raino Tech4Impact to optimise fish value chain and related products making them safe, available, and affordable to consumers.
“Raino Tech4Impact is keen on eliminating middlemen by providing end-to-end cold chain support to fishermen and resellers in low-income areas within Nairobi. Through Keeping Foods Markets Working Project, we have provided funding to the company to increase their resilience and supply of fresh fish produce to the low-income markets,” she said.
“The funds cushioned the company against business shocks amidst the Covid 19 pandemic and enabled the company to increase production and distribution of the supply of fresh fish products targeting the low-income communities,” Muketha said.