GRAINPRO® PHILIPPINES CELEBRATES TEN YEARS OF POST-HARVEST INNOVATIONS

April 27th, 2017 by GrainProMarketing No comments »

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.

BABBAN GONA AMONG RECEPIENTS OF 2017 SKOLL AWARDS

April 7th, 2017 by GrainProMarketing No comments »

Kola Masha, Managing Director of the Babban Gona program in Nigeria, is among this year’s recipients of the prestigious Skoll Awards for Social Entrepreneurship. Masha, a supporter of hermetic storage and social enterprise, was recognized for his role in creating a model that attracts smallholder farmers and the nation’s unemployed youths. This agricultural program is generating employment opportunities, livelihoods, and is keeping younger generations from joining extremist groups and gangs in the country.

Babban Gona provides much needed support through financing, training, tools, technology, and marketing to increase the yields and profits of farmers by 2.3 times the national average. The member farmers bring their harvests to Babban Gona collection centers for processing and storage. The crops are stored inside GrainPro® Cocoons™ to safely preserve the quality and freshness of the products for extended periods without the use of harmful chemicals. The crops are then sold by Babban Gona during the lean season to trusted customers who pay a premium for quality.

This results in higher profits for the farmers. But more than that, the program is creating opportunities and making agriculture a viable livelihood for the millions of youths who are without employment prospects in a country that has one of the worst unemployment rates in the continent.

The Skoll Awards distinguish transformative leaders whose organizations disrupt the status quo, drive sustainable large-scale change, and are poised to create even greater impact on the world. Awardees’ organizations receive $1.25 million core support investments to scale their work and increase their impact. The social entrepreneurs also gain leverage through their long-term participation in a global community of visionary leaders and innovators dedicated to solving some of the biggest global challenges of our time.

[Video] Kola Masha of Babban Gona explains how Babban Gona is working with local farmers to increase their yields and profits.

RURAL DISTRIBUTION PLAYS AN IMPORTANT ROLE IN SAFELY PRESERVING GRAIN

March 14th, 2017 by GrainProMarketing No comments »

“This is the first year I’m not buying chemicals to store my grain,” Baraka Nurie, the mother of three small children, revealed to Jordan Dey, GrainPro® VP for Food Security, during a visit on February in Ethiopia’s Gurage Region.

What gives? A new rural distribution strategy initiated in January 2017 by GrainPro’s Ethiopia distributor, HiTec, will give millions of small farmers access to pesticide-free and safe hermetic storage. Hermetic bags, such as GrainPro’s SuperGrainbag®, help stop infestation and inhibit the growth of aflatoxin-producing molds, while retaining the quality, color, and taste of stored grains for months, even years without using chemicals that can harm consumers.

Farmers in Ethiopia traditionally grow corn, sorghum and teff for their household consumption, keeping four or five bags (100KG) of the grain in their house.  Bugs, particularly weevils, immediately show up, infesting the grain, eating the nutritious core and reducing the contents to a powdery mess.

To combat this problem, farmers, desperate due to the lack of appropriate, affordable and alternative preservation methods during storage, are directly applying chemicals categorized under the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants on their grains every couple of months. Some of these chemicals have doubtful origins and are banned internationally from use without proper training because their use can have negative health and environmental effects.

These chemicals kill the weevils, but leave residues that threaten the health of consumers, particularly children, and farm animals. At a financial standpoint, chemical pesticides reduce the market value of their crops. Additionally, the improper use of these chemicals can lead to environmental problems and health concerns for users and their families. Given the downsides of using chemicals, hermetic storage is clearly the safer and more cost-efficient alternative.

HiTec’s strategy involves partnering with governments and local groups to conduct outreach activities that will see highly-trained agricultural extension officers visiting rural communities to train and educate farmers on hermetic storage, and establish a network of local dealers to supply the farmers. One of the dealers, Shafi Agro in Butajira, already sold 439 GrainPro bags since the program started.

The financial incentives of storing are undeniable. In southern Ethiopia, with the harvest just in, the price for a 100 KG bag of corn is currently $19 USD. In five months, as supplies diminish, the market price will increase to $31 per bag, or a 60% gain. The small farmers can recoup the cost of their investment in hermetic bag by waiting 3 to 4 months before they sell their grain.

Despite the obvious benefits, creating the foundation for behavior change among small farmers is a long-term process and requires a long-term commitment. Sharing this effort among governments, donors, non-profits, international organizations and the technology providers is the key to catalyzing behavior change and improving the health, nutritional and financial outcomes for small farmers globally.

And the right time to do this is now.

With increasing pressures to stop the use of dangerous pesticides on dry agricultural commodities, there is a clear desire among farmers for safer alternatives. Baraka Nurie and others in her neighborhood got it right when they decided to stop using chemicals and try out hermetic storage. Aside from the financial potential, they can be sure that their children are eating safe.

The active ingredient in Malatine (pictured) is Endosulfin, a toxic chemical that is being phased out globally.

New Scientific Paper Discusses How to Control Aflatoxin Growth with Safe Post Harvest Practices

February 23rd, 2017 by GrainProMarketing No comments »

In human beings, high aflatoxin levels depress the immune system, thereby contributing to many health problems ranging from cancer and susceptibility to HIV, to stunted growth among children. This led governments in Africa to band together to stop the spread of Aflatoxins in the continent. At an October 2016 meeting with the Partnership for Aflatoxin Control in Africa (PACA), Ugandan President, H.E. Yoweri Museveni called for a collective effort among African countries to address aflatoxin challenges.

However, postharvest storage remains the most overlooked stage for effectively preventing aflatoxin growth. In hot, humid climates, long term conventional storage can produce exponential growth of aflatoxins. It shows that restricting the increase in aflatoxin levels during both drying and long-term storage is a major challenge, particularly in hot and humid conditions.

An increasingly popular and inexpensive alternative method for controlling aflatoxin growth during multi-month storage is using flexible, Ultra Hermetic™ storage containers. This storage technology relies on creating a condition such that insect plus microflora respiration, and sometimes respiration of the commodity itself, is greater than residual intake of oxygen through ultra-low permeability container material. For the successful use of Ultra Hermetic storage as well as for other storage methods, crops must be adequately dried, typically to a point below their ―critical moisture level (in equilibrium with 65% relative humidity).

A new technical report on this topic is scheduled to appear in the Journal of Food Research’ April edition with added information from Professor Flavio Meira Borem, world leader in coffee research, post-harvest technology and new packaging materials. Download an advanced copy by following this link. – http://www.grainpro.com/gpi/images/PDF/PU3026PV1016%20JFR-Food_Safety_and_Aflatoxin_Control.pdf

HERMETIC STORAGE PROVIDES VALUE OPPORTUNITY FOR MAIZE IN INDONESIA

February 20th, 2017 by GrainProMarketing No comments »

JAKARTA, INDONESIA – Indonesia intends to scale up the use of Ultra Hermetic™ technology to solve its storage problems. This was made apparent at a meeting last December 15, 2016 in Jakarta when officials of Indonesia’s Bureau of Logistics (BULOG), a major local food agency, expressed their plan to store 50 percent of their maize in GrainPro® Self-Verifying Cocoons™.

The agency is concerned about their buffer stock of maize for human and animal consumption, which is estimated at 200,000 metric tonnes (MT). The crop is typically stored for six months to a year in warehouses across the country. Despite their strict policies and standards on warehouse storage, the agency continues to encounter problems with insects and fungal contamination.

Another is the rising cost of chicken in Indonesia. According to Eng. Alnor Limbo, GrainPro Customer Support Engineer, chicken prices rose by at least 15 percent during the last year. The price is directly affected by the supply of maize used as feed for poultry and other livestock animals.

Because production is not spread out evenly, the country needs to import to address local demands. As such, their lack of storage facilities result in poor quality maize that can’t be used as animal feed. Unable to meet demands, the price of maize goes up and this creates a chain of events that ultimately correlates to the high price of chicken. Elevating the problem is an estimated 445,000 MT of maize to be produced or imported in 2017. This prompted the agency to explore the use of hermetic technology. Previous trials of Cocoons in Indonesia from 2014 onward with rice were very promising.

The Cocoon is a gastight and watertight outdoor food storage solution with varying sizes that can store up to 1000 MT. Because it can prevent the exchange of air and moisture, it can preserve the quality of grains and seeds without using toxic fumigants. The Cocoon uses an environment-friendly technology that safely preserves dry agricultural commodities for human and animal consumption.

BULOG now uses GrainPro Cocoons for storing locally-produced rice. They currently have 10 units installed at multiple facilities throughout Indonesia. For more information about the Cocoon, visit the GrainPro website at www.grainpro.com.

FOOD SECURITY REMAINS A PRIORITY IN WAR-TORN SOMALIA

February 6th, 2017 by GrainProMarketing No comments »

GALMUDUG, SOMALIA – Two Ultra Hermetic™ GrainPro® Self-Verifying Cocoons™ are preserving a blend of corn and soya flour in Somalia. The Cocoons are part of a development program that aims to alleviate the growing food problem in the war-torn country.

GrainPro’s Priscilla Mosigisi, Sales Manager, and Alinaitwe Justus, Customer Support Engineer, carried out a training of local staff on December 2, 2016. The training program included the installation of the 100MT and 150MT Cocoons. Logistical issues and exchanges of gunfire between government and rebel troops near the compound caused delays.

The ongoing civil war has an adverse effect on local food production. Despite efforts to improve food security in the country, the situation forces many to rely on food donations from international relief organizations. To preserve the quality of foreign aid, Cocoons are a cost-effective solution that prevents the exchange of air and moisture to safely control pests and inhibit the growth of aflatoxin-producing molds without using any harmful chemicals.

GrainPro is working actively with international organizations and the local community in Somalia to help reduce food losses and prevent aflatoxin poisoning. Its Cocoon™ is well-known among development organizations in the country as a viable solution to storage-related problems. Last year, GrainPro visited the capital city of Mogadishu where the team trained local officials and food producers how to use the SuperGrainbag® and GrainSafe Bag in the framework of a FAO funded project.

INDONESIA CONTINUES TO STEP UP RICE STORAGE WITH HERMETIC COCOONS™

January 24th, 2017 by GrainProMarketing No comments »

JAKARTA, INDONESIA – The Indonesian Bureau of Logistics (BULOG) increased its storage capacity with the installation of six 150MT GrainPro Cocoons™ on December 2016 in the province of Lampung, and the cities of Yogyarta and Jakarta.

The installation is part of a nationwide initiative by BULOG — a government-owned company that deals in food distribution and price control – designed to increase its rice storage capabilities and further enhance an already efficient warehousing practice. Despite the agency’s stern sanitary procedures and effective handling of rice in its facilities, pests and fungal growth continue to be a problem.

Training also plays a crucial role in the success of this project. Engr. Alnor Limbo, GrainPro Customer Support Engineer, delivered technical seminars to BULOG managers, technical staff and high-ranking officials. The seminar included instructions on correct operation procedures, proper maintenance and addressed the concerns of the technical staff about hermetic storage.

The Cocoon uses an environment-friendly technology to safely preserve a wide variety of dry agricultural commodities for human and animal consumption. It’s an airtight and watertight solution that stops infestation and inhibits fungal contamination without using harmful chemicals.

Since the first Cocoons were tested in 2014, the agency has steadily increased its units to meet the rising demands for quality preservation that reflect their high standards. In total, 10 units are currently installed in BULOG facilities throughout Indonesia. They are also planning to add more in coming years for the storage of other food commodities.

SOLAR BUBBLE DRYER ARRIVES IN EAST AFRICA

January 13th, 2017 by GrainProMarketing No comments »

NAIROBI, KENYA – A new project in East Africa introduced smallholder farmers to the GrainPro® Solar Bubble Dryer™ (SBD) — a state-of-the-art drying solution that protects commodities against sudden rains while it dries.

The project – Making Value Chains Work for Food and Nutrition Security of Vulnerable Populations in East Africa – aims to reach some five million smallholder farmers across multiple agricultural communities and 50,000 consumers across Uganda and Kenya. As part of the three-year initiative, a unit was installed in September for a local company that manufactures affordable and nutritious snacks. The SBDs will be used to dry beans – a highly nourishing crop aimed at low-income households. Eight more of these dryers were distributed to local farmers in different regions of Uganda and Kenya on November 2016.

A major challenge for smallholders in the area are the intermittent rains that occur during the drying process. The SBD’s top cover absorbs heat from the sun to dry the grains and seeds while providing protection against sudden rains. Ventilators push out moisture to exhausts at the back. The SBD is easy-to-use and can be installed on any flat surface.

Proper drying is a requirement for improved food preservation. Developed by GrainPro with the International Rice Research Institute and the University of Hohenheim (Germany), the SBDs are creating a buzz most notably among women farmers who see it as a tool that could reduce their workload and improve their processes. Together with CIAT, the partners are testing the SBD with farmers and food processors in the region.