Crop Box is our solution for providing a refrigeration system in developing countries, for cooling food on the farm, as soon as it is harvested. The lack of cold chain in many countries leads to large-scale loss of produce and quality, with significant impact on rural and national incomes.
Crop box consists in a number of cooling modules (depending on the quantity of cooling requested) each of them attached to a refrigerator. Installation is extremely simple and safe since there are no electrical, or water connections to be made. The modules can be mounted on a roof or the wall of a building, or even in the open air.
A good study of how on-farm pre-cooling impacts on income and carbon emissions are set out in the Kinnow study carried out by Carrier. The National Centre for Cold Chain Development in India calculated that if food waste were a country, it would be the third-largest emitter of greenhouse gasses after USA and China. Through methane emissions during rotting and wasted agricultural and transport emissions.
Additionally, the national balance of payments is deeply affected by cold chain efficiency. Currently India, for instance, only exports 2% of its agricultural produce while wasting 48%. If that 48% were reduced, then the 2% could increase by order of magnitude. This effect can be summed up as the five-fold profit multiplier:
1. Much better quality food gets to the customer as only pre-chilled food can be transported by refrigerated truck. The farmer thus gets a better price for the food, the consumer gets a lower cost better product, and the distributors don’t have to sort through the food to take all the rotted-in-transit items out.
2. Farmers can preserve more of the food that they produce.
3. Food can be stored much longer and thus be sold outside the low-price window at the height of the harvesting season.
4. The farmers can store the crop and produce high added value processed product from the raw produce. To give an example, many farmers sell their produce straight from the field and then go to the city during the dry season to get low-paid work. This time could be spent on-farm, adding value.
5. Less in-transit loss for distributors, removing the cost of sorting bad food from good, reducing the number of trips needed and associated emissions.
No electrical parts at all are needed.
Is the lowest cost/watt micro cooler.
It is modular, so it adapts to different requirements.
It’s long lasting & has very low maintenance.
Case Study 01
Our focus in agricultural pre-cooling / on-farm cooling has been in India, where we have carried out market research and begun to explore the market with our Indian partner, Mamata Group.
The approach to the market will be to address first crops that have the lowest water density and the highest value, to maximise the benefit to the farmer. We, therefore, expect cut flowers to be the first market that we approach. Flowers are grown for essences and pharmaceuticals, a multi-billion dollar market.
Other crops such as mushrooms, broccoli, capsicum and others can then be approached.
Case Study 02
Dairy is another agricultural sector, where the value proposition is particularly strong, saving wastage, increasing milk quality and reducing the collection frequency from twice daily to once daily.
In India particularly we expect great improvement for both the farmer (who can almost double his income by selling only good milk) and the aggregators (the Dairy industry milk collectors or intermediaries) because their trip will now be almost twice as effective.