Monthly Archives: September 2010

The African Market/Solar Garden

Over the years I have seen many attempts, and been involved in some myself, where there has been an attempt to introduce vegetable production in resource poor communities. This one – The African Market Garden (AMG) seems to address a number of the problems I saw and refreshingly provides some hard information on costs and incomes.

A System of Horticulture Production Based on Irrigation and the Minimisation of Running Costs

from: MASHAV
(click image for full story online)

The model seems to be most often attributed to ICRISAT but is being developed in a number of areas by organisations including Stanford & Ben Gurion Universities, MASAV, CIGAR and AVRDC.

In a sense its a very simple blending of simple technologies to provide a solution that matches the needs and circumstances of the poor farmers involved.

  • drip irrigation to minimise the amount of water required
  • the optimisation of production through crop selection and training
  • the balancing of household use and sale for income
  • solar energy to eliminate running costs such as electricity or diesel
  • an affordable capital cost

No new technology in that! just implementation!

The question is how have so many projects, which presented similar simple models, not managed to succeed – I believe its the commitment and dedication of the right people.

Some links to other stories:

ICRISAT The African Market Garden – Advanced Horticulture for the Poor

African Market Garden in the Sahel

Solar Market Garden

Solar Electric Light Fund: Projects: Benin

Popcorners for Popcorn Eaters – Interesting Food Product

This new packaged snack product tries to come up with something new for the American popcorn market whioh it claims hasn’t seen development in years, although Americans eat an average of 80 litres a year.

Packaging design_ New ‘popcorn chip’ debuts in clean, contemporary packaging - 2010-09-01 17_03_21 | Packaging Digest.jpg

from: Packaging Digest
(click image for full story online)

The popcorner is promoted as a puff snack made from natural ingredients which is neither fried nor baked which is implied to be healthier.

The USA’s Banned Foods

This is of Banned Foods is maybe a reflection of the USA’s federal system as much as anything else. It includes the ban on un-pasteurised milk and a 2 yeast ban on Foie Gras by Chicago. It talks of a ban on slaughtering horses for human consumption in a country which certifies the slaughtering of lion and other wild animal.

Forbidden Foods in the U.S. - Business News - Food and Drink Digital.jpg

from: Food & Drink Digital
(click image for full story online)

Interesting that although foods are banned for their danger eg Japanese Pufferfish and carcinogenic Sassafras Oil the US does nothing about smoking and while others are banned for animal welfare reasons eg Foie Gras the US still handles billions of farm animals inhumanely.

A Dairy to Process the Milk of More Than 80 000 cows a day!

There are some interesting podcasts on the BBC Food Programme about very small and this very large dairies. It appears 33 l/day is a good average, so long the cows are milked 3 times a day which links the billion litres a year to 83 000 cows!


photo by Tractorboy60 on Wikimedia Commons

via RSS Feed on 9/10/10

Having announced that Arla Foods amba is to invest over £150 million in building the world’s first billion litre liquid milk dairy, Arla Foods UK has confirmed that it has secured a 70-acre site at Aston Clinton, Aylesbury, on which to build what will also be the first zero carbon milk processing facility.

During the land search, Aylesbury emerged as the front‐runner giving the best overall logistics solution to service Arla’s customers, when considering both raw milk collection from farm and finished product to the retailers. It also provides the best access to a densely populated area.

When it announced its intention to build the new facility in November 2009, Arla referred to it as being the most ‘environmentally advanced in the world’ and today confirms its plans to establish the dairy as a zero carbon operation. Throughout the design stage, the potential impact on the environment of each element of the dairy has been evaluated and the best available construction techniques, advanced process technologies and cutting edge renewable energy opportunities will be utilised.

Continue reading

Energy Drinks – Market, Formulation and Regulation – Scientific Paper Series

This is a comprehensive and up to date view of the energy drink market in the USA. Although possible somewhat remote for an African food processor it provides interesting information and also illustrates the level of information required for serious attempts at entering this competitive market.

Energy Drinks_ An Assessment of Their Market Size, Consumer Demographics, Ingredient Profile, Functiates and Regulations

from: Wiley
(click image for full story online)

The report introduces the target market with the statement

Athletes initially were the primary consumers of energy drinks. However, as the energy drink market grew and expanded into various niche markets, athletes are no longer the primary target. Today, the majority of energy drinks are targeted at teenagers and young adults 18 to 34 years old due to this generation’s on-the-go lifestyle and receptiveness to advertisements for these types of products (Lal 2007).

It provides detailed information on a number of commercial products as well as the main active ingredients such as Caffeine, Taurine, Ginseng, Yerba Mate and Guarana.

Its worth downloading and reading this!

Interactive Fruit Juice Processing Spreadsheet

Here is an interesting online spreadsheet.

Fruit juice -

from: Hyfoma
(click image to interact with spreadsheet online)

As well as allowing the user to remove the instrumentation of text for clarrity

Fruit juice -

the instruments shown are linked through to a brief description of the instrument and its principle of operation.

Magnetic inductive -

Interesting from the Food Processing and the INTERNET information viewpoint!