Posts Tagged ‘SuperGrainbag’

FIELD REPORT: SUCCESS IN MALAWI

August 24th, 2017

Farmers responded positively to the recently concluded World Food Programme-led P4P postharvest workshops in Malawi according to an official field report by Alex Chigovera, Technical Support Engineer of GrainPro. The report was collected from the post-training surveys that the participants completed.

More than 70 percent of the 114 participants indicated that they gained important knowledge that would be very useful in reducing food deterioration during storage. Facilitation quality was evaluated by participants with more than 75 percent of them giving it excellent ratings across the three locations. The participants are expected to share their training at their respective communities.

The workshops were organized in partnership with GrainPro and its partner in Malawi, Chemicals and Marketing. The 114 participants, 33 of which were women farmers, represented 54 farming groups from the regions of Blantyre, Lilongwe, and Mzuzu. In Malawi, women smallholder farmers play an important in food production.

The farmers were taught postharvest management principles and practices, knowledge of seed preservation using hermetic storage, and recommended methods for safe long-term grain preservation without using harmful chemicals. To better demonstrate the principles of hermetic storage, the farmers had hands-on training using the SuperGrainbag – a lightweight hermetic liner bag for dry agricultural commodities such as food grains.

Due to its significance to the safe preservation of locally produced dry agricultural commodities, future workshops to include more women farmers are being proposed. There is also a need for refresher workshops to facilitate the continuous sharing of new technologies to farmers. This ensures that smallholder farmers are kept abreast with best practices in food preservation and pest control.

WFP MALAWI SIGNS PARTNERSHIP TO PILOT HERMETIC GRAIN STORAGE

July 13th, 2017

GrainPro is among technology developers working closely with WFP to help achieve its global food security goals.

The World Food Program (WFP) is working with GrainPro® to pilot the use of Ultra Hermetic grain storage solutions in Malawi, according to the latest WFP Country Brief released on May 31, 2017. This pilot is in line with ongoing WFP efforts to break the cycle of food insecurity and poverty in the African country.

Malawi, a small and land-locked country in the sub-Saharan region of Africa, is facing critical food and nutrition security issues. The country’s population explosion – expanding by 3 percent each year – and recent drops in agricultural production leave most Malawians in poverty and without food.

GrainPro and its local representative, Chemicals and Marketing, will train at least 60 WFP-beneficiary farmer organizations in 15 districts in the use of hermetic bags as part of the Purchase for Progress (P4P) program. Additionally, GrainPro will also study the perceptions and demands of the farmers to the effectiveness of hermetic technology.

The training program will include the use of the GrainPro’s Ultra Hermetic™ SuperGrainBag® (SGB), a low-cost and reusable liner bag developed primarily for smallholder farmers. Made from multilayered and recyclable polyethylene with a proprietary barrier layer, the SGB ‘s has sufficiently low permeability to air and water to stop infestation and inhibit the growth of aflatoxin-producing molds.

P4P is an innovative food security initiative launched in 2008 by WFP that seeks to help smallholder farmers better cope with fluctuations in harvests and household food security by adapting technologies that will reduce postharvest losses. The program is funded with the help of the Flanders International Cooperation Agency, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and the German Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

One of the goals of the program is to introduce new technologies to smallholder farmers. GrainPro is among technology developers working closely with WFP to help achieve its global food security goals. The training has commenced with series of workshops in Blantyre, Lilongwe and Mzuzu with farmers organization leaders, lead farmers extension officers and farmers stakeholders.

Women play a major role in food production and farming in Malawi.

 

A female farmer gets first-hand experience in using the GrainPro SuperGrainbag.

NEW SCIENTIFIC PAPER DISCUSSES AFLATOXIN CONTROL WITH SAFER POSTHARVEST PRACTICES

June 28th, 2017

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, improved postharvest handling remains the most overlooked component for effectively preventing aflatoxin growth. In hot, humid climates, long term conventional storage can cause exponential growth of aflatoxins. It shows that restricting the increase in aflatoxin levels during both drying and storage is a major challenge, particularly under 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 conditions that will control increase in aflatoxin levels through the bio generation of low oxygen levels. For the successful application 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).

This paper examines the prevention of the exponential growth of aflatoxin occurring in multi-month, postharvest storage in tropical countries, with examples from field experience and scientific data. Four approaches to modern, safe, postharvest storage methods are described, the most successful being the use of flexible, Ultra Hermetic™ airtight structures creating an unbreathable atmosphere (low oxygen, high carbon dioxide) through insect and microorganism respiration alone, without use of chemicals, fumigants, vacuum, or refrigeration.

PACIFIC ISLAND EXPLORES SUN DRYING AND ULTRA HERMETIC™ STORAGE

June 8th, 2017

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.

FOR LILO FRUITS, QUALITY PRESERVATION A REALITY THROUGH HERMETIC BAGS

May 24th, 2017

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

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

“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.

GRAINPRO® PHILIPPINES CELEBRATES TEN YEARS OF POST-HARVEST INNOVATIONS

April 27th, 2017

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.

GRAINPRO DISTRIBUTOR LEADS THE WAY IN SAFE STORAGE IN GHANA

April 17th, 2017

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.

RURAL DISTRIBUTION PLAYS AN IMPORTANT ROLE IN SAFELY PRESERVING GRAIN

March 14th, 2017

“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.