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Off-Grid Cold Chain Challenge

Modern cold chain technology is crucial to expanding markets for agricultural products and improving economic outcomes for farmers, and increasing food security.

Cold chain technology is a critical component of modern agricultural systems. It has the potential to significantly improve livelihoods for smallholder farmers and small traders by opening up new markets for high-value crops, reduce post-harvest loss and increase farmer profits.

However, this technology is often out of reach in off-grid areas across the Global South due to its cost, a lack of access to reliable electricity and the wide variety of uncoordinated stakeholders in the broader cold chain.

The Global LEAP Off-Grid Cold Chain Challenge is an international competition that identifies and promotes the most energy-efficient, sustainable and cost-effective technologies designed for use by smallholder farmers and producers that can meet cold storage requirements for fresh fruits, vegetables, fish, and dairy products.

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The 2022 Competition

The 2022 competition ran from June 2021 - March 2023 and identified 12 best-in-class, affordable, energy-efficient off-grid cold chains appropriate for use in un- and underserved markets. The focus countries for the competition were Kenya, Nigeria, Rwanda, Tanzania, Uganda and India.

The competition received 24 product nominations from 20 companies, and 17 products from 14 companies were announced as preliminary finalists after a diligent shortlisting exercise. Ten entries in Nigeria (1), Kenya (5) and India (4) completed their field-testing stage of the competition, which was concluded in September 2022. Selfchill emerged as the top winner and New Leaf Dynamic was a runner-up, receiving US$ 75,000 and US$ 25,000, respectively.

The 2022 Competition was an initiative of the Efficiency for Access Coalition through the support of DOEN Foundation, IKEA Foundation, Foreign & Commonwealth Department Offices (FCDO) and Good Energies Foundation.

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Past Competitions

The 2019 Competition

Launched in 2018, the first round of the OGCCC consisted of two stages:

  • The first stage evaluated existing products or prototypes from around the world to identify the most promising technology solutions and business models.
  • The second stage assessed the technical performance of a shortlist of the most promising products identified in stage one via a field-testing process.

Of the 10 preliminary finalists selected to move on to stage two, six were able to set up their cold storage units on location. Of these, only four could put their cold units to productive use. Three out of four were local manufacturers.

An expert panel of four judges selected 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place solutions. The judges’ selections and the corresponding prize amounts awarded to each company are as follows:

  • 1st Place – ColdHubs - £75,000
  • 2nd Place – EcoZen - £50,000
  • 3rd Place – FreshBox - £25,000
  • Runner Up – Ecolife

The first Global LEAP OGCCC was a joint initiative with Energy 4 Impact, with the support of the Ideas to Impact program, which is funded by the UK Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office, and Power Africa’s Beyond the Grid initiative.