Project Lead(s): Michele Bruni
Food safety regulation in industrialized countries and adoption of the Codex Alimentarius have not managed to reduce the global incidence of food-borne diseases, because such strict regulation does not exist in many developing countries.
A lack of certified processing facilities is one of the major contributors to the ongoing problem of food-borne diseases.
!nspiraFarms aimed to demonstrate that it is possible to bring low-cost, food-safety certification-ready and modular processing facilities to small-scale farmers in developing countries, such as Guatemala.
By using such facilities, farmers can supply higher-value markets, such as supermarkets and export markets.
The proof-of-concept pilot involved installing a low-cost and food-safety certifiable processing facility for small-scale vegetable producers in Guatemala, and testing it to ensure that the conditions in which the food processing was being undertaken complied with food safety requirements.
The !nspiraFarms HACCP-ready Horticulture Processing Facility comprises: 30 cubic meters of solar-powered cold storage and 70 square meters of processing area; a water-harvesting, purification and recycling system; equipment, machinery and agrochemical segregation storage; production management spaces; and workers’ areas (for both open field and processing work).
This project successfully designed, manufactured and installed the first food-safety certifiable Horticulture Processing Facility in Guatemala, which is now being used by farmers.
These farmers are already diversifying their markets and products, and creating jobs for local women.
More than 110 farming families were directly impacted through improved agrochemical management, and more than 30,000 people who will consume the food produced at the !nspiraFarms location are safe from food-borne diseases.
The single facility has generated 30 jobs, mainly for women, and will generate at least 10 new jobs in suppliers, logistics and direct operations.
The project was able to generate additional resources from the Swedish International Development Agency (SIDA) Innovations Against Poverty (IAP) fund: a 79,000 EUR grant to match over 100,000 EUR of company’s capital for R&D in Guatemala for a second pilot, and also from the DOEN Foundation (Netherlands) of 41,000 EUR, which co-financed the pilot of the dairy facility in East Africa.
A policy recommendation paper was be presented in mid-May to the Guatemalan Ministry of Agriculture. One of the facilities has been visited by a CEO of a major UK supermarket, as well as other industry members. The Ministry of Agriculture of Guatemala has recently publicly launched one of the !nspiraFarms plants. After the initial commercial sales, more than 150 potential clients have expressed interest in acquiring !nspiraFarms' facilities. To date, more than 100 formal quotes (5M EUR value) have been supplied to customers.
!nspiraFarms is scaling up in Central America and East Africa, doubling production and planning to sell and install one unit every two weeks over 12 months.