South African grape producers have coped with power cuts by using innovative boxes to cool produce after harvesting.

The Western Cape has been hit by weeks of sporadic power cuts, mainly caused by technical problems at electricity provider Eskom's Koeberg power station.

Table grape producers were severely affected since fast chilling of grapes after picking - normally done in electrically powered cooling units - is essential.

Exporter Capespan came to the rescue with its V-channel cartons, which cool grapes 30% faster than when regular cartons are used. This meant packers were able to make more efficient use of power when it was on.
Capespan corporate affairs manager Jasper Coetzee said: "The V-channel's significantly shorter cooling cycle is a major advantage. It makes up for lost cooling time after a power outage."

A V-channel carton comprises a dovetailed cut-out in the bottom of standard corrugated 4.5kg and 9kg grape cartons, creating an additional ventilation channel.

The power cuts have also affected other produce sectors in South Africa because irrigation and packing have been hampered.