One of the recurring themes throughout conversations with agriculture companies is the problems with post harvest loss
If produce can’t be kept cold then it will perish quicker and as a result farmers lose out on income
Cold storage (essentially a big fridge) offers the solution, but in an environment with inconsistent power supply, and poor access to capital, this has proved difficult.
In this episode Luke and I talk about how Inspira Farms are using technology to solve this problem.
We discuss how the technology they’ve developed is innovating the market, the compelling financial arrangement they are able to offer farmers and how selling in Kenya is different to doing so in Rwanda
I found this a really interesting conversation to cover the landscape of agriculture in East Africa, and so I hope you enjoy it too.
Here are some of the key quotes:
“Inspira Farms is an off-grid agricultural technology company”
We focus on post-harvest solutions, primarily through delivering cold storage units for horticulture produce, along with financing and other options.
“We focus on Kenya and Rwanda”
In East Africa. We have a global presence but this is where we have consolidated for right now.
“30% of food to waste”
This is from the “farm gate” to the “processing plants”. Primarily this is due to a lack of post-harvest solutions.
“The whole world struggles with post-harvest solutions”
The existing technologies are very expensive and require things such as consistent energy supply. This is rare in developing countries.
“There are four key components of what we do”
- The modular stand alone structure which becomes an asset
- A software component allows a greater amount insights on the produce
- Cooling components which can run off solar
- An interest free loan to aid financing
“$5,000 – $20,000”
Is the cost of a unit being delivered to you. Based on the creditworthiness of the applicant the down payment will be 20-50%
“We need a single business entity”
Sometimes this is an individual farmers, sometimes a collective, sometimes an entrepreneur who rents it out.
“People want cold storage”
It’s in huge demand but people are often shocked at the cost of cold storage. Thankfully it’s an easy process by which we can quantify the farmer.
“It’s a big box”
That meets international food safety standards. We can provide shelving, but it depends on each.
“Building along the supply chain”
One customer has cold storage on the farm, others at the processing plant. The vision for these customers is to take it the whole way, with refrigerated trucks as well.
“It’s not a 2 day sales process”
Our recognition is increasing with more inbound than outbound enquiries. That said, it takes time to understand the customer, and make the sale.
“Our team is global”
Who we draw upon, bringing a range of skills at the right time. Technical expertise from Italy, account managers to do due diligence.
“Kenya is vastly more developed than Rwanda”
In terms of the agricultural development. Rwandans, however, are more matter-of-fact about the costs of what the technology cost.
“It was built to grow with the farmer”
The modularity aspect of cold storage units meant that farmers wouldn’t have an under-utilised asset for 5 years, but instead could grow with Inspira Farms.
We’re getting patents on our technology which means it will be harder for other companies to imitate us. Essentially get the insulation without having to build brick and mortar structures.
“100 units in 3 years would be really good”
There are lots of strategic projects that we have happening internationally, but for now, my focus on getting units on the ground.
Social Media Follows etc.
LinkedIn: Inspira Farms