Firm unveils solar cold rooms for fresh produce traders

Wednesday March 18 2020
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Saravanan Karuppusamy, the business development manager for coldrooms at Sheffield Africa inside one of the facilities. It comes equipped with backup batteries and can function for over 24 hours without sunlight to keep highly perishable products fresh. PHOTO | MILLICENT MWOLOLO | NATION MEDIA GROUP

By MILLICENT MWOLOLO

Agribusiness entrepreneurs who deal with perishable produce can now use solar-powered cold rooms to store their produce following the unveiling of the gadgets this week.

Sheffield Africa, the makers of the product, said it targets farmers, traders and exporters of agricultural produce, many of who suffer storage challenges that lead to high post-harvest losses.

“This is a solar-powered and low-cost cold room solution for entrepreneurs in the agricultural industries such as dairy, green grocery, florists, meat and fish outlets and fruit and juice vendors,” Saravanan Karuppusamy, the business development manager for cold-rooms at Sheffield Africa, said.

The portable cold rooms are designed for outdoor use to cater for immediate produce storage.

The hybrid cold room can also run on electric power or a digital generator in case there is no power and is capable of achieving temperatures as low as 0°C.

The facility comes equipped with backup batteries and can function for over 24 hours without sunlight to keep highly perishable products fresh.

Solar-powered cold rooms give a host of benefits to users as they have little running costs. They are also portable and easy to assemble and disassemble in any open area. “This flexibility of usage ensures they can be reassembled in case of expansion,” added Saravanan.

The air-conditioned cold rooms can also be used outdoors, including on farms, to hold products such as freshly harvested flowers, vegetables, and fish before moving them to a freezer for long-term storage, noted Saravanan.

“The beauty with these cold-room solutions is that they can be customised and tailor-made to suit someone’s needs and what they want to store in it,” Saravanan added.

The use of cold room solutions enhances the shelf-life of products, making fruits, flowers, vegetables, milk, meat, fish and other perishable goods available whenever needed and at the right conditions, especially for small traders.

For instance, when ripened at controlled atmospheric conditions, fruits adopt excellent colour appearance and texture, therefore, curbing losses associated with lack of good storage facilities.