2 min read
12 Feb

Muni University, in partnership with Omia Agribusiness Group Ltd and Arua District, have unveiled a groundbreaking solution to tackle horticultural spoilage through the CoolBot cold room system. This off-grid, solar-powered innovation aims to extend the shelf life of perishable produce for up to three weeks, heralding a new era in agricultural preservation. 

With a total project cost of around sixteen thousand US Dollars, the installation of this system was made possible through funding from USAID, administered by the International Centre for Evaluation and Development (ICED) based in Kenya. The initiative is specifically tailored to benefit small-scale farmer groups and vegetable vendors, with a focus on gender inclusivity, targeting 70% women and 30% men across the West Nile Region. 

Installed at Omia Foods in Arua City, the CoolBot system has an impressive capacity to store approximately 4 tonnes of horticultural produce. This pilot launch serves as a catalyst for future expansion plans, with intentions to replicate the system in other districts within the West Nile region. 

Associate Prof. Simon Katrini Anguma, the Vice-Chancellor of Muni University, lauded the system's potential to significantly minimize losses for farmers, thereby enhancing their livelihoods.

Associate Prof. Simon Katrini Anguma, the Vice-Chancellor of Muni University

Research Professor Prof. Robert Kajobe underscored the system's reliance on solar power, highlighting its role in reducing operational costs and ensuring uninterrupted functionality. 

Prof. Robert Kajobe Research Professor Muni University

Razaki Omia, CEO of Omia Agribusiness Group Limited, expressed optimism regarding the project's capacity to stimulate local horticultural production and diminish dependence on imported goods. 

Razaki Omia, CEO of Omia Agribusiness Group Limited

Dr. Penninah Yumbya, the East African Regional Hub Manager for ICED, issued a call to action, urging residents of West Nile to embrace horticulture as a means of improving nutritional standards and fostering food security. 

Dr. Penninah Yumbya, Regional Hub Manager, ICED

William Bilea, the Vice LC 5 Chairperson for Arua District, hailed the initiative as a crucial step towards addressing food insecurity within the region, acknowledging the invaluable contributions of all partners involved.

This collaborative endeavor not only signifies a significant leap forward in sustainable agricultural practices but also underscores the commitment to economic empowerment and community development in the West Nile Region. The CoolBot cold room system stands as a beacon of innovation, poised to revolutionize horticultural preservation and transform the agricultural landscape for generations to come

However West Nile region is known for its frequent power interruptions, exacerbated by its lack of connection to the national grid. Consequently, the area relies heavily on alternative grids, which often incur significant expenses.

By Matata Benzamin, dailyWestnile.info
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