This week Dearman visited Parliament to hear from David Beasley, Executive Director of the United Nations’ World Food Programme. His is no easy task- ending hunger faced by 821 million people around the globe- and the timescale of achieving this by 2030 is ambitious.

Beasley set out the key pillars of his strategy, including reducing man-made conflict that forces migration, empowering women, creating sustainable food security, rehabilitating land and supporting local economies. These ambitions are set out in the UN’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which were adopted in 2015.

Goal Two aims for “zero hunger”. Specifically, one of the targets within that goal aims to “double the productivity and incomes of small-scale food producers”. Central to this will be giving smaller farmers access to technologies that they otherwise may not be able to afford, and in line with the SDG ambitions, these technologies must not contribute to environmental damage. This creates ‘a perfect storm’ for companies like Dearman to emerge.

Dearman’s solution for smallholder farmers

Dearman is currently working to roll out a project in South Africa that will trial a mobile pre-cooler, powered by liquid nitrogen rather than diesel, making it zero-emission. Food waste in South Africa is estimated to be worth £4.7 billion annually, half of which occurs in the fruit and vegetable sector.

A significant proportion of this food waste is caused by farmers, especially smallholder farmers, not having access to technologies that allow produce to be cooled immediately following harvest. It’s a vicious circle- low farmer income already makes access to cooling technology difficult, and having less fresh produce to sell makes it impossible for those farmers to build up their incomes. Yet David Beasley stressed the need to empower smallholder farmers in any way we can.

Beasley also stressed a further priority of the World Food Programme, that while the UN was supporting innovation, any technologies that could not be scaled up would not receive his support. We estimate that deploying just 250 Dearman pre-coolers in South Africa could help process the 350,000 tonnes of fruit and vegetable wasted during post-harvest handling and storage. There is also a major opportunity across Africa, where the fruit and vegetables pre-cooling market is estimated to be worth £730 million.

What’s unique about the Dearman solution?

The unique feature of the Dearman mobile pre-cooler will be its use of clean cold, so technology that does not contribute to air pollution. The University of Birmingham compiled a report looking at how clean cold can play its part to achieve the SDGs. The challenge of post-harvest food loss is a global one, and as the Birmingham report outlines, “if developing countries had the same level of cold chain infrastructure as developed [countries], they could save 200 million tonnes of food each year or 14% of the food supply”.

Saving that level of food, and achieving the wider ambition of zero hunger by 2030, requires empowering smallholder farmers to achieve sustainable food security. At the heart of this must be affordable clean technologies, and David Beasley’s remarks served to reaffirm not just the global impact the Dearman technology could have, but that we are on the right track to realise that impact.

Louise Alter
Dearman Commercial Analyst

Richard Ward
Senior Engineer – Agritech

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