Filai is a method for optimal utilization by local farmers, traders and MSMES, used to preserve vegetables and crops. It is an innovative power free and affordable approach towards addressing post-harvest losses
Conceptualization of Idea
In 2022 Heman Gabriel Zakaria a final year Agricultural student at Babcock University, having passion for finding solutions to problems around agriculture and food security, this passion was directed toward addressing the issue of food insecurity, and led to the initiation of a research on boosting agricultural productivity and mitigating post-harvest losses experienced by farmers in Nigeria and Africa as a continent which happens to be the major occupation practised in the continent.
Agriculture is the most important component of human life and livelihood, but it is been impaired by extreme climatic conditions, insecurity (in most part of Northern Nigeria), bad road networks, lack of access to market, high cost of farm inputs, epileptic power supply, poor farming practices and lack of storage facilities which jointly culminate and result in poor output and high post-harvest losses.
In a bid to address the high level of post-harvest losses experience by farmers of perishable produce, Heman Gabriel Zakaria embarked on a study in 2019 aimed at developing a method of preservation of tomato in a power free way that will be inexpensive and affordable for farmers.
The first innovation developed was preservation of tomato in wooden crates, but this process has since been put on hold after the assessment of available resources at my disposal and the limited nature of the innovation which focus on only tomato. This therefore led to further study, online research and consultation and birthed the second innovation (FILAI) in line with the aim of vegetables at heart.
FILAI is a local cooling technology that preserves perishable agricultural products, it is a ‘zero energy technology and an inexpensive way of keeping vegetables and fruits’ fresh without the use of electricity.
Perishable foods such as fruits and vegetables, dairy, fish and meat products have a limited shelf life after harvest or production. The delay before they become unmarketable or inedible depends on the food product itself and a number of environmental factors. “The temperature generally has the greatest impact on the shelf life of perishable food”.
The Filai innovation is a local cooling technology that preserves perishable agricultural products; it is a ‘zero energy technology which is a simple and inexpensive way of keeping vegetables’ fresh without the use of electricity. The Filai technology uses 2 basic materials which are clay and sandy soils
Present Need of Filai
As Nigeria and the world battles food insecurity, it is important that the issue of post-harvest losses is address and reduced. The Filai Innovation / technology mitigates the problem of post-harvest losses experienced by farmers and market glut experienced by traders which reduce post-harvest losses and increase profitability at both ends and ensuring food security.
Filai Technology Functioning and Duration of Preservation
In the Filai innovation the evaporation of water from the surface removes heat, creating a cooling effect which can improve vegetable storage and shelf life of the following:
Filai technology is able to preserve in fresh state tomato, carrots, cucumber for 23 to 30 days (3 to 4 weeks),
Filai technology is able to preserve in fresh state green beans, bell and fresh pepper, okra for 19 to 23 days (3 weeks)
Filai technology is able to preserve in fresh state leafy vegetables for 7 to 11 days (1 to 1½ weeks).
And many other products are been experimented on like, fruits and tubers
General Benefits of Using Filai Technology:
Power free and affordable
Does not cause cold injuries on your produce
Due to labour, construction and technicalities of the innovation male gender engagement are mostly high, while as a result of the flexibility of the maintenance, the female gender can easily manage, operate and monitor activities carried out in this technology.
Profitable as a business venture
Requirement for Expansion and Mass Production
For expansion and mass production, funding, financial assistance, donations from both local and international organizations are needed to achieve the purpose for the development of this innovative technology, Government likewise can invest and fund this project.
As Nigeria and the world battles food insecurity, it is important that the issue of post-harvest losses is address and reduced, the Filai Innovation / technology mitigates the problem of post-harvest losses experienced by farmers and market glut experienced by traders which reduce post-harvest losses and increase profitability at both ends and ensuring food security.
The losses from the problem ridden value chain could be reduced; this could be used to improve production of tomatoes, perishable vegetable crops and all other fruit vegetables in Nigeria and indeed Africa, through an improved process technology to reduce the losses arising due to the perishability of the harvested product.
Filai is a profitable venture for Farmers, Government, Private Investors, Traders, Cooperate Organization and MSMEs with reasonable return on investment within the shortest possible time.