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Two 160 liter fridges donated by the Barry A Murphy Foundation to the Maruvango, village near Arusha

4.Tanzania: Fridges and Freezers for the Artisanal Fishing and Smallholder Dairy Sectors

4.1. History and Results

Early in 2020 IFAD expanded its operations in Tanzania and asked SunDanzer to return the Tanzanian smallholder dairy sector to the scope of the GreenTech program after previously being removed. In April Simusolar was approached to be SunDanzer’s in-country partner. In August, a distribution agreement was signed with a two-fold product focus: 160L milk coolers as well as ice makers for artisanal fisheries sector around Lake Victoria. In October, the GreenTech Project Manager spent two weeks in Tanzania on a scouting mission, assisted by consultant Neema Shukuru from Nexis Africa. The mission included visiting women’s dairy cooperatives in Kilimanjaro and fishing communities on the islands of Lake Victoria near Mwanza.

After the initial scouting trip, the next step was to commission Ms. Shukuru to conduct a detailed market assessment with the following objectives: 1. identify and size viable market niches for fridges, freezers and/or ice makers, 2. identify 40 potential pilot project installations (20 in the smallholder dairy sector, 20 in the artisanal fisheries sector), 3. identify the products and product requirements for the market, 4. lay the groundwork for follow-on sales as well as a sales and marketing strategy, and 5. fulfill the IFAD requirement for a Market Needs, KAP and Technology Assessment report. The GreenTech Project Manager returned in May 2021 to accompany and assist Ms. Shukuru and her research team in the field.  In late July, Ms. Shukuru delivered the Tanzania Market Needs, KAP and Technology Assessment report. Based on the findings, three products were chosen to be piloted in Tanzania: 1) 160 liter freezers for fisheries, 2) 160 liter milk coolers for dairy, and 3) 160 liter shop fridges for both market segments. The visit to the Lake Zone revealed that the proposed ice maker was too expensive and produced too little ice to be a viable product.

In the late Summer and Fall of 2021, Simusolar worked on integrating their proprietary PAYG system with SunDanzer fridges/freezers and technology partner Zimpertec developed a custom enclosure that would house more battery storage for freezer applications. In November, product was shipped from China and cleared customs in January 2022. In February 2022, the GreenTech Project Manager was back-in country to assist in the product launch. Sales and installation training was conducted and sales, installation and technical support materials created. Demonstration freezers were set up at Simusolar headquarters in Dar es Salaam and regional offices in Arusha, Morogoro and Mwanza. The first fridge, a shop cooler, was installed at a Masai village at the Nasinya women’s dairy cooperative. It was soon apparent the organization was very challenged to take on a completely new product line. The lessons learned were captured in the report entitled Preparing for Solar Refrigeration Pilots in the Artisanal Fisheries Sectors of Rwanda, Tanzania and Mozambique.

4.2. Current Status

The rest of 2022 was spent slowly selling the remaining 41 pilot systems. The organization had a difficult time understanding and selling these new and relatively complex products. It was found the sales organization kept gravitating to products they knew, even though the commissions and incentives were lesser. They lacked the sophistication to understand who could benefit and to communicate how the product could be used to increase income. Concurrently, there was relatively weak demand from the market for the products. It took broadening the market by making all Productive Use applications eligible (not just fisheries and dairy) and a concerted sales push in the last quarter of 2022 and first quarter of 2023 to sell out the inventory. As of late March, there have been a few minor technical issues and overall customer satisfaction and evidence of significant increases of income. Insights and analysis are captured in a Fridge Sales Project Report by Neema Shukuru, who was hired by Simusolar to project manage the pilot.

A Scope of Work was developed to guide post pilot research investigating is scheduled for August 2023. It will investigate customer satisfaction, income impact, payment history and technical performance. Ms. Shukuru has again been retained to conduct 20 in-person in-depth surveys and conduct 20 interviews over the phone.

Related Resources

SunDanzer Refrigeration and its in-country partners in Rwanda (Clean Energy Technologies), Tanzania (Simusolar) and Mozambique (SolarWorks!) prepared to pilot solar powered fridges and freezers in 2022 in the Artisanal Fisheries sector. Throughout 2021, informal and formal research was conducted to lay the groundwork for approximately 110 deployments to distribute across all three countries. This report documents what was learned during the prepartory period.

SunDanzer Refrigeration and its in-country, Last Mile Distributor (LMD) partners in Tanzania (Simusolar) and Mozambique (SolarWorks!) collaborated to launch fridges and freezers in smallholder dairy and artisanal fisheries sectors in the Spring of 2022 after a research phase the previous year (refer to Lessons Learned: Preparing for Solar Refrigeration Pilots in the Artisanal Fisheries Sectors of Rwanda, Tanzania and Mozambique). As of this writing, October 2022, less than half of the 94 units have been deployed. Both organizations have struggled in terms of operations and sales, despite best efforts. In both cases, grant restrictions were lifted to spur sales, but here also sales were relatively slow. Our overarching conclusion is that adding a new, productive use cooling product to an existing LMD operation is extremely challenging and not feasible without financial support before, during and after the pilot.

SunDanzer Refrigeration and its in-country partner in Tanzania Simusolar piloted solar powered fridges in 2022-2023 in theArtisanal Fisheries and Dairy sectors. The goal was to specify and commercialize a solar cooling product that would increaseincome and improve living standards (i.e., successfully be used for Productive Use). Throughout 2022-2023, 39 fridges weresold and installed in 7 different regions. This report presents data, analysis and key findings from the sales activities. 

SunDanzer Refrigeration LLC is implementing the GreenTechnologies to Facilitate Development of Value Chains forPerishable Crops and Animal Products (GreenTech) program,funded by IFAD. In Tanzania, GreenTech’s goal is to specify and commercialize a solar cooling product for artisanal fisheries and dairy sector. This report fulfills Activities 1 and 2 of Component 1, and Activity 4 of Component 2, in SunDanzer’s GreenTech contract with IFAD.

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