“Reducing post-harvest losses while generating more revenue”

Over the years, fruit such as pineapples have been dried by light sources within East African Uganda. “This drying technique does not guarantee stable quality or a predictable amount of production. Because of the risk to quality, small-scale farmers can lose as much as 40 percent of their production. In addition, they must take on the risk,” explains Dr. Daniel Neyer. Through close collaboration in close collaboration with University of Innsbruck and the Engineering Office Neyer Brainworks, TWIGA Sun Fruits has been assisting organic farmers from the town of Kangulumira from 2021 by providing advice and support. With the help modern drying facilities as well as the development of new distribution channels in Neyer’s home country of Austria The incomes of small-scale farmers could be substantially increased, Neyer discusses in his interview.

The drying process that was previously used resulted in high losses.

At present the only organic pineapples have been processed. The possibility of expanding the processing to other exotic fruits can not be ruled out.

After the creation of Twiga Sun Fruits GmbH in 2021 this year saw the introduction and commissioning of a revolutionary self-sufficient, self-sustaining system that includes drying plants that was built by Innotech as well as food processing equipment made by Kronen. With the help of photovoltaics and solar thermal energy, freshly harvested organic pineapple pieces are now processed delicately and sustainable. So far, the dried fruits (either rings or pieces) are mainly marketed through their own online shop (www.twiga-sunfruits.org). Neyer: “The ratio of dried to fresh fruit is approximately one-to-16 This means that, using two pineapples for an average of four kilograms, you end in a package of 250 grams. Our goal now is 7 tonnes of sales annually, and an annual production of 9 tonnes per year.”

Following a delicate drying process The organic pineapple chunks are protected in an environment and shipped to Europe through air cargo.

The decision was made with the intention to begin on a smaller amount, Neyer continues. “After all, you must remember that it requires an enormous amount of time and effort to create the trust of each other. If we are successful in doing this, we’ll have the possibility of scaling the production of our company many times over. There are many pineapple growers within our area of Kangulumira that would need to be licensed accordingly. My goal for the long term is to produce 150 tonnes so that a large container of pineapples that have been dried could be sent to Europe each month. The production would have to be about two-three tonnes each month, to be able to provide the vast organic marketplace chains. It is crucial for me to be mindful of the”farm-to-fork” approach which is an overall perspective on the entire value chain.”

Daniel Neyer (l) regularly asks questions on the spot regarding the current progress of the project. Alongside Neyer’s own production, Neyer has also set an objective of providing drying facilities as standard containers to agricultural cooperatives as well as others in the near future.

The joint ventures we have made with our partners have produced results, Neyer concludes. “With our program that we are implementing, we can help our partner in Kangulumira to make a decent income, and to achieve sustained increases in their prosperity. We hope that our TWIGA Sun Fruits campaigns will increase the organic export prices of organic farmers, for one kilogram of dried pineapple. The main goal of our work is to support the development of the rural regions of Uganda as well as contribute to sustainable food system.”

Pictures: Russel Pictures. Uganda / TWIGA Sun Fruits

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Dr. Daniel Neyer

TWIGA Sun Fruits GmbH

Oberradin 50

6751 Bludenz-Ausserbraz