Project overview

Fenik seeks to support rural smallholder farmers in the hazard-prone Southern Region of Malawi by increasing the shelf life of homegrown fruits and vegetables.The project aims to ensure better dietary diversity and to indirectly increase farmers’ income by saving on costs.

Fenik Cool Box. Photo by WFP/Badre Bahadri

 

The problem

Access to electricity and cold-chain storage solutions for perishable crops is a key constraint to increase utilization of fruits and vegetables by smallholder farmers and their families in rural Malawi. With chronic malnutrition levels at 37.1 percent, looking at solutions to increase availability and utilization of nutritious food is a key bottleneck that needs to be addressed. 

 

A man and women opening the Fenik cool box. Photo: WFP/Badre Bahadri
The solution

The Fenik cooler uses sophisticated engineering on a simple concept of evaporation to increase the shelf-life of perishables. The six litre (6L) capacity cooler is entirely off the grid, relying exclusively on water for functioning.

This innovative idea on a simple measure to improve small-scale cold chains is a first for Malawi and will provide a new opportunity to turn increased shelf-life directly and indirectly into increased income for families (both from preserving homegrown food rather than purchasing as well as providing longer time for selling surplus) as well as increase the availability of nutritious food.

A woman sitting in front of a Fenik cool box. Photo by WFP/Badre Bahadri
Flour inside a container
6 liter
Capacity
Household
300
Households
location
8
Districts
The way forward

WFP Malawi hopes to use information from the pilot to see how to more sustainably scale up production and use of a Fenik style cooler. A first step is to try to reduce the cost per cooler by at least 50 percent through localizing elements of assembly and manufacturing in the region. Another action WFP Malawi is exploring is the possibility to increase the dimension of the box for more market-oriented use rather than household level. Lastly, we hope to observe if the parameters for the current cooler developed for Moroccan climates are equally as effective in the temperatures and humidity levels in Malawi.

To learn more about the Fenik Cool Box, visit: https://www.fenik.io/the-cool-box

Meet the team

Kathy Derore
Kathy Derore
WFP Programme Policy Officer, Outcome Manager for Livelihoods and Relief
Michela Carucci
Michela Carucci
WFP Programme Policy Officer, Resilience
Rodrick Nkhono
Rodrick Nkhono
WFP Programme Associate, Smallholder Agriculture Market Support (SAMS)
Quang Truong
Quang Truong
CEO, Fenik
Last updated: 14/09/2021