Project Description

Zimbabwe exporter cuts down customer claims by 7 times

Wiserow Enterprises is a horticulture producer and exporter established in 2017 to specialise in the growing blueberry demand across Africa, the United Arab Emirates, and Europe. Located at the Green Pastures Estate, Ruzawi Road, Marondera in Zimbabwe, on a 43-ha farm, with 173,000 blueberry plants and 30 ha of peas. In 2021, they exported 330 tonnes of blueberries and 250 tonnes of peas. Their current markets are Singapore, Hong Kong, Holland, the UK and Europe.

Packaged Blueberries in cold room at in Zimbabwe for export

The client challenge

Without blast chilling facilities, it would be hard to bring down their cold room temperature consistently to below 8-10°C. So, they would often dispatch fruits with pulp temperatures of 6-8°C. This is unideal for long transit periods by sea, as their fruits would often soften in transit. It would be worse in the hotter months, as it would usually take 48 hours for the pulp to get to between 8- 10°C. Due to inefficient cooling, condensation would provide conditions for microbial growth and fruit softening, lowering their product quality. In the last year that they used their previous cooling solution, they received 15 claims and had to pay the additional cost of destroying the produce, resulting in revenue losses.

Packaged Blueberries at Wiserow Enterprises in Zimbabwe

The InspiraFarms solution

To optimise cooling efficiency, they acquired an on-farm, cold storage facility with blast chillers and a remote monitoring system for energy consumption, and cooling performance. In 2021, they replaced their 900sqm packhouse to process more volume. The expansion included a new receiving cold room of 104m2, which includes 56m2 of receiving cold room and two pre-coolers with a dimension of 48m2, a cooling packhouse floor, through an air conditioning unit to keep it at a target temperature of 10-15°. They acquired an additional product holding a cold room of 66m2 with two forced air blast chillers to and humidifiers for each cold room, a set of key sensors, and a weather station.

The success story

In comparison to the previous cooling technology, they cut down their customer claims from 15 to 2 per year, by adopting an efficient InspiraFarms cold room. Through this, they have had about 120,000 USD in savings on claims. Before, it would usually take 48 hours for the pulp temperatures to get to temperatures between 8 and 10°C. Today, it takes them between 30 minutes to an hour, depending on the volumes and heat periods at harvest.

Wiserow has access to a remote monitoring system, InspiraConnect, a set of hardware, intelligent sensors, and data to optimize their post-harvest cooling. With 24/7 access to such data, they now make informed decisions based on data and are now in the process of moving their packhouse to an off-grid solution, using this data. Wiserow points out InspiraFarms’ technical expertise in product design and technical know-how of their produce needs from the point of harvest to deployment for transit.

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