As we wind down 2022, I would like to take this opportunity to thank particularly our customers and staff of InspiraFarms Cooling, as well as our diverse set of partners and supporters for such a great year. Reflecting, I am struck, yet again, by how much impact we can cumulatively have when we do our jobs right, and the impact that our solutions can have. This year, proved further, that high-quality cold chain infrastructure is key to locking in the quality of the amazing produce grown by our customers and all the benefits this brings, including economic, social and critical climate-related impacts.
Industry investment: The uncertainty that global events have put on growers, logistics and consumers alike is, no doubt, making the business ecosystems tough for all. However, we are continuing to see innovative growers and larger investment houses focusing on and putting more money in the cold chain space in Africa. We absolutely expect this trend to continue in 2023.
Climate impact: The importance of arresting climate warming continues to become more and more urgent. While the cold chain consumes energy, the real impact from a Green House Gasses perspective is food loss and waste, which releases methane and has an order of magnitude more effect on the climate than energy. A high-quality cold chain that reduces food losses, from whichever mechanism, is critical to reducing the net emissions, particularly when paired with a grid as clean as Kenya (~90% renewable). Our calculations show that, adopting cold chain solutions can reduce net emissions by over 40%, versus the lack thereof such infrastructure.
Sea-freight: The transition to sea freight will continue to happen, with the pressures on airfreight, both regarding logistics’ cost and consumer awareness pushing back on ‘food air miles.’ Together, this is leading to increase volume and types of produce being shipped to export markets by sea. This is a good result for the climate and emphasizes the importance of high-quality pre-cooling and an efficient and continuous cold chain from harvest to consumers is fundamental, thanks to the long transit by sea.
Domestic market: The great news is that, as more global high-value markets continue to open for growers across Africa. However, local markets are going to play a role in the future value chains. Annual population growth in East Africa is as high as 3% in some countries. So, reducing food loss in domestic value chains is going to be key to meeting this need, and efficient cold chain is part of this answer.
Data: While we have always believed in the data-driven insights to understand and improve cold storage, this year, we have seen more growers asking for retrofitting services for their existing cold rooms, to improve their monitoring. In 2023, we will share new updates and features on these data monitoring tools.
Client features: We are proud to continue to work with such a wide range of exceptional growers across the continent and I want to say huge thank you to our returning customers who it has been such a privilege to grow with. Below are some links to some studies we have published this year.
1. Kenya’s Instaveg. 2. Zimbabwe’s Wiserow Enterprise
3. Kenya’s Bloom Growers
4. Zimbabwe’s Lauetta Farm
GLOBALG.A.P.: As part of our commitment to excellence and high standards we have become a member of GLOBALG.A.P. The membership will support our efforts to increase awareness around the urgent need of growing the cold chain, especially in growing economies across African countries.
FlowerWatch: In 2022,we signed a partnership with FlowerWatch, which represents our commitment to quality cooling for flowers, by meeting FlowerWatch’s quality standards, including pre-cooling and cooling efficiency. This partnership will ensure each one of our clients deliver excellence for their final customer.
Forced air precoolers (FAP): We have installed our range of precooling solutions, including precoolers across, not only Africa, but also to North Africa. The importance of getting pre-cooling right is fundamental to locking in the quality of the produce and getting the shelf life needed for sea-freighting fresh produce.
Aftersales services: We know the importance of not only the right design, with materials and components that will last, but keeping them well maintained is critical to maintaining the uptime. Our team in Kenya and wonderful partners in other markets have been key in achieving this.
Markets: We continue to expand and now have sold projects to 12 countries across the continent, adding 4 new markets this year.
Events. We had a great exhibition in Berlin for Fruit Logistica this year and are busy planning for another great event for the 2023 edition. We also attended Avocado Africa 2022 in Nairobi, IFTEX Nairobi, Farm Expo Lusaka, Sustainable Energy for All Forum in Kigali, International Floriculture Trade Fair, Trade Fair Aalsmeer at Royal Flora Holland, the Agri Cold Chain Summit 2022 in Ghana and many more.
The way forward in 2023
We are currently busy planning for an exceptional 2023. Put simply, we want to continue to work with amazing growers and customers across the continent who understand investment in the post-harvest and cold chain is a great investment for their business, community and environment. Next year, we will continue to work to design solutions that will balance getting the best results for our customers, using as little energy as possible, with IoT embedded to become as efficient as possible, to minimise the impact on the environment.
I would like to finish by wishing our customers, staff, partners and friends a very happy, healthy, Merry Christmas, and a fulfilling year in 2023.