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Cold chain projects in Africa

By Lizelle van der Berg, director – GCCA South Africa | All Images supplied

GCCA has members in 92 countries and includes refrigerated warehouses, distribution, and logistics companies, as well as academic, civic, and business leaders.

Photo taken during one of the meetings held at Blue Skies Factory & Juice Bar in Ghana, West Africa.

Photo taken during one of the meetings held at Blue Skies Factory & Juice Bar in Ghana, West Africa.

Firstly, let me explain that the Global Cold Chain Alliance (GCCA) is an alliance of four international business associations comprised of companies within the temperature-controlled supply chain and logistics industry.

These associations are the core partners of the alliance:

  • World Food Logistics Organisation (WFLO)
  • International Association of Refrigerated Warehouses (IARW)
  • International Refrigerated Transportation Association (IRTA)
  • Controlled Environment Building Association (CEBA)

It is through the World Food Logistics Organisation that GCCA members participate on international development projects.

Brief history of the World Food Logistics OrganiSation

Founded in 1943, the World Food Logistics Organisation (WFLO) is a non-profit organisation dedicated to the proper handling and storage of perishable products and the development of systems and best practices for the safe, efficient, and reliable movement of these products globally. WFLO serves as the technical assistance arm of the Global Cold Chain Alliance, providing training, education, and research services to companies concerned with producing, processing, shipping, transporting, and storing goods requiring temperature control.

Technical expertise

Over the last 20 years, WFLO has supported and promoted cold chain and cold chain associations in developing markets, bolstering cold chain systems in developing countries through research, education, consultations, standards development and association development/strengthening.

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Below is a summary of recent WFLO development programs in Africa.

TCL feasibility study in Ghana (2022 – present) USTDA

This study defines the opportunity to establish a temperature-controlled logistics (TCL) facilities network throughout the country of Ghana. This Project will prepare a phased development plan for a network of cold chain facilities into appropriate locations to facilitate the movement of perishable products.

Such products will include imported US agricultural products and pharmaceuticals into the Ghanaian and regional country consumer markets and storage opportunities for domestic export and re-exports. The grantee is an established TCL operator in Ghana and seeks to expand his business and presence in the country.

Cold chain commercial operations in Burundi (2022 – present) WBG

WFLO is providing technical support to ensure the safe and commercially viable operation of temperature-controlled facilities. These analytics will quantify and prioritise opportunities to develop a commercially successful cold chain facility in Burundi. The team is focused on delivering a concept design for state funded cold chain facilities and design and tender documentation for cold chain facilities.

North African cold chain analysis and training (2021 – present) USDA/USAPEEC

WFLO is partnered with the USA Poultry and Egg Export Council (USAPEEC) for a USDA-funded project in Algeria, Egypt, Libya, Morocco, and Tunisia. WFLO focuses on a cold chain skills gap analysis followed by the design of training and education programs to minimise the identified gaps in the cold chain.

Cold chain & master plan strategy in Benin (2020 – present)  Government of Benin

WFLO is assessing the market potential for temperature-controlled logistics (TCL) services and supporting the development of critical cold chain assets to operate on a commercial basis. Following a market assessment, the consortium will provide technical support to ensure the safe and commercially viable operation of the facility(ies). These analytics will quantify and prioritise opportunities to develop a commercially successful cold chain facility in Benin.

James Rogers, senior director of business development of Global Cold Chain Alliance (GCCA) at the Egypt Cold Chain Expo.

James Rogers, senior director of business development of Global Cold Chain Alliance (GCCA) at the Egypt Cold Chain Expo.

Egypt rural agribusiness strengthening project (2016 – present) USAID/Abt Associates

The Egypt rural agribusiness strengthening (ERAS) project employs a buyer-led, systems-strengthening approach to improve the competitiveness of horticulture producers and related downstream businesses and food processors by developing their abilities to respond to domestic and international buyer demand. WFLO supports the cold chain elements of this project with a focus on capacity building and the introduction of new technologies through demonstration.

Egypt market assessment (2021) IFC

WFLO completed a market overview of the TCL sector in Egypt, performing supply and demand analyses, and developing strategic recommendations for improving cold chain in the country. Ultimately, this assessment offers investment strategies to the donor to further develop the Egyptian cold chain.

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Egypt FAS project (2016 – 2020) USAID/CNFA

The Food-Security and Agribusiness Support (FAS) program in Egypt was a five-year project to increase incomes and improve food security for at least 14 000 upper Egyptian smallholder farmers across the seven focal governorates. WFLO supported the cold chain segment of the horticulture value chain, identified gaps and opportunities to improve infrastructure, and provided technical experts to support the development of cold chain technology, working primarily with the post-harvest and handling component.

Training and consultations focused on postharvest handling, cold chain management, packhouse operations, and the introduction of new technology such as solar power. WFLO led the first Egyptian Cold Chain Exhibition with more than 10 international companies exhibiting products such as doors, panels, and solar powered cold storage.

Photo taken during the Angola study tour in South Africa.

Photo taken during the Angola study tour in South Africa.

Angola EMP (2015-2019) USDA

WFLO received funding from the USDA to establish a sustainable platform for intensifying cold chain development in Angola through a series of capacity building activities. After completing a baseline assessment of infrastructure in Angola and identifying some of the critical challenges, WFLO conducted a study tour for selected Angolan businesses to South Africa as an opportunity to see best practices for future cold chain development and operations. In coordination with this event, WFLO also provided a translated reference manual for cold storage operations.

Ethiopia cold chain market study for temperature controlled private logistics services (2018)

WFLO prepared a market study for a private client to determine the existing and future demand and supply for TCL services along the entire value chain for several sub sectors including agribusiness, supermarkets, dairy, meats, quick foods, seafood, and pharmaceuticals.

Activities included a comprehensive analysis of the margin structure and economics of the value chain; a determination of the key constraints and growth drivers for these services as well as for increased outsourcing of such services to 3PL players; and recommended strategies which could be followed for establishing a new TCL service operation in Ethiopia.

Kenya market study for temperature controlled logistics services (2018) IFC

WFLO prepared a market study for the IFC to determine the existing and future demand and supply for TCL services along the entire value chain for several sub sectors including agribusiness, supermarkets, dairy, meats, quick foods, seafood, and pharmaceuticals.

Activities included a comprehensive analysis of the margin structure and economics of the value chain; a determination of the key constraints and growth drivers for these services as well as for increased outsourcing of such services to 3PL players; and recommended strategies which could be followed for establishing a new TCL service operation in Kenya.

PLAN Nigeria (2015-2017) Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN)

GCCA is a foundational partner of GAIN’s Postharvest Loss Alliance for Improved Nutrition (PLAN), which operated in Nigeria until 2017. GCCA provided private sector members for PLAN’s business to business (B2B) platform, sending members to meet with Nigerian companies for recommendations on refrigeration engineering, business and cold storage operations, as well as logistics.

Nigeria NEXTT (2012-2017) USAID/CARANA Corporation

The Nigeria Expanded Trade and Transport Program (NEXTT) supported the Nigerian government’s efforts to expand trade domestically and improve efficiency. WFLO supported activities related to improvement of the Lagos-Kano-Jibya (LAKAJI) Corridor and trade policy/trade facilitation support with focus on food safety.

Specifically, WFLO provided cold chain technical support, including analysis on competitiveness constraints related to infrastructure and services, and identification of priorities for investment in efficient storage, transport, and logistics solutions. WFLO’s long-term food safety specialist supported food safety standards development and capacity building within the private and public sector.

Mohamed Saad El Jai from LixCap with Rusty Eason, GCCA Technical Advisor holding Key Informant Interviews during the in-country assessment in Kenya, East Africa.

Mohamed Saad El Jai from LixCap with Rusty Eason, GCCA Technical Advisor holding Key Informant Interviews during the in-country assessment in Kenya, East Africa.

OrganiSational capacity

WFLO is uniquely qualified to successfully carry out comprehensive, high-quality studies and training on perishable product systems throughout the world. WFLO has access to technical and administrative staff based within GCCA offices in the United States, Brazil, Europe (Belgium), India, Latin America (Guatemala), and South Africa with affiliate associations in Indonesia, Pakistan, the Philippines, and West Africa (Nigeria).

Since 2001, WFLO has worked with donors such as the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC), US Agency for International Development (USAID), US Department of Agriculture (USDA), the US Trade and Development Agency (USTDA), and the World Bank Group.

WFLO has managed donor-funded projects in more than 60 countries ranging from USD7 000 to USD1.28-million in size. In addition to the GCCA private sector members who serve as project technical experts for postharvest, cold storage, transportation, construction, and refrigeration, WFLO has full-time project management and support staff skilled in international development, communications, education, training, finance, and accounting who assist in various aspects of project execution.

All Images supplied

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