We all buy ice from local stores and fuel filling stations, but when it comes to the festive season, such outlets can't meet the demand.
The frustration of driving around your home village looking for ice and even going to an extent of going all the way to a nearest village is never an option during this busy time.
Everyone needs ice for their cold drinks and even people who will be selling cold beverages at the football matches and dikhwaere need ice to keep their businesses running. However, because of the high demand, some shops find it hard to stay stocked up on ice.
So, many suppliers run out of ice, and this is the perfect time to chip in and be the guy whose phone cannot stop ringing. Suppliers are doing right by their clients but the shortage comes during unprecedented demand for ice blocks. In the ever-busy and crowded streets, roads of Botswana, people often dehydrate under the hot weather and need a glass of something chilled to rehydrate themselves. Consumer demand is the basic reason for the booming ice block business. The hot and humid weather conditions in many parts of Africa lead many people to drink more water to refresh and rehydrate their bodies.
This will undoubtedly lead to a higher consumption of chilled liquids like water and other drinks. A convenient reason why people prefer to use ice blocks is that they are faster and more efficient at cooling stuff. Compared to cooling your drinks in a fridge (too slow) or stuffing them in a freezer (limited by size), ice blocks can provide more flexible cooling in any location whenever and wherever you want it!
There is a terrible situation of electricity supply in many parts of Botswana. Therefore smart entrepreneurs in the ice block business are making good money from the problem. There is also a rising trend of outdoor events like weddings, religious gatherings, clubs, relaxation spots and other social gatherings.
When people gather at such events, they are more than likely to consume liquids. Water, soft drinks and alcohol (especially beer) are typically ‘served chilled’ at these events. Nobody attends a party or hangs out at a bar to drink warm beer! This is the reason why these events and relaxation spots are huge sources of demand for the ice block business. Now that you have a better understanding of the demand and market for ice block, here are the five basic things that you need to start this business:
Water is the most important raw material in the ice block production business. Then there is packaging because ice blocks are often packaged and sold in transparent polythene nylon bags.
The bags help to hold the ice both in its solid and melted state. Ice block-making machines are also the main equipment since these machines are more like deep freezers with a higher cooling/freezing capacity. Some of them have rectangular moulds/containers that you pour the water into in order to produce ice blocks. When the water turns into ice, it usually takes the shape of these containers. The amount of time taken by the machine to produce ice blocks is also important.
Some machines produce ice faster than others and this will often depend on the rating of the compressors. Don’t forget, the longer a machine spends producing ice, the more you’re likely to spend on electricity and labor.
So, it’s often of great benefit to use a machine that forms ice in a short period. Compressors are the heart of the cooling system and can affect the quality (hardness) of ice produced and the time taken to produce it.
Due to the unstable electricity supply in many parts of Africa, it is likely that one may need a power generator to reduce your dependence on the power grid; that is if you experience electricity shortages in your area. The ice block business is a volume business; the more blocks you sell, the more money you make!