Project Description

Lauetta investment in InspiraFarms Cooling technology drives 20 ha production expansion.

Lauetta Farm, an agribusiness in Zimbabwe about 40kms outside the capital, Harare focuses on the production of blueberries. As the first-time growers of Costa genetics in Zimbabwe, they aimed to export to markets in Europe and the far East. Lauetta Investments started a completely new, green field project in 2019, and in 2020, InspiraFarms Cooling highlighted Lauetta’s successful first blueberry export to Hong Kong, Europe, the UK and the Middle East. In brief, the enterprise started with 20 hectares of production and by 2021 they had begun their expansion to 40 hectares under production. 

The client challenge

Lauetta’s priority was to build a cold chain infrastructure as close as possible to their production areas, setting a world-class performance cold chain and post-harvest practices that guarantee the delivery of premium quality blueberries. With their 20-ha expansion, the vision was to be able to accommodate between 800 – 900 tonnes of blueberries and going to 1000 tonnes in 2025.  It is close to impossible to penetrate the market since a few hours of delay in precooling might result in losing over 40% of the harvested value to deterioration, therefore, the enterprise sought to invest in and efficient and consistent cooling solution.

The InspiraFarms solution

Their expansion packhouse is rigged with the latest state-of-the-art cooling technology, and includes 120sqm for receivables and a pre-cooling area, with 4 independent pre-coolers; 200sqm of the finished product area, with forced air-cooling to bring the final product temperature down to 0-1 °C before dispatch. Additionally, it has a new dispatch area of 50 sqm, with a loading bay and a pallet holding cold room to keep fruit at an optimal temperature while loading. The modular design of the facility can allow them to have a smooth and well-planned expansion to accommodate their double capacity in production.

The success story

Thanks to the return on investment in its first facility, Lauetta expanded its production operations by 20 Ha and resulting cooling capacities. Due to the efficiency of their cooling investment, the enterprise has received outstanding performance with low claims. With their excellent pre-cooling systems, they now have the necessary shelf-life required to travel around 25 days by sea, while still delivering excellent display quality to their destination on shelves.

With total control around key cooling aspects such as temperature and humidity, their post-harvest systems are fully reliable and have allowed them to reduce their OPEX by reducing their use of airfreight by 40% and shifting to the cheaper alternative of sea freight.

Moving forward, the enterprise is planning on loading its own reefers to go to port for its sea freight containers. This way, they would need to design a loading bay for their own truck and reefer. Luckily, the modular nature of the InspiraFarms Cooling machine means that they can accomplish this expansion and load their truck between 25 – 30 minutes (16 skids) on their own truck and a reefer that can accommodate up to 24 skids to be loaded in 45 minutes.

Read Lauetta’s success story before their recent expansion here.

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