Tag Archives: centre

Mad River Food Hub – renting Processing Capacity

This processing centre in the USA appears to have managed to set itself up to support small scale processors, unlike many failed African attempts I have seen. It seems a sensible approach and I would really like to hear about successful businesses similar to this in Africa. But let’s look at this one first.

click the image to visit the website

This facility in Waitsfield, Vermont covers 370 m2 facility and offers two meat processing rooms, a vegetable/herb processing room and a smoking room as well as a shared dish-station, Industrial sized freezer & cooler and dry storage area. The centre also makes available a distribution service through a commercial food distributor.

The facility is approved for food and meat processing and is run as a for profit business. It is currently running at about a half of the 60% utilization required to break even, but the manager is confident of reaching this within a year.

The plant is run within a list of process and storage prices and even has a series of defined fines for actions from not cleaning properly to missing a booking.

While I have seen a number of incubators, processing centers and other models aimed at promoting small enterprises in a number of countries, the closest I have seen to this model was at Mahala in Mpumalanga, South Africa.

That centre offered the use of equipment to produce a number of food products including bread, fruit juice and vegetable oil (ref.: Fruit And Veg Cape Town). The center only operated while it was grant funded and failed as soon as grant funding ceased as utilization was low. It is interesting to note that the technologies offered weren’t focussed so much on farmer’s needs but were product linked. The centre also offered non food technologies with concrete block making being the most successful.

What information do you have to add? Why not email me and I will publish it here, to allow others the chance to understand success factors and not make the same mistakes!