National stakeholder workshop in Kenya: promoting sustainable energy technology


“Cooling technologies in the milk and vegetable value chain can improve food quality and reduce waste and spoilage, thus creating value added along the value chain” explained Stefania Bracco a FAO expert in energy-smart food.

On the 20 July 2017, INVESTA’s (Investing in Energy Sustainable Technologies in the Agrifood sector) final national stakeholder workshop was held in Nairobi. It was an opportunity to present the project, lessons learned in Kenya and to share preliminary results with stakeholders from the public, private and financial sector. Participants also discussed follow-up activities to develop the different sustainable energy technologies.  

The meeting was organized by FAO and GIZ (Gesellschaft für Internazionale Zusammenarbeit) who fund the project.  FAO initiated the INVESTA project in 2015 to support new and sustainable approaches to accelerate the development of clean energy solutions in agri-business in developing countries. The project is funded by the GIZ and has contributed to the international initiative Powering agriculture – an energy grand challenge for development.

In Kenya, the INVESTA project has been assessing costs and benefits of introducing technologies in the milk and vegetable value chains. Technologies have included both solar and biogas technologies:

  • biogas for power from manure
  • biogas-powered domestic milk chillers
  • solar milk coolers
  • solar cold storage for vegetables
  • solar water pumping for vegetables

“Cooling on farm or at the first collection level has potential to improve the incomes and livelihoods of farmers and of a multitude of farmer societies and unions” said Ms Bracco who went on to explain that “…in the vegetable value chain, there is huge potential for solar irrigation since many smallholders rely on rain-fed agriculture and therefore have very low productivity in the dry season”.

The INVESTA project has developed a methodology applicable to energy technologies in food value chains, analyzing their financial, economic, social and environmental costs and benefits. This approach has been applied to specific technologies in the milk, vegetable and rice value chains.

The methodology has so far been piloted in four countries (Kenya, Philippines, Tanzania and Tunisia). In each pilot country, the project has organized a national stakeholder workshop.  Results from the four country workshops will be reported in a study currently under development and will result in recommendations for financing institutions and governments that want to support the introduction of sustainable energy interventions in the agrifood chain. These findings will then be presented at an international meeting at FAO Headquarters in November 2017.

Further reading: Opportunities for Agri-Food Chains to become Energy-Smart