Device monitors fruit en route to export markets
Chilean exporters will soon have a new tool to ease passage to far-off markets. Through an Agricultural Innovation Foundation (FIA) project, developers have created a device to better monitor containerized produce.
Agronomist Alejandra Valdés spoke to www.freshfruitportal.com about Ctrax, a data-storage device that allows exporters to measure gas levels, CO2, oxygen, temperature and moisture inside of closed fruit containers.
"The project arose from professional experience that the project members have had. We heard a lot of demand from potential clients that expressed the need for a product like the one we have created," Valdés said.
"This is a small, autonomous device that turns on the moment the container is closed. The device periodically takes measurements for up to 50 days of gas and other levels, which are recorded in the internal memory.
"When the boat arrives and the container is unloaded, the device is connected to a computer and the information is automatically available."
One of the most important characteristics of the device is its small size, about the same as a whiteboard eraser, which eases use and improves practicality.
With respect to the possible impact on the export industry, Valdés said that without a doubt, "this device will have a positive impact on the sector. It will allow exporters to have more information that they don't currently have. This is important for making commercial decisions. On a national level it can improve our image as an agricultural power."
For now, the device is intended for exporters, although there is the possibility of extending the product to clients involved in shipping and insurance.
On the future of the project, Valdés said there will be commercial demonstrations and a push to market the product in Chile and globally.
"Next year we hope to have it available for the national market and later we will look at the possibility of marketing it internationally," she said.