Tag Archives: Africa

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 www.digivu.co.za, 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.

AppropriatePackaging Systems for Developing Countries

The growing competition in the retail market in sub Saharan Africa has a lot to do with the appeal of packaging of typical first world products over that of local entrepreneurs.  
Several years ago entrepreneurs and community groups selling food products, often use recycled bottles and a simple black and white printed label like those in the photograph below.

photograph by DIGIVU
published under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike license.
I must admit this photo is several years old and was of a community groups product. It is however indicative of products that I saw on supermarket shelves competing with the products of multinationals.  
The availability of suitable packaging at an affordable price seemed to limit the choice available to entrepreneurs. Unattractive products made competition with multinationals impossible.But please prove me wrong and show me what has replaced these products, email me at dave@digivu.co.zaWith this picture in my mind I came across a publication titled “Appropriate Food Packaging Solutions for Developing Countries” I thought that maybe I had found the solution. 

click the image to visit the website


The book is an interesting study and gives information on the packaging market internationally and in Africa. It is really aimed at encouraging the development of a packaging industries in those countries of Africa which have not yet established local capacity.  

The report identifies the potential of packaging linked to increasing food demand worldwide but a lack of export ready packaging systems and the small local market as discouraging investment in the packaging industry. In a “catch 22” way this limits the potential to expand imports.  

The report recommends that investment should be in the local production of packaging material rather than in equipment manufacture or packaging services.  
I would be interested to get feedback from you who know the real situation and maybe have solutions that are closer to the actual packaging needs in the plant! You can email me using this link.

Partners in Food Solutions – A Real Impact on African Food Processing?

This has much of the makings of a really good initiative. It is a non profit organisation established by General Mills from it’s Corporate Social Responsibility programme.

Partners in Food Solutions

click image to visit site


It links the technical and business expertise of volunteer employees at General Mills, Cargill and DSM to small and medium-sized mills and food processors in the developing world to

  • improve the ability of those companies to produce high-quality, nutritious and safe food at affordable prices
  • to increase demand for the crops of small-holder farmers who supply those businesses
  • to build a vibrant, sustainable food supply chain
  • After local processors have identified companies and their needs, volunteers are deployed to assist selected African food processing companies in

  • Determining the best nutritional mix based on local ingredients.
  • Developing new products that are locally sourced.
  • Designing facilities and food processing systems.
  • Creating high-performance packaging for storage and sales.
  • Improving quality and food processing procedures.
  • Enhancing food safety throughout the entire value chain.
  • Developing expertise in areas such as market assessment, strategy and finance.
  • Improving marketing, distribution and other aspects of getting products to end-consumers.
  • The concept of the rich multinational giving time and experience to poorer African food processors offers real potential for economic growth and poverty elimination. I intend to follow up a bit on this with further posts, but would very much like to hear of your experience with Partners in Food Solutions.

    Leave a comment or email me here.

    Instant Hot Meals – African Company

    Here is an interesting South African company and product. The product is an instant meal that does not require any cooking energy from the user and is ready to eat in 8 minutes.


    Instant Hot Meals | african food | meals | cooked meal | easy meals | gourmet meals | healthy choice | healthy food | instant food | dinner meal | simple food | south african meals.jpg

    from: Instant Hot Meals
    (click image for full story online)


    There are of course other instant products, although these normally focus on outdoor activities and the military.

    This company has a very broad, possibly too broad, approach which seems to be designed not to miss any chance. Amongst their defined markets and marketing issues are:

    • middle class convenience food market
    • feeding schemes
    • disaster relief
    • use in Africa to protect trees
    • use in Africa to overcome food safety and power supply issues
    • franchising scheme
    • world cup 2010
    • 10% of profit goes to “under privileged people of Africa”
    • 100 % green
    • fully recyclable
    • quality and safety focus
    • 9 month shelf life at ambient

    So here is an African Company we will definitely be watching! Quite some technology has gone into this one.


    Food Processing Africa Twitter

    I have started a twitter where I will be talking about food processing enterprises in Africa as a supplement to the DIGIVU blog and also to announce what I am posting here.


    Twitter _ Home.jpg


    from: TWITTER
    (click image to visit the site)


    To see what I am twitting and have the option to join go to https://twitter.com/daveharcourt.

    To see my twits and interact you first need to open a Twitter account. Then follow the Find People and then Find on Twitter links and search for me either through harcourt or daveharcourt and then follow.

    I have no idea how this is going to work but its an attempt to use a fairly popular tool to see how we can easily exchange information.

    The attraction of twitter is that its quick and easy to use!

    Please email me here with your thoughts.



    Science in Africa – Online Information Resource

    Here is a really good online resource – it covers a wide range of scientific subjects from an African angle and also periodically presents really practical series with a do-it-yourself flavour.


    Science in Africa, Africa_s First On-Line Science Magazine, Home Page-1.jpg


    For example there was a series on essential oils including processing and how to produce alcohol from waste on a cottage scale.