This is an interesting and detailed paper presenting detailed information on the processing of traditional foods.
from: IUFOST (click image for full story online)
The paper concludes that the existing small scale processing is important to food supply, food preservation and employment.
It finds that the expansion of the production of these traditional foods would make business sense, this has been hampered by the normal culprits – access to technology, poor management, lack of funding and low profit margins.
The paper presents information on the mechanization of gari, the production of instant yam flour and flakes and the production of traditional products including soy-ogi, dawadawa, kilishi and cheese.
The article has a detailed list of references.
This is a simple essay on packaging for small food businesses in West Africa that helps broaden ones picture of packaging which is often a real constraint on business.
West Africa Trade Hub Webpage
click the image to visit the website
The essay focusses on the potential of the cardboard box in areas where packaging suppliers are limited. It gives a few examples of real experiences and is enjoyable to read.
The use of dried and smoked fish is an important part of the diet of many poorer communities with access to fish either marine of fresh water.
Emeka Okafor of Timbuktu Chronicles, a really good blog with a focus on business successes in Africa, presents some technical information on fish smoking and drying.
Drying and Smoking are two critical technologies for those who have access to fresh fish which they wish to process and store for later use. They are critical technologies for resource poor people and cheaper and more environmentally sustainable than freezing, chilling and canning.
The first video is a bit of an eyeopener and actually focusses on potraying the existing processing of waste fish parts from a Nile Perch processing factory on Lake Victoria in Uganda.
The second by the Kenya Marine and Fisheries Research Institute is an introduction to fish smoking from fish buying to dried fish storage.
Integrated Dairy Farm Limited (IDF) produces Farm Fresh Dairy Products.
IDF produces about a million litres of milk a year which is sold as milk, yogurt, butter, cheese and whipping cream.
Packaging is very often a major problem in small and medium scale processing in Africa – poorly packaged products will seldom compete with well designed imports.
This document is another one from the West Africa Trade Hub, a really good resource especially for businesses in West Africa. On the other hand much of the information is generic and an East African business could source local suppliers through the West African suppliers listed here
The document, which is free to download has sections covering general information on different kinds of packaging, information on selecting packaging, specific information on labeling and EU & US regulations, some focused information for West Africa, a directory of West African packaging suppliers, a case study on cashew packaging and a list of appropriate websites.
The 27 page document is well illustrated and contains practical and useful information.
I have blogged on the West African Tradehub before, but this is a look at specific information and an assessment of it practicality and applicability.
Every small food business workshop surely lists export as an opportunity in their SWOT analysis. What the vast majority are unable to do is to understand the implication of a strategy that focuses on export. Therefore it gets written up and maybe posted on the webpage more in excitement and optimism that in expectation.
This manual should be prescribed reading for the facilitator of such workshops, but more importantly seems to be a realistic HOW TO manual for a business wishing to consider the potential of entering and export market and also its checklist and directory as an exporter.
The manual appears to be pretty comprehensive, but if anyone who has practical experience could offer feedback I would be happy to publish that here.
The Table of Contents is copied below:
Why this export guide?
1. Success in exporting specialty foods
1.1. Why should your business export?
1.2. How does international trade differ from domestic trade?
1.3. In-house management issues involved in the decision to export
1.4. Importance of an export marketing strategy
Continue Reading »
I always feel good when I see what looks like real useful information that is available to African entrepreneurs for free!
The West Africa Trade Hub is funded through and managed by the USAID Regional Mission for West Africa.
This is packed with useful information from trade directories to export and business guides, country and sector analyses to product reports and transport analyses to conferences and workshops.
There are two other hubs for East and Southern Africa, but these do not yet have the breadth of information presented by the West African Hub.
What I would like would be to hear from people who have used the West Africa Hub – is it as good as it seems? Leave a comment or email me here.
If so I think we could start to support and encourage USAID, the main funder of the hubs, to speed up the development of the other hubs.