UK Food Manufacturers and Retailers Agrees to Fight Waste

March 16, 2009

I have often posted on the waste issue – highlighting the problem, looking at solutions and reporting on achievements. Now, in the UK, we have a real agreement in place and initial results that look promising.

 

Retail homepage - WRAP.jpg

from: WRAP
(click image for full story online)

 


Retailers and manufacturers are committed to working together to cut the UK’s household food waste by 155,000t or 2.5 per cent of the total waste by the end of 2010 – equivalent to $520 million and 700 000 tons of Carbon Dioxide a year.

The agreement is part of WRAP’s Love Food Hate Waste campaign and has already achieved The campaign which was launched in November 2007 had already delivered a reduction of 110,000 tons in the annual amount of household food waste by March 2008.

Fresh fruit and vegetables, bakery products, dairy, meat and fish products are the biggest sources of household food waste, according to WRAP. The latest initiative will focus on eliminating waste by developing more effective labeling; pack size range, storage advice and packaging to keep food fresher for longer.

This is interesting when compared to the situation in Africa where hunger and famine are widespread. There is of course no way of saying how many people this mass of food could feed but its interesting that that in the recent Myanmar Emergency Operation by the World Food Programme people received 450 g/day of food or 0.16 ton a year so a million people would have consumed 160 000 ton a year!

 


The Beesness of Honey

March 5, 2009

This is a nice article on honey in rural Kenya.

 

AfriGadget.jpg

from: AFRIGADGET
(click image for full story online)

 

Of particular interest is the fact that the traditional hive, with some of its disadvantages is widely used because of the high cost (US$ 100) of commercial hives. Also that honey separation is done by a co-operative because of the cost of a separator.

The group of 40 beekeepers produced 8 000 kg of raw honey which had a value of US$ 8 000 or US$ 200/person/year. The co-operative was able to sell separated honey for US$ 8/kg indicating the possibility of value addition.

The potential of honey may be large given the difficulties in Europe and USA where swarms are being wiped out by colony collapse disorder and the possibility of moving toward own processing, organic, ethical and FAIRTRADE honey with much larger incomes.

 


A Market For West African Food

February 16, 2009

This website is a simple commercial undertaking offering a range of Nigerian Foods to expatriates in the United States.

 

ExceedFoods.com_ Nigerian Foods. One Click Away.  |  Roots.jpg

from: Exceed Foods
(click image for full story online)

 

The company is clearly an e-commerce company which has built a management team of Nigerians who are able to drive both the food product and the sourcing issues of the company.

As many of these foods are common to other West African countries the market is surely wider than Nigerians in the US. Then there is also an opportunity to apply the business model to other National Foods and set up stores for other groups.

The company is NY based and prices need to be judged by those who know the foods not me. As examples yam roots sell for $2.30 / lb, garri around $1 / lb, dried shrimp $12 / lb and palm oil $25 / gall.


Agribusiness Information – West Africa Trade Hub

December 8, 2008

I always feel good when I see what looks like real useful information that is available to African entrepreneurs for free!

 

West Africa Trade Hub - Resources.jpg

from: West Africa Trade Hub
(click image for full story online)

 

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.


Alternate Energy Sector Under Real Pressure

October 29, 2008

The ongoing disagreement about whether biofuels were effecting food availability, which 2nd generation biofuels offered most, whether wind farms polluted, if nuclear was a better option etc have become somewhat less significant.

 

Alternative Energy Suddenly Faces Headwinds - NYTimes.com.jpg

from: New York Times
(click image for full story online)

 


Now the economy is the unarguable brake on the development and implementation of alternate energies.

The economic downturn has forced the price of oil down which ends all investors and investees scrambling to the spreadsheet. It has further reduced the availability of capital in those cases where the venture capitalist is still interested in investing. The billions of dollars, euros etc of capital pumped into the banks to keep them afloat will inevitably lead to less money to be invested in subsidising alternate energy and probably more worrying into R&D.

The alternate energy movement runs the risk of faltering and again loosing momentum as it did after the fuel crisis in the 1980s.


Biofuels in South Africa – Current Situation

October 8, 2008

Two recent stories are I think indicative of where South Africa is in the biofuel market.

Sasol recently discussed their succeeding in being listed in the Dow Jones sustainability world index and gave an overview of their focus.

 

Sasol studies ‘new energy’ technologies with lower environmental impacts-1.jpg

from: Engineering News
(click image for full story online)

 

On the biodiesel project they have been publicising with the Central Energy Fund for some years now they stated that “there is not a very certain government framework at this point in time, which makes finalising a decision not very easy” even though the crude price is multiples of what it was in the beginning!

A recent article highlighted the discontent of commercial maize growers with the South African Governments decision to only allow the production of ethanol from excess maize.

Business Day - News Worth Knowing-1.jpg


from: Business Day
(click image for full story online)

 

These two stories reinforce what was obvious at the time the Biofuels Strategy was being actively developed – no one was going to be able to make a profitable business out of it without significant subsidisation from government.

The concern is that South Africa can now move away from first generation biofuels, but Africa seems to be getting deeper involved although the constrains are obvious.

The article below by the US Department of Agriculture at the end of 2007 has a good overview, but concludes that maybe there is still room for government to adjust its position. This has apparently not happened to date.

Republic of South Africa Biofuels Situation Update – Get more Legal Forms


Africa Biofuel – Tanzanian biofuel company

October 8, 2008

Africa Biofuel and Emission Reduction Company is focussed on bringing a triple-bottom-line biofuel business model to Africa.

 

News.jpg

from: Africa Biofuels
(click image for full story online)

 

Africa Biofuels set out to find a biofuel process that did not compete for a food or use agricultural land. It looked for a product that could actually enhance the environment and benefit the people of the area.

It identified Croton megalocarpus, an indigenous tree, as its focus.

There is detailed discussion of the project under the explanatory and news section of the website that promotes its arguments in detail.

In a quick scan and search I was unable to identify how the byproducts (oil cake and glycerine) are to be used and what income they will generate. This “income” and the cost of manual collection from wild trees are critical to the viability of the process. In fact I not find any costing or economics on the site but am taking that up via email.