Rwandan carrot farmers who were losing about 30 per cent of their harvest due to lack of post-harvest handling techniques are now recovering following the installation of the Zero Energy Cooling Chamber. The Zero Energy Cool Chamber is an alternative to a common refrigerator.
This is an on-farm storage chamber, for fresh fruits, vegetables and flowers to extend their shelf life. The shelf life of fruits and vegetables can be controlled by reducing the storage temperature
The simple technology -that relies on the simple thermodynamics of bricks, water, and sand to maintain carrots at cool temperatures and thereby extend their shelf life by up to many days-is being used by farmers in Nyabihu District.
Eric Mbanzabagabo, the President of the Cooperative “KOGIMUIN” which grows vegetables and fruits, said that following the installation of Zero Energy Cooling Chamber under the support of Hinga Weze project, the cooperative managed to avoid giveaway prices since as the technique has enabled the cooperative to preserve the produce for a long-term period.
“Due to lack of post-harvest handling techniques, we had to sell all the produce at poor prices as a way of preventing carrots from rotting away when it was not possible to store them for a long period,” he said.
The cooling facility holds 300 crates of carrots, each carrying 15 kilograms.