Help Us Build Resilience — w/ this Plant.

 

Below is a breakdown of the money we are seeking for our intended plant.

But first, a few people have asked how we conceived this whole idea; its suitability (i.e. why we think it solves the problem), and how we arrived at our $15m budget. Our recent conversation with one Professor at Yale University, partly answers this.

A more chronological description of our rationale for setting up this plant is available in our Global Goals campaign citizencall.org, under the section “Let’s Do Something”.

 

OVERVIEW:

Our goal is to develop a plant that shall both reverse poverty and create new jobs in our region, by minimizing post-harvest food losses; creating reliable market linkages for rural poor smallholder farmers, and by linking our produce with agri-value chains, like bakeries and confectioneries; bottling companies & breweries; biscuit makers and yogurt producers; paperboard & adhesive industries; textiles & pharmaceuticals, etc.

Individual rural poor smallholder farmers will directly benefit from high prices for their produce; a ready market at harvest, as well as inputs (seed, agronomic training and other extension services) that the UCF provides to all the farmers we work with. Installing this plant will also give us the capacity to work with an unlimited number of fellow poor farmers across a wider geographical area, in a self-sustaining manner.

Technical assistance on installing the whole plant; building market linkages, and advice on specific crop systems will come from TechoServe, SolarLabSU.com, Partners in Food Solutions, AfrII, Natural Resources Institute UK & specialized entities like Alvan Blanch.

In addition, we are seeking the help of everyone out there, on developing this plant.  Please see “How You Can Help” beneath this page, to see how you too can join in.

 

BUDGET BREAKDOWN:

 

1).  Farmer Support:  $0.2m

Provision of seed and agronomic training to rural poor farmers. This is intended to increase the scope of production; disseminate better crop varieties (e.g. the right sorghum and cassava species for beer production, and the ideal fruit varieties for juice production), and to ensure that even the poorest farmers who have no inputs can participate equally, this time with a ready market for their produce at harvest.

Farmers in our region will, for the very first time, get to grow the 4 newest varieties of cassava (Nase11, Nase19, Narocass1 and Narocass2) that are very climate-resilient and disease-resistant, and which have a higher yield than all previous varieties. It will also be the first time farmers in our region will start growing white sorghum, which is used for beer production. The latter has already been initiated by the UCF in Kamuli.

 

2).  Plant Component #1 — Cassava, Cereal & Grain Processing:  $0.8m

a). A cereal/grain sorting, grading and threshing system (ideally from Alvan Blanch UK). This will help put our sorghum and maize on a standard where it can be used by all breweries as well as many other buyers across the East African region: $90,000

b). A utility for producing cassava starch and/or tapioca for beer, bakery, pasta, the pharmaceutical industry, textile use, etc (ideally from LARSSON Sweden): $380,000

c). Two greenhouse-type solar food dryers, 9mx27m each. These will be constructed with materials from the Germany firm ‘Covestro’, and will be installed by Covestro’s implementing technical team (SolarLabSU.com), who are based at Silpakorn University. Cost per dryer (including shipping of materials & labor) is $80,000. Total: $160,000.

A single solar food dryer similar to the ones we need was installed at a Ugandan University in 2017 for $100,000. So, a unit cost of $80,000 is the best we can find.

d). A new block for housing our cassava milling machine; our cereal/grain sorting and threshing machine, plus renovation of the UCF’s already existing storehouse: $50,000

e). An open building where fresh cassava is peeled: $5,000.

f). A 625 sq ft concrete water tank where peeled cassava is soaked overnight (i.e. for hydrolysis) to convert cyanogenic glucosides into cyanide (in bitter varieties): $5,000

g). A boiling system to reduce cyanide content in peeled cassava: $5,000

h). A conveyer belt for handling the cassava during processing: $10,000

i). A cassava milling machine: $25,000

j). Packaging accessories: $30,000

k). An electric powered borehole, and plumbing installations, to supply running water. A manual borehole is already in place at the UCF, but needs modification to provide running water: $20,000

l). Laying pavers on the floor of our processing yard to enhance hygiene: $10,000

m). A 300 ft x 400 ft enclosure around our processing plant for security: $10,000

 

3).  Plant Component #2 — Fruit Processing Facility:  $14m

A facility that has an hourly capacity of turning 6 – 8 tons of fresh fruit into intermediate products like purees and concentrates, or fresh fruit juice. This will either come from Alvan Blanch (UK), or from an Italian food processing equipment maker.

 

Total cost (for 1, 2 and 3 above):  $15m

 

HOW YOU CAN HELP:

1). Help amplify our fundraiser for this plant, and be sure to make a contribution. You may even be able to help us raise a small fraction of the needed funding via your own means.  As shown under “Funding Targets” in this fundraiser, we will accomplish specific milestones starting at the $150k mark — i.e., once we raise this or more. That is, every little support that we can raise will make a strategic incremental beginning.

2).  If you possess any hands-on skills that you could offer on a volunteering basis (e.g. as an industrial designer; food technologist, mechanical engineer etc), come and work with us here in Uganda, to develop this plant, once the coronavirus has relented.

3). We also need the help of some MBA student volunteers, or just anyone out there, to orientate us on key areas of work — like management; staffing needs and roles of personnel, or even new technologies for monitoring our farmers’ fields in real time.

4). If you are someone who has no hands-on skills to offer (i.e. if you are an unskilled volunteer who would like to be part of us in developing this plant), there is a lot you can do, from carrying materials from suppliers, to working as a porter. Come join in.

 

P.S. — the current climate crisis is set to hit people like us the hardest. At the same time, the plight of poverty in a place like ours warrants the very kind of technological solutions we are envisioning. Please see “CO2 Emissions” in our Global Goals campaign (here), to see how we plan to offset all the CO2 emissions from our intended plant.