InspiraFarms provides first mile distribution technology in countries around the world: Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda, Mozambique, Zimbabwe, South Africa, Mexico and India. With services and products exclusively aimed at emerging markets.
There are three core components to the company’s products:
“We construct blocks of 5m2 x 5m2 which are modular infrastructures (first mile) cold storages and packhouses for fresh fruit and vegetables,” explains Co-founder and Technical Director Michele Bruni. “So from a very small field-based unit of 25m2 to constructions of over 1000m2 using the same type of modular structures. We also have a range of refrigeration machinery from the more traditional direct expansion to machines with thermal storage that can work on hybrid solar technology or totally off grid. We can deploy the units in areas where the grid is weak or totally absent. The third component is an IOT component that basically measures the energy and the conditions within and outside the packhouse to allow remote monitoring.”
“We started by selling the equipment directly, then we also offered hire purchase with a 3-5 years payback period and we now are doing some pilots with the idea of setting up our own cold rooms or packhouses. This may just be with one client if the volume is there or identifying where the hot spots are or which areas are more promising from an output point of view.”
Michele points out that in East and Southern Africa there have been millions of new seedings of berries and avocados planted and there are just a few packhouses. “We see this as a good opportunity to invest in our own packhouses with a pay-as-you-chill model rather than just selling the infrastructure, this will make it more accessible to growers as there will only be a small or no investment involved for the growers.”
Logistics in these areas can be challenging but at the same time it is fairly impressive to see that people can get a reefer almost anywhere. “We are establishing partnerships with logistics companies, our clients often already have partnerships but we are in discussions with logistics companies to extend the coverage that we can offer.”
The company offers a high standard of equipment and materials compared to what is normally available to source in Africa as they provide the most efficient compressors and machines, which are all the sourced in Europe, 90% from Italy.
“There are many countries around the world, including Africa where the day and night tariffs are different and while the cooling might be needed during the day you can have the machines working through the night and build large thermal storages with a low quantity of current and power and use the thermal storage accumulated during the night to cool the produce during the day. This can also be used off-grid.”
Because our all of the products adhere to European standards they already conform to the standards of the countries where we have operations.
InspiraFarm’s clients are typically SME, normally the exporters or aggregators people who might have a large farm plus a network of out-growers, multiple farms or a large operations where they are exporting.
In addition to the three core components the company are now investing in building a platform which will work well with the through-put and so understanding more through machine learning. How much stock there is or what has been the through-put in specific areas of the packhouse on a daily basis.
“The main benefits to our clients are that we can bring our services directly to the farms which is quite uncommon at the moment, thus reducing spoilage, increasing quality and therefore increasing revenues, this is specifically for the exporters but if we are thinking about the importers in Europe or the Middle East then we are stabilizing their sources through adding a clear strategy to manage risks on quality on volume and on spoilage.”
Looking to the future InspiraFarms are building a GIS platform which uses 20 different layers to understand where most of the opportunities for the future are going to be in terms of production.
You can visit InspiraFarms at Fruit Logistica Hall 26 C-28