Project Description

InspiraFarms Cooling technology drives Kakuzi’s sustainability vision.

Kakuzi is the largest producer of avocados in East Africa, currently exporting approximately 45% of the total volume of avocados from Kenya. With a large history in Kenya, Kakuzi has a mixed agricultural portfolio that allows them to mitigate the profit cycle risk. Currently, they deal with tea, avocados, forestry and macadamia nut production as the core of their business activities and are starting to implement the production of blueberries. Their avocado production is growing fast, currently at a production and export volume of 7.5 million tons, with increasing integration of more than 3000 smallholder farmers as outgrower suppliers.


The client challenge

With their expansion around avocados, macadamia and blueberry production, Kakuzi’s main priority was to invest in modern technology that would better the quality of their produce. To broaden their sustainability,Kakuzi intended to reduce emissions through cold chain facilities that met the UN sustainability standards, while saving on costs. Kakuzi required dropping the temperature from 25 °C to 5-7 °C. This required efficient pre-cooling solutions and an additional cold storage capacity that could accommodate inventory buildup, in case of logistic challenges. 

The InspiraFarms solution

Kakuzi invested in two InspiraFarms cold rooms in 2020, each of 100 sqm, with a capacity for 40 pallets—288 trays with 4 kg each. InspiraFarms then developed a single chiller-based cooling system capable of feeding both cold rooms. The cooling system included one thermal storage tank with phase change material (ice) that pulls cold water to both cold rooms through two compressors and two reductant pumps. With pre-cooling capabilities, through forced-air fans and evaporators, the technology could now cool down 40MT of avocado in 24 hours, with a total cooling capacity of 160 kW.

The success story

The advantages of InspiraFarms’ chiller-based cooling system provided Kakuzi with energy storage systems, allowing a reduction in the need for usage of diesel generators, and providing reliable systems with sufficient energy back-up for non-stop cooling operations. With this, they have access to reliable temperatures from storage time to transportation to the market. Thanks to this, they cut down on their energy consumption and pointed out that they noticed increased power efficiency, compared to other cold rooms in the market. The growth and expansion of their cooling capacity qualified them to increase their capacity and maintain sustainable and consistent produce temperatures from storage time to the time that they are being transported to the market.

In an interview, the Kakuzi team urged anyone looking into growing and expanding their export business in Kenya to invest in good cold chain models that are reliable enough to give sustainable and consistent produce temperatures from storage time to the time that they are being transported to the market. They also advised that enterprises should adopt more environmentally friendly refrigerants to save on energy and costs and increase their OPEX.

InspiraFarms Cooling will continue to support Kakuzi’s future growth developments with two additional cold rooms to be deployed in 2023.

Read the full client story here: InspiraFarms technology drives Kakuzi’s sustainability vision

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