Mobile Solar Powered cold-room for citrus fruits

About Solution

Globally the citrus production for the year 2017/18 was predicted to decline by close to 6 million metric tons from 47.8 million metric tons. This has a corresponding estimated decline of 25% for orange juice production in Brazil and United States of America[1]. Thus it is agreeable that there is an existing foreign market for citrus. However, Uganda as a country has failed to exploit this market largely due to the poor post-harvest handling technologies existing to handle this perishable product despite the investment in improved and disease resistant citrus varieties.

Madraam Engineers limited came up with a solar powered cold room storage facility for Amuria District-Teso sub region to help in preserving citrus after harvest as it awaits the market when prices are stable and profitable. This was hinged on many reasons but most importantly; the large citrus waste created during peak harvest, the stable high solar irradiation, the desire to provide stable market for farmers’ fruits and also improve their bargaining power on the market. Also the fact that the newly established Soroti Fruit factory will consume only 10% of the fruit produced in the region informed the choice of this project[2]. Thus the business facility will fulfil these by assuming a middle man position in the citrus fruit industry.

The facility will use two business models to earn revenue. Model A whereby the business provides preservation services to citrus farmers at Shs. 460 per Kg per fortnight. This service is offered to farmers who wish to sell directly to their clients but have no preservation units. This model will take up 30% of the installed facility capacity. Model B whereby the business will buy fruits from the farmers, sort, preserve, and package to sell them at a profit to both local and foreign bulk buyers. This model will take up 70% of the installed capacity. Madraam Engineers Limited intends on scaling up the preservation services further to other agricultural regions that include Kayunga for fruits and vegetables as well as other regions of concern, in the event that Teso region has been fully utilized.

1.      Project summary

1.1.   Overall objective Addressing challenges associated with post-harvest handling and preservation of citrus fruit with the intervention of a solar cold-room storage facility.

1.2.   Expected outcomes

      Providing quality citrus fruit products to the market.

      Promoting the government’s program of poverty eradication by adding value to the fruit industry with enhanced post-harvest handling and storage as well as ensuring farmers’ stable incomes.

      Boosting renewable energy use in the country as mandated by the renewable energy policy.

1.3.   Indicators of achievement

This will be measured by local and international standard market acceptance.

This will be measured by extending citrus fruit shelf-life and farmers’ bargaining power

This will be measured by the use of solar system energy and use of recommended working fluid for the refrigeration system.

1.4.   Main activities. After installation of the solar cold-room facility, the daily plant operations will involve receiving citrus fruits from farmers at an estimated temperature of 30℃ and cooling them to 4℃ using a refrigeration system powered by a PV system all assembled on structural insulated panel cold room units preferable EPS structures. The fruits received will immediately be cleaned, sorted, graded and packaged in plastic crates and stored in the preservation units for a maximum shelf-life of three months awaiting potential market.

1.5.   Key target beneficiary population .The facility targets citrus fruit farmers in the Teso Region under the arm Teso Tropical Fruit Union Cooperative and will in future target other regions. Teso Tropical Fruit Factory which will be owned by the fruit farmers in the near future, will only accommodate 10% of farmers’ produce leaving a 90% market gap a section of which will be addressed by the new intervention.Currently, the Teso sub region has three million fruit trees with a potential production of 600,000 tons of fruit per year, far more than the preservation capacity. This is sufficient to ensure the project sustainability program.

[1] United State Department of Agriculture.Foreign Agricultural Services, ‘Citrus : World Markets and Trade U . S . Orange Production Plummets in Florida’, July 2018 (2018), 1–11.

[2] John Ogulei, ‘Leaders Skeptical on New Soroti Fruit Factory’s Ability Consume Teso Fruit | ChimpReports’, CHIMPREPORTS, 2018 [accessed 4 June 2018].

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