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Horti-Fresh:remote post harvest management

Solar driers and cold-storage infrastructure that remotely monitors stored horticultural produce in real time to improve their shelf lives

Photo of Sebastian Kyengula
21 10

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EXPLAIN YOUR IDEA

We consistently improve yield quality and quantity through real-time analysis of crop health, harvesting procedures, crop management tools and minimize post-harvest losses by buying horticultural produce from smallholder farmers which are then processed and later dehydrated by locally made solar driers.Solar driers and packaging helps to improve their shelf lives and store seasonal produce for which year-round demand exists in order to create buffer stocks stabilizing food prices for producers and consumers alike. We'll deliver to local markets via simplified cold chain logistics and install ColdCubes that will offer farmers and vendors with a flexible pay-as-you-store subscription model where farmers will pay a daily flat fee for each crate of food they store. Later remotely monitored refrigerated truck and tri-cycles with a detachable refrigerated/cold storage unit will safely and conveniently collect and transport fresh fruits and vegetable to distant markets minimizing chances of biological deterioration, caused by respiration rate, ethylene production,mechanical damage etc. The steps our solution instantly tries to address are proper treatment of produce including proper harvesting methodologies,handling, cleaning, sorting,drying and later adequate packaging. Our strategic venture is solar powered ColdCubes which will be used for cold storage in pay as you store model which will require collaboration with other providers including cold chain logistics contractors

WHO BENEFITS?

Income of smallholders will be increased by 19% annual rate until 2018 to reach $1.2 million.Open IDEO's investment will be used to increase drying, cold storage and distribution capacity to 750 MT annualy by 2021. The company will put in place a strong sourcing and distribution network of smallholder producers and customers through area tailored logistics and delivering it to major local markets via remotely monitored cold chain logistics and locally dried fruits from locally made solar driers.

WHERE WILL YOUR IDEA BE IMPLEMENTED?

Drying of fruits/veggies is implemented in Iringa and Pwani regions in Tanzania by buying horticultural produce directly from smallholder farmers. Later delivery to local markets we'b done via remotely monitored cold chain logistics countrywide.

ARE YOU IMPLEMENTING IN AN ELIGIBLE COUNTRY?

  • Yes

EXPERTISE IN SECTOR

  • I’ve worked in a sector related to my idea for over a year

EXPERIENCE IN IMPLEMENTATION COUNTRY(IES)

  • Yes, for more than one year.

TELL US MORE ABOUT YOU!

An agribusiness enthusiast, Co-founder, Farmer and an Engineer turned social entrepreneur .So interested in making engineering and social development enterprise blend by seeking to establish a long lasting solution to the over reliance on traditional horticultural preservation methods.

IS THIS IDEA NEW FOR YOU OR YOUR ORGANIZATION?

Locally cassava,potatoes and pumpkin leaves have been dried using local methods in our native area for ages but our solar driers have been selected as the technology that is the most efficient to the beneficiaries and to the environment in which they will be used. Our solar dryer uses natural convection to heat the chamber. With an optimized ventilation, solar energy is all that is needed. Vegetables will be exposed to solar radiation through a clear covering. In this way, the use of the dryers will be similar to the traditional way of drying vegetables in Southern highlands Tanzania and be instantly adapted to the skills and knowledge of the beneficiaries. Solar ColdCubes with a flexible pay-as-you-store model is an extension of an understanding of subsequent activities that smallholders do though indirectly by explaining to our team member specialized in bio-process and post harvest engineering she noticed smallholders explanation points out that factors influencing the rate of deterioration are temperature, the level of relative humidity, air velocity, atmospheric composition, i.e. concentration of oxygen, carbon dioxide and ethylene, as well as sanitation.

HOW IS YOUR IDEA UNIQUE?

We aim to be a vertically integrated business with an established horticulture production chain from seed to feed. We improve yield quantity, quality and minimize post-harvest losses by buying horticultural produce from smallholder farmers which are then processed, dehydrated using solar driers and delivered to local markets via simplified cold chain logistics. Our Solar driers and ColdCubes will offer farmers and vendors with a flexible pay-as-you-store subscription model. In preparation for storage, farmers transfer their perishable foods into our reusable crates, which fit neatly onto the shelves. Farmers will pay a daily flat fee for each crate of food they store. On-site locally made solar fruit and vegetable dries dehydrate and pack fruits and vegetables in areas with abundant produce. We directly buy, dry, store, pack and distribute locally made produce.Later remotely monitored refrigerated truck and tri-cycles with a detachable refrigerated storage unit will safely and conveniently collect and transport fresh fruits and vegetable to distant markets hance minimizing chances of biological deterioration, caused by sub-optimal treatment of the produce

WHO WILL IMPLEMENT THIS IDEA?

Sebastian Kyengula as a C.E.O overseing the latest pursuits in solar-tech.He holds B Eng in Civil Eng and experienced for more than 3 years in start-ups. Atupelye Weston as a C.O.O with Bsc in Bio-process and post harvest engineering experienced for more than 2 years in post harvest management cycle. Lunyiliko Komba as a C.F.O with B com Acc CPA (T) module E experienced for 5 years. Andrew Salaka as a Sourcing team Leader managing the post-harvest cycle from harvest to purchase by end user

HOW HAS YOUR IDEA CHANGED BECAUSE OF BENEFICIARY FEEDBACK?

Our beneficiary feedback tied the different stages in the post-harvest cycle as: • harvest • precooling • transportation & packaging • cold storage • display at the market We found that during these different stages, not only temperature control, but also proper and minimal handling of produce including handling, cleaning, sorting and adequate packing is crucial. Additionally, socioeconomic factors add to the post harvest loss issue: the lack of marketing systems, transportation facilities and market information are key hindering factors. Feedback after identifying an opportunity enabled us understand inorder to disrupt distribution in the city’s central business district Motor and human-powered tri-cycles with a detachable refrigerated storage will deliver produce to offices,hotels, restaurants and food outlets. Often, simply the required equipment, such as harvesting tools, containers, cleaning, packing and cooling equipment are not available.Also feedback revealed knowledge on post harvest handling and marketing of farmers and other actors handling the produce, for example during transport, is generally very limited leading to suboptimal treatment of the produce

WHAT ARE SOME OF YOUR UNANSWERED QUESTIONS ABOUT THIS IDEA?

We've experienced that in some areas acceptance/use of dried fruits and vegetables is still a bit low, we're considering strategic ways to change this norm. Also incentivize retailers be willing to sell our products than existing ones because of the variability of product availability and uncertainty of future market prices that the agri-tech products faces when producing our commodities based on market forces. We're uncertain about how will raise the capital needed to deploy this technological innovation as typically it requires large capital outlays, and consequently access to capital/financial markets is critical to the success of discovery and commercialization of new technology

WHY DO YOU THINK THE PROBLEM YOUR IDEA SOLVES FOR HASN'T BEEN SOLVED YET?

Out of 2.75 million tons of fruits and vegetables produced annually between 50-70% is wasted.Only 4% is industrial processed creating an annual loss of not less than $0.6 billion. Due to the lack of processing and cold storage's small-scale farmers are eager to sell their produce as close as possible after the time of harvest since the market value of fruits/vegetables decreases between 25-40% daily.While consumers suffer peaking prices during supply gaps and off-seasons driers can help to process seasonal produce for which year-round demand exists ,create buffer stocks and stabilize food prices. Later our pay-as-you store Coldcubes will revolutionize low cost renewable energy cold storage

WHAT WOULD YOU ULTIMATELY LIKE TO ACHIEVE WITH THIS IDEA? WHAT IS YOUR NEXT STEP TO GET THERE?

We want to see smallholder farmers attain improved livelihood/food security, stronger agricultural economy,live their vision and earn what they deserve.We dream of an Africa where Agri-Tech will be a necessity.Our part in the play is to build a dependable company that will empower a generation of energetic and ambitious smallholder farmers by helping them to prevent post harvest losses through providing farmers with real-time analysis of crop health, harvest forecasting and crop management tools

MEMBERS OF MY TEAM HAVE BEEN WORKING TOGETHER FOR:

  • More than a year

MY INTENDED BENEFICIARIES ARE:

  • Within in 500 km of where our team does most of its work

MY ORGANIZATION'S OPERATING BUDGET FOR 2015 WAS:

  • Under $100,000
  1. Post-harvest losses represent huge wasted potential in African agriculture, with valuable food crops never reaching the market. Mufindi Holdings Co Ltd aims to be a vertically integrated business with an established horticulture production chain from seed to feed.We purchase fruits from small farmers which are then processed,instantly dehydrated on site using solar driers and later we pack for value addition or we'll store using advanced technology such as cold stores which farmers lack, hence decrease post-harvest losses and provide assurance of availability of our product throughout the year.Driers and cold storage facilities are crucial to minimize post-harvest losses however, losses occur at every step in the post-harvest cycle, therefore cold storage cannot be considered as an independent solution to prevent post harvest spoilage but as one component that needs to be integrated in a cold chain network from the point of harvest to the point of purchase by the end consumer.The different stages in the post-harvest cycle can be summarized as harvest, precooling ,transportation & packaging,cold storage and display at the market.During these different stages,we'll address not only temperature control, but also proper and minimal handling of produce including handling, cleaning, sorting and adequate packing.Since adequate,proper harvesting and handling of fresh produce are crucial preconditions for long storage and shelf lives of fruit and vegetables we aim to  be choosing the correct harvest time referring to both the ripeness and maturity of the produce as well as the right time of the day, distribute harvesting mats or containers/baskets instead and train smallholder producers to not place produce on the ground directly .In handling before being put into storage, produce should be sorted and graded with regards to quality,produce needs to be cleaned, before being put into storage containers and entering the storage rooms. Dirt bears the potential of introducing pests into the storage facility and ensuring time span between harvest and the placement into storage needs to be kept as short as possible. Transport of fresh produce be done by cold room mounted tri-cycles for distribution and refrigerated trucks for long distance transport


Through on-site locally made solar fruit and vegetable driers we dehydrate and pack fruits in areas with some produce, especially of tropical origin, that are sensitive to chilling. A solar drier is a device which uses the heat of the sun to reduce the moisture content of a product such as fresh fruit and vegetables. With an optimized ventilation, solar energy is all that is needed. Horticultural produce will be exposed to solar radiation through a clear covering as our solar energy drier is a simple, low-cost technology that uses the heat of the sun to dehydrate fresh fruits and vegetables and extend their shelf lives. The solar drier can reduce the moisture content of a product from 60% to less than 20%. It provides farmers with an affordable solution in order to help them address post-harvest losses, increase food security and income potential. It also enables them to promote the consumption of healthy dried snacks unlike a norm where one has to only consume fresh fruit whether healthy/nutritious or not.

We later plan our pay-as-you store modular solar-powered cold rooms for 24/7 off-grid storage and preservation of perishable foods.Using ColdCubes we'll control the rate of deterioration by remotely monitoring temperature, the level of relative humidity, air velocity, atmospheric composition,molding, pests and other spoilage reasons which lead to quality deterioration, such as loss of water, thrive under warm and humid conditions. It adequately addresses the problem of post- harvest losses in fruits, vegetables and other perishable foods. ColdCubes will be installed in markets and farms. Farmers will place their produce in clean plastic crates, these plastic crates are stacked inside the cold room. This extends the freshness of fruits, vegetables and other perishable food from 2 days to about 21 days. .


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Photo of Chioma Ume
Team

Hi Sebatian!

Do you and your team have a working prototype of the dryers that you are proposing? It's not entirely clear from your submission. Also, we know there are many steps involved between harvest and market. Which ones does your solution specifically try to address, and which ones will require collaboration with others? 

Thanks!
Chioma

Photo of Sebastian Kyengula
Team

Chioma,
Yes we do have a working prototype of the driers as seen here 
https://www.facebook.com/956304897819432/photos/a.956306581152597.1073741827.956304897819432/956306441152611/?type=3&theater and here
https://www.facebook.com/Kilolo-Iringa-956304897819432/photos/?tab=album&album_id=956308481152407
and also the inner trays are like here
https://www.facebook.com/956304897819432/photos/a.956308481152407.1073741828.956304897819432/956309604485628/?type=3&theater
The steps our solution instantly tries to address are proper handling of produce including proper harvesting methodologies,handling, cleaning, sorting,drying and later adequate packing.
Later our strategic venture is solar powered COldCubes which will be used for cold storage in pay as you store model which will require collaboration with other providers including cold chain logistics contractors.

UPDATECANCEL
 Team
Sebastian Kyengula
Edited just now
Chioma,
yes we do have a working prototype of the dryers as seen here 
https://www.facebook.com/956304897819432/photos/a.956306581152597.1073741827.956304897819432/956306441152611/?type=3&theater and here
https://www.facebook.com/Kilolo-Iringa-956304897819432/photos/?tab=album&album_id=95630

Photo of Chioma Ume
Team

Thanks so much for sharing! Very helpful to see it at work! 

Photo of Sebastian Kyengula
Team

Thanks Chioma,
But thats a very basic version of it there are upgrades we will work on if we will get funding that will improve features including efficiency and capacity and still remain low cost tech appliance. We are looking forward for a support from Open Ideo to take this version to the next level
 

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