Synopsis: Cold chain development program linking horticultural and fishery production
Safina Bibi is comfortable being a trailblazer. In 1984, Bibi became the first — and remains the only — woman owner of a cold storage facility in Pakistan’s Balochistan Province.
This is no small achievement in male-dominated Pakistan. But just as important is the fact that Bibi’s company, Safina Cold Store, delivers a critical service. The refrigeration provided by her storage facility means that farmers in what’s known as the fruit basket of Pakistan don’t lose vital income due to their grapes, apples and pomegranates spoiling before making it to market. It’s estimated that up to 50 percent of all crops are lost after harvest, a hit to both farmers’ incomes and the good nutrition of Pakistan’s citizens.
Bibi’s willingness to yet again be a pioneer is helping to address that problem. Thanks to assistance from the USDA-funded Pakistan Agriculture and Cold Chain Development Project (PACCD), Bibi dramatically upgraded and modernized her 250-ton storage capacity facility to more efficiently and affordably store farmers’ crops. Outdated equipment and infrastructure at Safina Cold Store meant that energy costs for storing fruits and vegetables were exorbitant. At the same time, old equipment compromised the quality of the goods being stored, which harmed the livelihoods of farmers, traders and the owners of retail stores.
Winrock, which ran PACCD, stepped in to provide technical assistance and an in-kind grant Bibi needed to install new equipment and modernize her facilities. The benefits this upgrade provided have been widespread. Improved and more energy-efficient equipment means that farmers have reduced storage expenses and that their fruit lasts longer in Bibi’s facility, which translates into improved income and less waste. A longer shelf life also means that farmers can reach a wider customer base.
For Bibi, though, it’s just another first. “Being a female in this region is tough, but running a business [is even tougher],” she says. “So to own the first-ever modern cold store facility in Balochistan is another proud moment in my life.”
Years Active: 2010 – 2015