Author Archives: agribusiness

ExceedFoods.Com – African Food Retailer – Market For West African Food

This website is a simple commercial undertaking offering a range of Nigerian Foods to expatriates in the United States.



ExceedFoods.com_ Nigerian Foods. One Click Away.  |  Roots.jpg


from: Exceed Foods
(click image for full story online)



The company is clearly an e-commerce company which has built a management team of Nigerians who are able to drive both the food product and the sourcing issues of the company.

As many of these foods are common to other West African countries the market is surely wider than Nigerians in the US. Then there is also an opportunity to apply the business model to other National Foods and set up stores for other groups.

The company is NY based and prices need to be judged by those who know the foods not me. As examples yam roots sell for $2.30 / lb, garri around $1 / lb, dried shrimp $12 / lb and palm oil $25 / gall.

WWF and World’s Second Largest Brewer Return Water in South Africa

SAB Ltd, is funding water saving projects to compensate for its potential water consumption of 14 billion litres a year in South Africa. WWF (World Wildlife Fund) is facilitating the “water neutrality process” with a South African Government Project to ensure that this is not just a multinational greenwashing!






SAB Ltd is the South African subsidiary of SABMiller which is the second largest brewery in the world .

Water Neutrality

In October 2008, Dr Deon Nel, Head of the WWF Sanlam Living Waters Partnership explained

“The concept of water neutrality, based on its carbon equivalent, has been used loosely over the past years; however, until now no-one has been able to quantitatively justify these claims. We believe that our scheme is the first in the world that allows participants to truly claim to be water neutral.”

Participants will replenish water supplies, by investing in projects that quantitatively supplement water supplies equal to their water usage.

Note: Water neutrality has taken on a form in certain areas that is significantly different to the process introduced here by WWF.

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The Return of the “Curvy Cucumber and Knobbly Carrot” to EU Supermarkets.

Consumers in Europe are likely to increasingly see fruit and vegetables with less than perfect appearance (the so called “wonky” produce) on their supermarket shelves from July 2009 as the EU tries to reduce its bureaucracy


Attractive and wholesome fruit and vegetables like these feed the world but have, over the last few decades, lost their place in the “First World’s“ supermarkets to perfectly shaped and coloured specimens. Through the supermarket pushing “quality” and bureaucrats busying themselves, visual standards gained a status that has had negative impacts for the consumer, the farmer and the environment. The European Union is well known for the banana standard which, after a year of study, stated that a banana should be “5.5 inches long and 1.1 inches wide, and could not be abnormally bent”. This allowed the EU to advantage bananas from the Caribbean (mainly its former colonies) that met the standard to the disadvantage of Latin American producers who were backed by USA based multinationals. Rulings by the World Trade Organisation and the threats of the US lead to a truce with the tariffs being removed progressively. But now regulations on 26 fruits and vegetables have been repealed while member states can allow the sale of 10 other products which do not meet the standards, so long as appropriate labeling is used.

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Apple iPhone in South Africa

What is Apple doing to us in South Africa?

According to this email from Apple, the iPhone launches tomorrow.


iPhone 3G is coming September 26. Watch the guided tour. — Inbox-1.jpg


But yesterday

  • the iStore could not tell me the price
  • the iStore could not tell me the carrier contracts that would apply

and today the carrier Vodacom could not tell be

  • when the phone would be available
  • what contracts they would have
  • how they would handle those

So is it another Apple implementation failure or just disrespect for South African customers? After all we have been denied music through iTunes till now, but it seems there’s enough income to apple if we are allowed the apps store




Just to note I have tried many times to get something out of apple on why we don’t have access to music and if we don’t we bet bombarded with iTunes add emails – can they not filter on

The Science / Food balance of the French

I found this well thumbed book in a house where I lived in France.


photo by Dave Harcourt
(Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 Unported License)


Knowing and having lived the French “obsession” with food for three months I feel it might be interesting to look at its contents a bit deeper. You can be sure its interesting, even if only because it was published in 1935. Although the contrast with a similar British approach might also hold some lessons.

Ghanian Government Launches Composite Flours

Several articles in Ghanian newspapers refer to the 25th June launch of a composite cassava/maize flour. It is Manufactured by Women in Agriculture Development of the Ministry of Food and Agriculture.

The Statesman _ Business _ Cassava, maize composite flour launched.jpg

from: The Statesman
(click image for full story online)


Cassava, maize composite flour launched _ The Ghanaian Journal - News - Sports- Business - Videos - Entertainment - Profiles.jpg

from: The Ghanian Journal
(click image for full story online)


The articles tend to imply that the maize/cassava composite can be used to make bread on its own. However, any baker knows that wheat flour is necessary to make any raised bread and that only a few percent of other starch materials can be substituted for flour if the bread is not to taste different.

What I find more interesting is that this is a government initiative – do you think that such an approach has a real chance of success?

Waste – only until there’s a use!

A while ago I posted a story about a project aimed at reducing post harvest losses. I noted that losses are often a consequence of imbalances between supply and demand. Without demand prices plummet and a crop effectively becomes a waste. There are also wastes connected to processing eg fruit peels. These wastes are either available free or at low cost depending on their location.

Projects that use these wastes as raw material often look extremely favourable but can quickly loose their feasibility if the demand for the waste allows the owner of the waste to increase its price.

Here is a documented case – waste oil from restaurants has trebled in price in three years as demand for it as a feed for biodiesel has increased

Used Fry Grease Rich Target For Grease Gangs…Seriously · Environmental Leader · Green Business, Sustainable Business, and Green Strategy News for Corporate Sustainability Executives.jpg

from: Environmental Leader
(click image for full story online)


Three Solar Dryer Designs – Link

Following on the link to a simple overview by the GATE programme of GTZ, the article below gives practical details of three solar dryer designs.

02-0603.pdf (page 1 of 5).jpg

from: GTZ GATE
(click image for full story online)


This paper presents the characteristics of three solar driers. A 15 US$ tent drier, a 400 US$ box drier, and a 5,000 US$ tunnel drier are discussed.and then the drier is placed over them. The first day of drying should be sunny to produce a quality dried product.

Obama Larger

While the article links Kenyan beer to Senator Obama (the son of a Kenyan) now running as presidential candidate of the US, it is of more interest for information on selling alcoholic beverages to consumers at the bottom of the pyramid

In Kenya, _Obama beer_ is suddenly popular.jpg

from: San Francisco Chronicle
(click image for full story online)


Consumers nicknaming Senator beer, brewed by East African Breweries Limited, Obama is a local thing and unlikely to have made any significant difference to sales. The brewers do not use it in their marketing, but say there has been some increase in sales in Obama’s father’s homeland, especially after Obama’s 2006 visit.

Of interest, though, is the origin of Senator beer and its place in the alcoholic beverage market of Kenya. What makes it different is that it is sold at 40 cents a glass compared to normal beers costing $1 to $3 a bottle. In a country where more than half the population earn less than a dollar a day its the only beer that is affordable to many.

It’s low price is achieved through saving the packaging costs by dispensing in bulk (1 000l a day in a bar) and by the fact that there is no excise tax on Senator beer.

The tax excise exemption is an attempt to address the dangers of illegal brews that are focussed on the poor consumer.

According to the article

A 2003 brewery study found that 55 percent of alcohol consumed in Kenya is homemade. Known as changaa or busaa, these spirits contain up to 40 percent alcohol and are often mixed with battery acid or formaldehyde to increase potency. At 25 cents a glass, these popular alternatives to more expensive beer are also known as “kill me quick.”

In 2000, 150 Kenyans died and hundreds were hospitalized from drinking a toxic brew in a slum near Nairobi, sparking calls for the government to crack down on the thousands of bootleg distilleries. Another 50 died in 2005, the latest statistics available. Many more have been blinded from these drinks.

A similar situation exists in South Africa and I suspect many Southern and East African countries.

In South Africa there seems to be less distillation but “fall over quickly” is popular! and adulteration is widespread. Before democracy in South Africa this was addressed by strict policing and possibly needs to be reevaluated now. With much of the homebrew being traditional beer based in South Africa, my personal suggestion would be to promote a homebrew quality ranking system and educate the user on alcohol usage.

In Kenya the brewers took the initiative

The brewery did away with bottles and packaging for Senator beer, using 13 gallon kegs. Each day, the company ships 8,500 kegs throughout the nation, and plans to expand output since it can’t keep up with demand.

Popularity is growing due to a heavy marketing campaign in the slums, where underground bars still sell homemade spirits.

The following points are probably important to sales at the Bottom of the Pyramid:

  • replacing normal consumer packaging can significantly reduce cost
  • there is normally a price where consumers will switch from the cheapest product for other benefits
  • taxes can effect consumer consumption patterns

Tshwane – Traffic Testing Centres

The Record has run two front page articles on the Waltloo Testing Station.

While I am happy to say my daughter passed her license at Waltloo yesterday, the process lead to my watching what happens at the Centurion Testing Centre for many hours. Its just as bad as or worse than the Waltloo situation.


I have written various reports, which I have emailed to the City of Tshwane Customer Care Centre (in 5 separate emails to which I have not even had a single acknowledgement) and a number of other employees of Tshwane Municipality. Other than one response that probably raised more questions that it answered I have not made any progress.

What I can assure everyone is that I am not going to give up on this as it so clearly contradicts the City of Tshwane Customer Care commitment


from: City of Tshwane
(click image for full story online)


which amongst others states:

Preview of “Traffic Testing Centres - Tshwane”-1.jpg

Unfortunately they don’t deliver on any of these points.