Danish firm gifts coastal fish farmers solar-powered coolers

Women cleaning fish.
A section of Kenya’s fishing community has got a shot in the arm after a Danish firm M-PAYG funded their access to off-grid cooling facilities for their fish.

The off-grid solar-powered cooling appliances are in partnership with Worldwide Fund for Nature.

The two firms’ efforts have transformed fish farmers’ fortunes.

Globally, over 1.05 billion people among the rural and urban poor are lack of access to cooling facilities, according to the latest findings from Sustainable Energy for All (SEforALL) report dubbed ‘Chilling Prospects: Tracking Sustainable Cooling for All 2019.’ M-PAYG’s support to the fishing communities in Kenya is among the efforts advocated by global players to encourage countries to adopt sustainable cooling methods to combat adverse effects of climate change.

According to the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics, about 150,000 Kenyans make their living fishing in the East Africa coastal regions bordering the Indian Ocean. Collectively, they harvest about 187,000 tonnes of fresh seafood.

However, an estimated one-third of Kenya’s seafood is lost before being sold or consumed, due to inaccessible centralised cold-storage facilities.

Many small-scale fishermen in Kenya remain unbanked and do not have access to credit to invest in cold storage equipment.  Many of the fishing-dependent communities also lack access to reliable and affordable electricity. This resonates with the rest of Africa according to the report. The report notes that while population growth across Africa is averaging at 5.7 per cent, the rate for those at high risk is 19.1 per cent for the urban poor and 28.7 per cent for the rural poor.

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The rapid urbanisation in Kenya and the continent is also contributing to the rising heat wave.

“As the world rapidly urbanises and temperatures only grow, we risk a significant increase in the number of people without access to sustainable cooling,” said António Mexia, Chairman of the SEforALL Administrative Board and CEO of Energias de Portugal. “By 2030, the cost of productivity losses will be Sh200 trillion, and it will be the developing world that suffers the greatest “productivity penalty” as they deal with record temperatures and lack of cooling.”

The report shows that 680 million people living in urban slums have little or no cooling.

A further 2.2 billion in the lower middle class can only afford cheaper, less energy efficient air conditioners.

Brian Dean, Head of Cooling and Energy Efficiency at Sustainable Energy for All said cooling is no longer a luxury.   

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Off-grid solarFishingSustainable Energy for AllSEforALLM-PAYG