Each year during the World Food Prize Laureate Ceremony, celebrated individuals are awarded for their work towards establishing safe and sustainable food supply around the globe. During this year’s keynote speech, CoolBot was recognized for providing food storage solutions to farmers in remote areas around the world.
The speech was delivered by Mark Green, Administrator from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). USAID is a federal agency responsible for administering civilian foreign aid, and one of their missions is to help end world hunger. This is what Green had to say about working with CoolBot.
“One example, CoolBot. In many parts of the world, some of you know, farmers harvest much more food than they actually need, enough to generate a modest income, but they lack access to temperature controlled storage. And what that means is what they produce spoils before it ever gets to market.
Where they should be living comfortably, they’re barely scraping by. So last fall, Feed the Future called out to the private sector research community for help. CoolBot was one of the solutions we received.
An engineer in upstate New York figured out how to turn a regular window air conditioner into a low cost cold storage unit. CoolBot. His unit cost about $300 compared to $300,000 for traditional commercial units. An American company, Store It Cold, saw the device was a huge hit with small and medium farmers back here in the Midwest. They thought it just might work in the developing world. So, we collaborated with Store It Cold to scale CoolBots in Central America, right product, right place, right time, it’s taking off.
Now, our role wasn’t simply to pay them to provide their product. That’s what we might have done years ago. Instead what we tried to do was help them understand the local market and culture, and then try to use our connections to help them exploit the opportunity.
The goal for CoolBot, is to reach fifteen thousand small farmers by year’s end. That would be 15,000 rural farmers and cooperatives who, for the first time ever, will have access to refrigerated storage. This will help them keep produce fresh until it’s sold. This will give them that chance to do more than barely scrape by.
And the endeavor works because it joins the special capabilities and connections of each side, public sector and private, again to tackle problems neither of us can do alone.”
To read the full speech, read the press release here.