Monthly Archives: March 2012

Enzymes in Food Processing – Free online information

The International Union of Food Science and Technology (IUFoST) publishes high quality Scientific Information Bulletin on various topics in Food Processing.

click on image to read bulletin

This 10 page bulletin published In March 2010, covers the range of enzymes and their application in Food Processing. It covers new production technologies and the more novel processes in greater detail and outlines the needs of the industry. It concludes with a detailed list of references and some suggestions for further reading.

New Practical Action Website Boosts Information Sharing.

Practical Action has a long history as a quality supplier of technology information for small scale food processing as well as other fields such as irrigation, sanitation and energy which match rural development focus.

Over time they have gone through many changes from their hands on origins as Intermediate Technology Development Group (ITDG) founded by Schumakker the father of the Appropriate Technology movement to their IT strong position of today.


Practical Action Food Processing Archive site link

click on the image to visit the site

The image above is of the food processing information available on the site – each subject links to a number of papers from over the years. All this information is of a high standard and scientifically rigorous.

As well as this information the site offers an expert question answering service, case studies and a mechanism for users to share their experiences and information.

This site really deserves a visit and probably real support to make it a valuable resource to those active in small scale food processing.

Trial With CFL light bulbs

There’s quite some controversy around the new low energy light bulbs. Much depends on how long the bulbs actually last. This is quite difficult as it comes down to perception because it’s not possible to measure the running time of a build in normal household operation.

So when 3 of the 4 the CFLs in my houses street lights failed I had the opportunity to do some experimenting. This post will record what I installed and when so that I can get some firm data.

photo by DIGIVU under Creative Commons some rights reserved

So I put in three new bulbs on 25 March 2012, I have gmailed 3 photos of the bulbs after they were installed, to form a record of the start of lfe of each bulb.

I installed a 11w, Eurolux CFL that cost R 26.99, a 9w, Eurolux CFL at R 29.99 and a 40w Radiant incandescent bulb that cost R 8.99.

The theory says that the CFLs are cheaper after a couple of months and half the total cost after 5 months – see the image below.

Graph prepared by DIGIVU on Apple.Numbers under Creative Commons some rights reserved

However, the real outcome depends on the life of the various products. I must admit though that it seems likely that the CFLs will give big savings as their specified life is more than 5 times the period show in the graph.



Solar Drying of Trop[ical Fruits – Free Online information.

Heres a short, only 20 pages long, and very practical “recipe book” for the drying of tropical fruit.

Solar drying in Nicaragua

from: University of California, Davis
(click image for full story online)

It is from a project run by University of California, Davis in Tanzania and Nicaragua on the introduction of a Concentrated Solar Power Dryer for the drying of vegetables.

The book carefully explains the steps, starting from a potentially soiled fruit, through preparation, pretreatment, drying and packaging for Tomatoes, Mangoes, Banana, Pineapple, Sapote and Pity (Dragon Fruit).

Simple and clear – its easy to recommend this book.

Equipment Suppliers Information For Small Scale African Food Processors

In the recent posts on Indian and an American Food Processing Enterprise Manuals it struck me that an important part of their value was the lists of potential equipment suppliers.

Closeup of screw conveyor

One of the well known directories is “Small-Scale Food Processing: A Directory of Equipment and Methods”. WHile it still provides very useful information on methods, it is rather focused on Indian and British suppliers and was last updated ten years ago.

This illustrates the difficulty of directories – it is expensive to collect complete information for all user’s particular needs and to keep them up to date.

Probably the best way to solve this problem is through a crowd sourcing approach using social media, but I think this is for a bit later.

For now I am going to send the following email to equipment suppliers I know and find.

I am planning to write a report on potential suppliers of processing equipment to small scale food processors in Africa.

I am aware that your company operates in this area and would like to ask if you can add any information to that on your website. In particular information on what you have supplied to enterprises especially in Africa along with some information on the progress of the enterprises would be great. Your thoughts on this sector and any advice you might have would also be interesting. As would information on how your support remote enterprises with assistance and spare parts.

I realise thats a big request and maybe its better if you supply anything particular you think would be useful in such a story.

This is not advertising and doesn’t depend on the responses I get to this query. I will in any event be using information from websites and providing contact details for companies, I already know and which I can identify. This stems from the hundreds of times I have been asked “where can I get equipment” and the many lists of constraints that feature a lack of equipment near the top. I will publish it on my website, Food Processing Africa and other similar publications and websites. I will also, depending on what I am able to collect, implement some kind of managed directory focussed on African users.

I will of course let you know when and where the article is published and would like to thank you for whatever information you are able to supply.

I will then publish the results providing contact details of potential equipment suppliers to small scale processors in Africa. If I have a sufficiently positive response I will develop and maintain a directory.

But to be worthwhile we will need inputs from all those with appropriate information. So please respond with your suggestions for inclusion, forward this post to others who won’t see it or email me contact details and I will approach potential suppliers directly.

A Technical Guide for Food Ventures┬á– Free Online Information

This is quite a different manual for food entreprenears when compared to the one from India posted several days ago.

Small Scale<br /><br />
Food Entrepreneurship: A Technical Guide for Food Ventures

from: Penn State University
(click image for full story online)

Where that was business focussed this one is product or even food science focussed. This is evident in the contents:


The Resources section is particularly useful and provides the following:

I. Partial List of Laboratories Providing Food Analysis Services
II. Partial List of Equipment Suppliers
III. Overview of Pertinent Federal Regulatory Agencies
IV. USDA Rural Development Offices in the Northeast
V. State Agencies/Universities Pertinent to the Small Scale Food Producer in the Northeast
VI. References for the Small-Scale Food Processor
VII Glossary

This is the advantage of free online resources, in that you can use many and select the bits that are best suited to your business. The only downside is there are few of this type of manual written for African countries so the contact list are seldom really useful.

Buying Food Processing Equipment – Free Online Information

This is an unusual short paper that lays out the steps necessary to select and buy food processing equipment.

Document guiding the identification, selection and buying of equipment.

from: Oklahoma State University
(click image for full story online)

The paper proposes a six stage process and presents a list of items that need to be included in a specification. It also provides some useful links and an example of a purchase specification for a filling machine.

Manual For Entrepreneurs: Food Processing Industry – Free Online Information

This is a free 200 page manual developed for Food Processing entrepreneurs in India.


Since it’s written for Indian entrepreneurs a lot of the business information is only really applicable in India, but there is still a lot of interest. This free version was written around 2000, so if the numbers in the overview of the food industry are important you would be advised to buy a newer version.

The scope of the manual as indicated by the table of contents:

1. The Food Processing Sector in India
2. The Impact of Policy on Enterprises
3. Who is an Entrepreneur?
4. Soft Skills for Entrepreneurs
5. Planning a Small-Scale Unit: Whom to Approach for What
6. Business Opportunity Identification
7. Market Survey Tools, Preparation of Schedule and Techniques of Data Collection
8. Production Programme, Plant Capacity, ManpowerRequirements and Layout
9. Business Plan Format for Tiny and Small Enterprises
10. The Financials of a Project Report
11. Assessing Financial Viability of the Project
12. Bookkeeping and Accounting and Financial Statements
13. Costing and Pricing of Products
14. Working Capital Management 14515. Marketing Management
16. Applied Management in Business: Learning from Existing Businesses
17. Legal Requirements
18. Support Institutions for Promotion of Food Processing Sector

Rather India focussed annexures include many contacts as well as a more general list of references and suggested reading.

The manual is very practical and detailed with many checklists, forms, case studies and financial calculations to assist the entrepreneur to cover all necessary aspects of setting up an enterprise.

The manual does not provide food processing information, only providing a list of potential technology and equipment suppliers