Tag Archives: value addition

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!


Food Dehydration Options – Free Online Technical Information.

This document, from US Agriculture, is a review of dehydration at a somewhat higher technology level than is often the case on this blog.

The technologies described include batch cabinet dryer, spray dryer and even the freeze dryer. The article also covers business, marketing and regulatory issues and has many link, unfortunately to mainly Amercan information.

ATTRA Dehydration Website

from: ATTRA
(click image for full story online)

The subjects covered by the document are:

  • Types of Dehydration
  • Drying as an On-Farm Added-Value Strategy
  • Product Development and Marketing
  • Regulations
  • References
  • Resources
  • There is an interesting reference to “solar drying” by which they mean drying in the open or what this Blog (and many technologists) terms sun drying. It again raises, this time for a food regulation point of view, the possible contamination of food dried in the open.

    …could not determine how California producers can legally sun-dry in the open or why no one in the health department has “picked up on it yet.” A possible explanation is that existing businesses are sometimes “grandfathered in” when new, tighter restrictions are published.

    I would by the way note that I have not yet managed to get a reply to by query to California Sun Dry about this issue.

    Email me you thoughts and ideas on this and I will publish them in a post!