ASA’S WISHH Program: Moving Soy Protein for Global Food Security

Feb 24, 2023

WISHH sent experts to Nigeria to work closely with ColdHubs Ltd., a solar-powered food storage company. Trainings designed to make storage more efficient and reliable have also helped diminish food loss, a serious threat to food security, the economy and the environment. This also strengthens the market for U.S. soy. Photo credit: ColdHubs

Growing populations combined with civil and climate strife around the world continue to strain food systems. U.S. soybean growers can help address the need for more affordable and accessible protein around the world while creating more food-secure communities. Although providing nutrient-rich soy to these communities increases profits for farmers, the ground level work it takes to create these new markets begins with ASA’s World Initiative for Soy in Human Health Program. Perhaps nowhere tells the tale of this intersection between food security and new soybean markets better than Nigeria.

Although Nigeria has a fast-growing economy, it is by far outpaced by a critical driver of food insecurity—its booming population growth. The country is expected to top more than 400 million people by 2050, becoming the world’s third largest country. Business leaders in the country and WISHH partners continue to work across the agriculture value chain, establishing a more robust chain that can provide a healthy market for U.S. soy—and that also provides protein that can nourish a growing population.

WISHH tackles its work in Nigeria from many angles, including in sustainable food production. For example, ASA/WISHH’s USB-funded thought leader meetings support WISHH’s introduction to several industry leaders. One of these is the Global Cold Chain Alliance. GCCA, which supports temperature-controlled food storage, introduced WISHH to ColdHubs Ltd., which is headquartered in Nigeria. ColdHubs provides safer food storage with a twist: Its technology is solar powered. This sustainable model decreases post-harvest food losses, which are estimated to impact 48 million people in sub-Saharan Africa alone.

WISHH representatives and ColdHubs founder Nnaemeka C. Ikegwounu agreed that working together to strengthen the storage of meat—particularly fish—would be of great benefit to the country. As these market sectors strengthen, so too can their reliance on U.S. soy for feed.

This past year, WISHH sent experts to Nigeria to work closely with ColdHubs. Using USDA Market Access Program and Agricultural Trade Program funds, WISHH quickly went to work with in-country trainings. These trainings focused on identifying and solving issues to make ColdHubs more efficient and reliable.

Through these efforts, the ColdHubs were optimized for better energy use, with battery efficiency increased by 52%.

Importantly, the units decreased cold air loss by 50%, which helps diminish the loss of food. Food loss is another serious threat to food security, the economy and the environment. This two-fold solution also means a stronger market for U.S. soy.

“The work WISHH does in countries like Nigeria is a perfect example of how WISHH is successful at improving food security and in turn moving more soy protein,” says WISHH Executive Committee Chair Roberta Simpson-Dolbeare. “This ground level work helps make countries and markets more efficient and eager to import U.S. soy.”