Sunday, September 16, 2007

Fruit Drying Notes

Fruits of the Nile
Henry and I were given a tour. The man taking us around told us that the pack house is producing about one container a month for export, but the people from the UK could be taking four containers a month, However, when we returned to John, the manager's office he seemed keen on hiding the fact that they are not even close to meeting the demand. He told me that he doesn't want to increase the number of suppliers to the factory because he needs to keep the balance of supply and demand in check.

Training has been done for free, but John said if they are not well off, it can be between $100-$150…I thought I heard him wrong and asked if he meant thousands of shillings, but he said dollars. He made this sound REALLY flexible…from free to astronomically expensive.

# FOTN works through "Primary Producers," who may have a group of surrounding farmers feeding their product through them. According to the study on Successful Supply Chains I sent out, and somewhat confirmed by John, FOTN has not had the best luck working with groups, which is why they focus on their primary producers. FOTN has about 200 primary producers and according to their "trickle down effect" estimates, FOTN is improving the lives of over 10,000 people……
# To become a primary producer, one must apply, specify the number and size of gardens they intend to acquire pineapple and pass standard hygiene requirements. They also prefer primary producers to be near sources of clean water.
# John said that he felt between 6 and 10 dryers would significantly impact a family of five, however, I'm not sure why the number is so high. The more dryers one starts with, the higher the start-up costs. Despite the higher outputs, most farmers don't have very profitable first or second seasons.
# Training covers: "solar fruit drying and how it works, cleanliness and sanitation, personal hygiene, food hygiene, food safety, food handling, practical solar fruit processing, procurement of quality fruits, acceptable transportation, washing, slicing, clean storage environment, food grade packaging, waste management, business records, repairs and maintenance." More on training is outlined in the cost-benefit analysis.
# They keep files on their primary producers containing their training history, conditions of sites, etc. They will make notes in a file when they do site visits, making suggestions on improvements ( i.e. maybe a dryer is too close to the latrine), and then will update the file to see whether the farmer makes the improvements.
# Seasons are unpredictable depending on the rains

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