SCHOOL KIDS IN HONDURAS ARE BENEFITTING FROM HERMETIC STORAGE

June 15th, 2017 by GrainProMarketing No comments »

Bags of rice being loaded into a Cocoon.

Children in the village of Krausirpi in Honduras are benefitting from rice that was not treated with any harmful chemicals thanks to Ultra Hermetic™ and patented GrainPro® Cocoons™. The Cocoons were delivered on March 2017 and are currently protecting food crops against insects and fungal growth.

The United Nations’ World Food Programme partnered with GrainPro to store rice as part of a feeding program aimed at local school children. The Cocoons were delivered to the beautiful La Moskitia region – a large wetlands area in Honduras considered by many as the “Amazon” of Central America – using dugout canoes.

Preserving highly nutritious stocks of staple grains is a serious problem for the locals due to it’s location and the atmospheric conditions in the region. To safely preserve the shelf life and protect staple crops against infestation and fungal contamination, new storage methods – such as the Cocoon – are immediately needed to make an immediate impact.

The Cocoon is a hermetic storage container that comes in various capacities of 5MT to 1050MT. It is made from flexible polyvinyl chloride (PVC) with gastight and watertight properties to prevent the exchange of air and moisture. It effectively preserves and extends the shelf life of dried agricultural commodities using inert gases such as carbon dioxide to kill all insects. This means that the stored food crops won’t have any residues of harmful chemical fumigants.

The Cocoons were transported in canoes.

Scenic and pristine community.

A Cocoon storing bags of rice.

PACIFIC ISLAND EXPLORES SUN DRYING AND ULTRA HERMETIC™ STORAGE

June 8th, 2017 by GrainProMarketing No comments »

New Caledonia is getting much needed help to safely dry and store locally produced food crops as it attempts to invigorate the agricultural sector. Tom de Bruin, President of GrainPro® Philippines, recently visited the area to train government personnel in the use of innovative sun dryers and Ultra Hermetic™ storage solutions.

The island chain in the Pacific Ocean has big hopes of achieving food and agricultural independence. Called the “Heart of the Pacific”, this French territory is known for its rich deposits of nickel, which play a crucial role in the international nickel trade.

Despite its status as a major economy among the many island countries in the Pacific, it is very dependent on imports to feed an estimated population of 670,000. For example, rice, the staple food of the islands, is imported from Thailand and nearby Australia. An estimated 6000 tons of brown rice are imported each year with only one mill to process everything.

To turn things around, the French government assigned the Agence de Développement Economique de la Nouvelle-Calédonie (New Caledonia Economic Development Agency) or ADECAL to diversify the islands’ agricultural resources. ADECAL is currently developing the rice seed business to provide local farms with acclimatized rice seeds that fit the islands’ tropical climate.

GrainPro is working with ADECAL to test innovative postharvest solutions to safely dry and store rice seeds. Using Solar Bubble Dryers™, harvested seeds at 22 to 17 percent moisture content are dried down to a safe 12 percent. The seeds are then stored in SuperGrainbags® and Cocoons™ to ensure optimal storage conditions and good germination. New Caledonia is now planning to use the Cocoons to store consumption paddy in the next harvest season.

Food sufficiency is a common challenge among small island countries. Their isolation requires them to be self-sufficient, but the lack of resources make it difficult to achieve this. Whether grown locally or imported, dry agricultural commodities can rely on GrainPro’s line of Ultra Hermetic storage solutions and innovative sun dryers to safely preserve quality and quantity of seeds and dry agricultural commodities without using harmful chemical fumigants.

COMMITMENT TO QUALITY INSPIRES GRAINPRO® TQM STRATEGY

June 5th, 2017 by GrainProMarketing No comments »

Quality is extremely crucial in delivering satisfaction to customers and retaining their loyalty. This understanding is GrainPro’s® driving force in constantly improving its processes to ensure the delivery of top quality postharvest solutions, which led to the official implementation of its Total Quality Management (TQM) program on May 2, 2017 at its plant in Subic Bay, Philippines.

Having been in preparations since 2016, GrainPro’s TQM strategy will involve all the areas of production to check and evaluate all phases of the production process. By getting everyone involved and accountable, problems and defects will be immediately discovered and corrected before products reach completion. Additionally, employees will have a direct hand in improving processes that directly affect their work.

TQM aims to deliver customer satisfaction through a management approach that involves all members of an organization in the continual improvement of all processes, products, and services. It uses strategy, data, and effective communications to integrate the quality discipline into the culture and activities of the organization. This is an integrated, process-centered and fully involved strategy that pushes quality to create a quality-focused working culture within the organization.

Data on performance measures are necessary to determine how well an organization is performing. TQM encourages fact-based decision making among managers by constantly collecting and analyzing data to improve decision making accuracy.

“Collaboration plays an important role in achieving our TQM strategy,” says Hazel Valera, Supply Chain Manager, who was a driving force in embracing a culture focused on delivering quality. GrainPro has a longstanding commitment to quality and holds an ISO 9001:2008 certification since July 2008. The company is currently working on getting its ISO 9001:2015 certification. “We believe that this will transcend our operations, streamline and improve our process efficiency, and guarantee the timely and defects-free delivery of our products.”

FOR LILO FRUITS, QUALITY PRESERVATION A REALITY THROUGH HERMETIC BAGS

May 24th, 2017 by GrainProMarketing No comments »

LILO Fruits is not your typical fruit trading company. Based in Costa Rica, owners Kris Carvajal and Junior Quesada are passionate about employing innovative and improved ways to protect the quality of their organically-grown products. Their obsession gained the trust and confidence of their customers, both locally and abroad. One of the ways they safely preserve their coffee and turmeric, is by packing them in GrainPro® SuperGrainbags® (SGB) — an Ultra Hermetic™ liner with super low permeability to air and moisture.

The company grows organically different types of foodcrops at their Finca Lilo de Biolley, situated inside the largest rainforest park in Central America. The beautiful and lush location is perfect for growing various food crops that include various fruits-bearing trees such as lime, graviola, rambutan, banana, and coffee, and spices such as black pepper and their prized turmeric.

“LILO Fruits strives to inspire our buyers and our communities to lead an active, healthy lifestyle by offering simple and convenient options that are always fresh, safe and healthy,” explains Jennifer Long, a partner and spokesperson. Their commitment to their customers, farmers and the communities they belong to motivates them to utilize bio-intensive, bio-dynamic and permaculture techniques to ensure that they have the best, healthiest, cleanest, and the freshest offerings.

However, protecting their organically-grown commodities against insects and fungal growth is a major cause of concern. This is when LILO Fruits began using SGBs.

Other similar companies would’ve resorted to chemical fumigation. A common problem among companies that promote organically-grown commodities is that they employ inorganic measures along their production processes. Chemicals tend to kill adult insects, but leave eggs to develop and do damage later. Additionally, chemical residues are left on the commodities, which are eventually ingested by consumers. These are some of the reasons why international regulations are implementing tighter policies on the use of chemical fumigants on food crops.

The SuperGrainbag is just one of many Ultra Hermetic solutions developed by GrainPro. It’s an affordable liner bag designed to protect dried agricultural commodities against infestation and mold growth, while preserving freshness and aromatic qualities for more than a year. What’s more is that using the SGB can kill all insects, including their eggs, without chemical fumigation.

“We’ve had positive results from using the GrainPro bags (SGB) in shipping roasted coffee and powdered turmeric,” says Long. She described that they store the commodities in double layered SGBs for added protection. “I am happy that the bags organically control insects without any chemical residues. GrainPro truly pleases us!”

The combination of the quality of their products’ and their handling make them stand out in the market. They have big plans ahead, too. Organic medicinal food products made of raw materials grown from the region are already in the works.

It’s all about quality. Through Ultra Hermetic storage, LILO Fruits has a sustainable way to safely preserve quality without putting in chemicals that could harm those they serve their products to. The future is looking bright for LILO Fruits.

WINNING THE WAR AGAINST STALE, MOLDY FLAVORED SPECIALTY COFFEE

May 18th, 2017 by GrainProMarketing No comments »

Photo Credit: White Horse Coffee / Dom Majdandzic

When it comes to coffee, flavor is king.

Roasters around the world pay huge sums to purchase single-origin varieties that yield distinct flavor and aromatic characters. Their customers also pay a premium for a sip. Often, however, the subtle differences and undertones are lost by the time the coffee arrives at the shop. This leaves a bad taste to both roasters and customers.

Many consumers seeking high-quality coffee have acquired a taste for this kind of coffee. The majority of top-rated quality restaurants in the US actually cater to the acquired taste of deadened generic woodiness coated with dark-roasted caramel and carbon flavoring.  From a business standpoint, this is the profitable course of actions. After all, consumers won’t know the difference.

Coffee doesn’t just magically teleport itself from the farm to your cup. It takes a long time for coffee from remote villages in Asia, Africa or Latin America to arrive in the US. For example, bags of coffee from Guatemala that are shipped out to specialty coffee houses in Australia and Asia take months to arrive, often spending long layovers at Middle Eastern seaports.

But that’s only half the story.

Coffee is traditionally packed in burlap or jute bags, and it doesn’t take long for the beans to absorb the undesirable taste of these bags. By the time the bags reach their destination, they may be infested, caked with molds, and have developed an moldy taste from the long exposure to the jute bags.

George Howell, a pioneer of the specialty-coffee movement in the US in the early 1970’s and a recipient of the Specialty Coffee Association of America Lifetime Achievement Award, sums it all up:

“Green coffee is shipped and stored in woven jute or sisal bags, which have been coated with petroleum-based batching oils to increase fiber yield and facilitate the spinning process. Green coffee is traditionally kept in these bags for the year or more it takes to go through them (fine coffee is harvested once a year). And so, the green coffee devolved – exposed to oxygen, changes in the environment and to the bags themselves.”

Howell recommends packing coffee beans in hermetically sealed bags to prevent the evaporation of the aromatic oils that give it its unique aroma and flavor. Second, it prevents coffee from coming into contact with the jute bags, thus, preventing coffee from absorbing the foul odors caught in the bags. Finally, hermetically-sealed bag protects the beans against the exchange of air and moisture to stop infestation and fungal contamination.

It was a losing battle until the coffee industry came to discover Ultra Hermetic™ liner bags. This simple innovation, which was initially developed in 2002, has helped protect both quality and quantity of coffee all over the world. In fact, the patented GrainPro® SuperGrainbag® (SGB), a pioneering force in Ultra Hermetic storage technology, has become synonymous to the safe preservation of coffee. The SGB allowed coffee to arrive direct from the farms in pristine condition to allow drinkers around the world to experience the distinct aromas and flavors that the farmers cultivated.

“In coffee growing areas prone to weather volatility, parchment storage in GrainPro bags is critical to maintaining quality,” explained Caravela Coffee – an international coffee trader with offices in the US, UK and Australia. “Without this extra layer, green beans can re-humidify, undoing the stability achieved in the drying process, thereby reducing the coffee’s shelf life.”

Meanwhile, in Australia, Dominic Majdandzic of White Horse Coffee in Sydney went as far as saying that the SGB is the greatest advancement in coffee. “These humble bags not only maintain the freshness and integrity of the coffee, they also increase the longevity of coffee by up to four times,” revealed Dominic in his blog article.

The SGB is also a good solution for the safe and chemical-free preservation of other staple food grains and seeds, and high-value commodities. These bags are widely used for rice from Southeast Asia, spices from India, maize from Africa, and cacao from the Latin Americas.

With the high demand for coffee, the ability to protect both quality and quantity is allowing everyone to experience coffee at its primeval, and uncontaminated state. Ultra Hermetic liner bags such as the GrainPro SGB are leading the way in a winning war against undesirable and baggy flavors, ultimately, to the benefit of everyone who loves coffee.

Photo Credit: White Horse Coffee / Dom Majdandzic

US-BASED CRAFT CHOCOLATIER STORES PRIZE CACAO IN GRAINPRO BAGS

May 9th, 2017 by GrainProMarketing No comments »

“The first thing we do when we get bags is empty them out, line the bags with GrainPro plastic, then refill them. We do this so that the beans stay fresher longer and keep out pests.” – LetterPress Chocolate

While the international coffee trade has benefitted greatly from using GrainPro® SuperGrainbags® (SGBs) to organically preserve specialty and single-origin beans, the cacao industry has yet to fully discover the benefits of these miracle liner bags. One chocolatier in Los Angeles, California knows how these SGBs can protect both quality and quantity of their cacao stocks and shared to us how they are using these bags in their operations.

Letter Press Chocolate is California’s fastest growing craft chocolatier who sources their cacao from single origin farmers in Peru, Belize, Guatemala and the Dominican Republic. According to their website, when the bags arrive at their facility in L.A., the first thing they do is empty each one out. The bags are lined with GrainPro SGBs and refilled with the cacao beans. They added that they do this to keep out insects, and to preserve the freshness of the beans.

Rightfully so.

Letter Press Chocolate is the type of chocolatier that truly loves chocolates, and understands the value of protecting their most important investment – the cacao. According to their website, they don’t like how most chocolates taste artificial, and full of sugar and vanillin. They want their customers to experience the subtle differences and characters of each single-origin cacao they sourced from different regions – much like coffee or wine.

A joint study between Ghana, Israel and the Philippines in 2008 validates the effectiveness of GrainPro SGBs in protecting cacao against insects. Cacao beans were stored for 30 days in SGBs. Steep decline in oxygen concentration and anoxia was observed only after 15 days, resulting in 100 percent mortality of the insect population, including eggs and larvae.

An additional benefit of using the SGB is that it can protect and extend the aroma and flavor of the beans. Like coffee, cacao also comes in burlap or jute bags. After a while of being inside these bags, the beans may absorb the undesirable aromatic qualities of jute that are reflected in the flavor and aroma of the cacao. This results in the development of undesirable aromatic qualities and flavors.

Besides using GrainPro SGBs, Letter Press Chocolate is also a firm believer in cacao farmers. They forge direct relationships with farmers and provide much needed support to cooperatives. Additionally, farmers are paid a premium amount to help raise their quality of life.

Despite being relatively new, Letter Press Chocolate has already won the prestigious Good Food™ Award in 2017 for their Costa Esmeraldas Ecuador Chocolate bar. This achievement proves that their philosophy of sustainability and transparency is working for them, their farmers and customers.

COCOONS AS AN ALTERNATIVE TO COLD STORES IN PEANUT STORAGE

May 2nd, 2017 by GrainProMarketing No comments »

The Cocoon and the nuts are sealed hermetically.

A recently concluded trial in Indonesia comparing GrainPro® Gas-Hermetic Fumigation (G-HF) Cocoon™ to cold storage and ordinary warehouse storage to preserve peanuts came back in March with positive results. The client, a highly-regarded name in the peanut processing industry, concluded that the Cocoons performed extremely well in preserving the freshness of peanuts.

According to their report, the cold store and the Cocoon performed similarly in controlling aflatoxin levels, moisture content percentage, and oxidation values even after seven months. Visually, the peanuts stored in the Cocoon did not show any signs of discoloration. The most important consideration during the trial was to see how the Cocoon would deal with infestation. Based on the findings, the Cocoon eliminated both insect adults and eggs due to the rapid drop in oxygen levels in the first 220 days of installation.

The impressive results and the economic benefits of using Cocoons convinced the company executives to use modified atmosphere technology to complement their existing cold storage facilities. After a visit by Alnor Limbo, GrainPro Customer Support Engineer, the company is looking to install five more 100 tonne G-HF Cocoons at their facility while using mechanized loaders.

The GrainPro G-HF Cocoon is an Ultra Hermetic™ storage solution for large quantities of bagged commodities. With sizes ranging from 5MT to 1050MT, the Cocoon can control insect and fungal contamination through superior gas and water barriers that prevent the exchange of air and moisture during storage. With a gas flushing mechanism, it can be easily filled with carbon dioxide to speed up the process of insect elimination.

There have been several global inquiries in the viability of modified atmosphere in Cocoons as a storage and pest-control solution for peanuts. This latest experience in Indonesia clearly shows that there are economic benefits in its use as an organic storage. By cutting out the need for refrigeration, the company will reduce its carbon footprint as well and eventually will market a better product.

Bags of peanuts are loaded into a 5MT G-HF Cocoon during the trial.

GRAINPRO® PHILIPPINES CELEBRATES TEN YEARS OF POST-HARVEST INNOVATIONS

April 27th, 2017 by GrainProMarketing No comments »

Click for GP Milestone Video

SUBIC BAY, PHILIPPINES – GRAINPRO® PHILIPPINES, the wholly-owned principal subsidiary of US-based GrainPro, Inc., celebrates its 10th anniversary. In 2007, founders Tom de Bruin and Philippe Villers opened GrainPro Philippines in Subic Bay as a realization of their vision to develop affordable and safe post-harvest solutions in hermetic and modified atmosphere storage and transport, and solar drying, enabling a full system of on-farm grain and seed management that evolved GrainPro into a global post-harvest and Ultra Hermetic™ technology leader whose products are used in more than 100 countries.

GrainPro Philippines plays a crucial role in addressing food losses around the world. Its facility in Subic Bay, Philippines is central to the global operations of GrainPro. It is where its patented solutions are developed, manufactured and commercialized.

“We are driven to push the boundaries through innovation and education,” said Tom de Bruin, GrainPro Philippines President and CEO. “We believe that farmers and consumers have so much to gain from crops that are safely protected from farm to market against infestation and mold-growth. This inspires us to continue improving our products and develop a diversified line of unique offerings that are sought after for their effectiveness, design and value.”

GrainPro Philippines is also actively partnered with food producers, research institutions, development organizations, and government agencies in the development and deployment of its solutions. To meet the growing demands for environmentally-friendly post-harvest solutions, GrainPro Philippines moved to a larger production facility in 2010, also in Subic Bay. The increased manufacturing capacity enabled GrainPro to supply worldwide needs such as a $7 million USAID subcontract for the delivery of Collapsible Dryer Cases™, SuperGrainbags® and Cocoons™ to small Afghan farmers.

In terms of product quality, GrainPro Philippines is ISO 9001: 2008 certified and is committed to deliver consistently high quality products and services to its customers through strong customer focus, management accountability, and continuous improvement and review.

GrainPro Philippines continues to roll out new innovations to improve the handling and protection of dry agricultural commodities, especially in developing parts of the world. Find out more about GrainPro Philippines here www.grainpro.com.

NEW FLEXIBLE WATER TANK LAUNCHES

April 20th, 2017 by GrainProMarketing No comments »

We are pleased to announce the commercialization of one of our latest products and our answer to water storage – THE GRAINPRO® FLEXIBLE WATER TANK™ (FWT).

The FWT is a lightweight, portable and reusable water reservoir that can be used at home or at the farm. It can store up to 1 cubic meter, or 1000 liters of water. This is enough to last five days for a family of four (average of 50 liters per member based on recommended daily consumption by the United Nations) for drinking and hygiene.

Here are a few key benefits:

  • Easy-to-use – Comes with an inlet port for filling, a standard half-inch plastic faucet for discharge. A standard garden hose can fit nicely on the faucet. The faucet can also be replaced easily.
  • High-capacity storage – Can carry more water than your standard metal drum. The FWT has a capacity of 1 cubic meter, or 1000 liters.
  • Replaceable food-grade liner – The inner liner is made of food-grade high strength polyethylene. It can be bought separately through GrainPro and replaced easily in case of damages.
  • Collapsible and portable – Made of lightweight materials. This plastic reservoir can be transported and used at home, at the farm, and during emergencies.

Aside from home, or farm use, this product could be relied upon during emergency and relief operations during calamities, and therefore, would be a great solution to introduce to potential clients involved in non-profits and development organization. And because the FWT is food-grade, it can also store liquid raw materials and finished products.

GRAINPRO DISTRIBUTOR LEADS THE WAY IN SAFE STORAGE IN GHANA

April 17th, 2017 by GrainProMarketing No comments »

In 2010, Nana Yaw Obeng immediately saw the potential of hermetic technology to safely store grains and seeds. His vision is paving the way to safer postharvest storage and organic preservation, not only in Ghana, but throughout the continent.

A Postharvest Technology graduate of the Natural Resource Institute in the United Kingdom, Nana returned to Ghana upon completion of his degree and worked for the government. He started Agrimat, Ltd., as a trader of agricultural inputs and machineries. It is through his business that he found out about the GrainPro® SuperGrainbag®, a hermetic liner bag with superior air and water barriers to stop infestation and inhibit fungal growth without using chemicals.

Harvest season is a busy time for the Agrimat team when farmers flock to buy these miraculous storage bags. Each farmer buys up to 10 to 15 bags at 8 Cedis, or less than US$2 per bag. Ivy Oduro Donkyi holds Agrimat’s wholesale warehouse, where GrainPro bags are sold to retailers from all over the countryside. Ivy is on her 14th year with Agrimat and she confirms, “our clients are happy with the performance of the SuperGrainbag and they keep coming back.” At the store, we find Dora Bempong who’s been an employee for 20 years with Sophia Turkson, another 14-year employee. Dora says, “I also use the SGB at my house to store rice and since I began using it, I’ve never had any infestation problems.”

The liner bag isn’t the only hermetic solution Agrimat is offering. Tom de Bruin, who visited Agrimat last month, explains that, “as the oldest and most senior partner of GrainPro in Africa, Agrimat also sells Cocoons™, which can hermetically store up to 1050 metric tons.” They are piloting a new government initiative to set up grain warehousing facilities that will help smallholder farmers safely store their crops without the use of chemicals. This puts them and hermetic storage at the forefront of food loss reduction.