Making the most of cold-chain systems

24 July 2012
ITC News
FAO and ITC workshop in Yaoundé aims at improving the use of cold chains in Sub-Saharan Africa’s agriculture sector.

What are the best ways of using cold chains in the agriculture sector in Sub-Saharan Africa? That was the issue at a recent workshop organized by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) in Yaoundé, Cameroon, with the assistance of ITC specialists.

The FAO workshop, held on 2-6 June, sought to provide guidance to national authorities, regional economic associations, financial institutions and other stakeholders on strategies for applying technical assistance to cold chains, but also looked at how best practices are implemented elsewhere.

The workshop looked at to what extent cold chains are used in the agricultural sector in Sub-Saharan Africa, but also at the challenges associated with cold-chain solutions as an integral part of the supply-chain support for perishable agriculture products.

Cold chains as a tool to reduce poverty

Another topic investigated was how to make best use of cold chains so as to reduce food wastage and how they can have an impact on poverty reduction.

During the workshop, ITC specialists provided technical inputs to the discussion and championed a supply-chain system that makes it easier for agro-based traders to learn and to improve their skills.

The inter-agency workshop in Yaoundé, which was opened by Mr Jean Nkuete, Cameroon’s Minister for Agriculture and Rural Development, was attended by 33 participants from Africa and Europe, and included cold-chain operators, producers and exporters.

ITC and the FAO will continue to collaborate on improving the knowledge of cold-chain systems in Sub-Saharan Africa. ITC was requested to launch studies in four countries that will focus on how to integrate food-packaging solutions into the cold-chain system. ITC is also to organize a technical meeting with trade-support institutions, packagers and processors to validate a new supply-chain service. This would be jointly delivered by ITC and the FAO, with the support from donors and the private sector.

Learn more about the Food and Agriculture Organization.