Sangomar Ice Fabrics and Fisheries (SIFF)

  • Cost of Project (Loan): US$ 155,555
  • Duration of project: 24 months
  • Interest rate: 11%
  • AREED support: US$ 38,888

fish_smoking_joalIn tropical countries such as Senegal, ice is an essential resource for the fishing industry. Fishermen, traders, and processing employees (mostly women), rely on ice to preserve fish and keep it fresh. Currently, the demand for ice is greater than what existing ice manufacturers can supply, creating recurrent shortages throughout the country. Augmenting the capacity of existing ice factories and building new plants and cold storage units could reduce these shortages.

Unfortunately, Senegal has been mired in an energy crisis since 2005, and suffers frequent power blackouts that stymie the prospect of economic growth and affect the population’s quality of life. In the fishing industry, the combination of these power blackouts and the exceedingly high price of energy per Kwh (US$ 0.40) has brought on a wave of bankruptcies in the ice manufacturing sector, further reducing ice supplies in the country’s largest fishing ports.

Sangomar Ice Fabrics and Fisheries (SIFF) aims to address this ice supply problem by integrating the use of renewable energy into the ice manufacturing processes. The company’s goal is to manufacture ice for both the fishing industry and other food preservation activities using only clean energy sources.

Currently, the SIFF factory uses renewable energy sources for part of its electricity needs. Specifically, SIFF uses a 25 KWc solar power system and a 10Kw wind turbine, along with twenty-four Deka 12V245 Ah deep cycle batteries and six Xtender studer hybrid inverter/chargers. The renewable energy power system is coupled with an 80KH diesel power generator. The SIFF factory does not use any electricity from the power grid, and is the first ice factory in Senegal, if not the entire region, to use renewable energy sources.

The factory’s daily production capacity is presently 800 bags of 32 kgs of ice, or close to 26 tons per day. SIFF’s goal is to increase production to 900 bags per day (29 tons), using an innovative water-cooling system that can lower water temperature to 15°C before it enters the ice drum. Preliminary tests results are very positive.

During 2009, the artisanal fishing sector registered a total catch of 336,431 tons. According to FAO recommendations, a catch this size requires 112,143 tons of ice. Government statics show that more than 74% of the total catch is distributed and sold to fish traders when the fishing boats land. Again, based on FAO recommendations, this would translate into a market of 84,000 tons for the fish traders and a demand of 196,143 tons of ice for both fishermen and fish traders.

At an average price of US$ 2.66 for a 32kg tray, the demand for ice (based on the figures above) represents an estimated market of $14,357,667. It should be noted that the fishing pier of Joal is the biggest fishing port in the country and represents over three fifths of the national catch.

While the average price of electricity hovers at around $ 0.38, SIFF’s hybrid power system keeps the price per Kwh below $ 0.26. Furthermore, while the power load of the SIFF factory is 90KW, the company is able to operate the plant with an 80KW electric generator.

The electrical installation is wired so that only one 37KW compressor is connected directly to the diesel power generator and all remaining equipment is connected to the batteries via the six inverter chargers. When the factory is operating at full capacity, the diesel generator supplies only 62% of the energy used (or 55.8 KWh), and consumes 16 liters of fuel per hour. SIFF is the only ice factory in Senegal that uses a water-cooling tower for ice production.

SIFFs currently has ten full-time employees and seven part-time employees. The company has signed a distribution contract with Senegal’s largest fish processor and exporter, Elim-Peche. Under the contract, SIFF will supply close to 400 bags of ice (13 tons) per day.

Thanks to SIFF’s use of renewable energy, many fishermen would like to use SIFF as their primary ice supplier during high season, which runs from mid-May to the end of October.