DGridEnergy Heads to East Africa to Build Awareness of the Cold Chain and the Solar Cool Cube Solution

Eugene Faison, CEO of DGridEnergy spent 4 days in Rwanda meeting with agricultural cooperatives, the Ministry of Agriculture of Rwanda, Solar Kiosk, and MTN mobile company in preparation for pilot with a large agriculture cooperative in Kayonza, Rwanda.

He also was a featured speaker at the World Banks’ Solar in Agriculture Forum held at the Marriott Bleu Convention Center in Kigali, Rwanda. Featured with other expert speakers from the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, Energy4Impact, Energy Private Developers of Rwanda and many more.

Faison also held meetings in Nairobi, Kenya with Technoserve and ACDI to discuss cold chain solutions for projects lead by them with thousands of farmers in the North and Western parts of Kenya.

Education on Cold Chain and Food Storage

How temperature affects storage of various agricultural products and how cold storage is managed

The purpose of cold storage is to lengthen the viability of harvested products prior to being sold or consumed. In doing so, it is critical to provide an environment that minimizes deterioration and maintains microbial safety and quality. All horticultural and agricultural products have varying rates of respiration as well as temperature levels to maintain optimum taste and quality. When considering cold storage, several questions need to be initially answered:

What is the product to be stored?
What is the total quantity of product being stored?
What is the rate in which the product will enter the storage facility?
What is its temperature when it arrives?
How long will it need to be stored for?
What temperature does it need to get to for proper long term storage and market viability?

With these questions answered, a cold storage solution, and its adequate power consumption and supply can be determined. For DGridEnergy, our Solar Cool Cube and Solar Milk Chiller are all powered utilizing renewable energy systems. This enables rural areas to become part of the value chain by implementing cold storage techniques that meet the food safety requirements of commercial buyers. Through additional cellular monitoring of the temperature, we can ensure that the product has been stored properly. Through education with producers, we can further enhance their understanding of properly food handling techniques.

When working with customers that aren’t familiar with refrigeration, the prospect of incorporating and improving the value chain can be daunting and exciting all at the same time. But the benefits of having locally produced horticulture and agricultural products to the local community are vast and can dynamically change the economies for farmers and merchants throughout a region.