Automated ripening rooms: support for a networked supply chain
Twiga Foods is a mobile-based supply platform for Africa’s retail outlets, kiosks, and market stalls. The company uses a mobile-based, cashless, business-to-business (B2B) supply platform to develop links between smallholder farmers in rural areas to retail vendors in cities. Vendors can order fresh produce from farmers across Kenya at the most competitive prices. The company works with more than more than 13,000 farmers, delivered to around 7,000 registered small- and medium-sized vendors, outlets and kiosks in the country’s capital, Nairobi and surroundings
The client challenge
Demand for high quality produce and added convenience has seen Twiga Foods’ popularity grow amongst Kenya’s grocery retailers. The company started off connecting banana farmers to vendors, but it now works with other produce such as potato, cabbage, mango, onions, and tomatoes. Twiga Foods operates collection centers across Kenya and operates a central pack-house. The company’s growth necessitated an expansion plan including larger cold storage facilities with climate control and ripening capabilities. The large operation required the use of energy efficient technologies and automated ripening features.
The InspiraFarms solution
After analysis of volume turnover and growth capacity, InspiraFarms provided a plan to replace Twiga Foods’ reefers with energy efficient and double high ripening rooms fitted with remote sensing capabilities. The cost-benefit of InspiraFarms’ ripening rooms is that they offer significantly cheaper technology with a 3-year hire purchase period, and pay-back based on direct energy savings, making it up to 5 times more efficient than their previous solutions.
The success story
Twiga Foods’ capacity expansion included an initial set-up of 20 prefabricated and automated ripening chambers, each with a storage capacity of 20 MT and fitted with remote sensing capabilities such as temperature and ethylene automated sensors.
The increased storage capacity and ripening capabilities have helped the company diversify its business and source produce from more smallholders further afield, making next-day delivery on high-quality fully traceable stock available to a growing number of independent vendors.
Now they have an efficient logistics system that limits Twiga Foods’ post-harvest losses to 5%, as compared to 30% at informal markets, and farmers who sign up with Twiga Foods receive payment within 24 hours.