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Establishment of Vegetables Pack House

Increasing farmer income by marketing of high quality vegetables through establishment of a pack house and a minimal processing unit.

All members of the cooperative is benefited hence they are selling their fresh produce through the cooperative. The number of farmer members has increased up to 21 currently and those farmers are leading farmers who cultivate in large extent. Leek, carrot, cabbage, beet and lettuce are grown in large scale together with potatoes and other exotic vegetables. At present the society supply its major quantity of vegetables to leading supermarkets and hotels. Small volume of vegetables is sold to exporters and a reasonable quantity is minimally processed. Daily basis,approximately 3000 Kg of vegetables are sold as fresh,while 1000 kg is minimally processed.All vegetables produced in the cooperative are transported using plastic creates from the field to the pack house and from their again in plastic creates until fresh produce reaches the supermarket. Demand for high quality vegetables is increasing in the country. Although there is a ready demand for cleaned vegetables the required volume cannot be supplied due to limited facilities available at the pack-house. Due to this problem total volume of produce of all members cannot be purchased. Although there is a ready demand for cleaned vegetables the required volume cannot be supplied due to limited facilities available at he pack-house hence, they have to find other marketing channels. If the capacity of the pack house can be increased by mechanizing and providing improved facilities, total volume of all members can be marketed through the cooperative. In addition, minimally processed vegetables have a high demand and the demand cannot be met due to insufficient facilities available at AgCo.The volume can be increased by introducing machineries to produce minimally processed vegetables.More members can then be encouraged to register to expand the society.

Implementing Agency:

  • All Island Agriculture Cooperative Society Ltd (AgCo) at Blackpool, Nuwara Eliya. (Technical support from Food Research Unit, Department of Agriculture,Peradeniya).
  • Managing Director, AgCo, Black pool, Nuwara Eliya

Goals of the project:

  • Increasing farmer income by selling better quality vegetables and this benefit can be expanded among many farmers by increasing the membership.

Objectives of the project:

  • To increase the capacity of the pack-house by providing machineries for washing and cleaning
  • To provide more facilities for cleaning and drying of vegetables.
  • To provide pre-cooling facility and temporary holding of produce in refrigerated storage condition.
  • Establishment of cold chain to supply better quality vegetables for export market
  • Establishment of a minimal processing factory to supply minimally processed vegetables under hygienic condition.

Project Activities:

  • Purchasing of machineries for washing of carrot and potatoes and air drying of washed produce. A pressure pump is used to clean leek and other dirty vegetables. A grading machine is purchased for grading of potatoes and carrot. A slicing machine will be purchased for slicing of vegetables for minimally processed products.
  • Renovation of the pack-house. This will include modification of floor, drainage system, tiling of walls and establishment of a ceiling.
  • Purchasing of stainless steel tables, Pallets, trolleys, folk lift, plastic crates.
  • Construction of a cold room, pre-cooling unit and purchasing of a refrigerated vehicle to transport to maintain the cold chain.
  • Obtaining the ISO certification for the pack house and the minimally processing unit.
  • Expansion of marketing linkages through internet facilities and organize the supply of vegetables among members without glut season in order to continuous supply and stabilized price.
  • Establishment of a mini-laboratory for quality testing.

Beneficiaries of the project:

All registered farmers of AgCO are benefited by supplying their fresh produce at reasonable price. New members are invited to register in the cooperative, hence they are also benefited. Supermarkets and their customers are benefited by making high quality vegetables available. Exporters are also benefited by increasing the export volume of high quality vegetables. A few number of employment opportunities are created which can be recruited from the surrounding area. Postharvest loss is reduced through cold chain and improved handling practices which implements the national priority. Country is also benefited by earning foreign exchange through increased export volume of vegetables.

Experience and other qualifications:

The AgCo is already a reputed vegetable marketing company who supply vegetables to leading supermarkets in Sri Lanka. Available experience staff and the established marketing linkages can be considered as experience. The AgCo in one of the leading supplier of high qualityvegetables to supermarkets with improved handling practices. Food Research Unit of the Department of Agriculture can give guidance to function the pack house and the minimally processing unit.
With this project the current supply can be increased from 3000 Kg to 10,000 Kg of fresh produce per day which increases the income by more than three times. The fresh cut volume can also be increased from 1000Kg to 3000 Kg which increases the income by three times. By establishing a cold chain, another 3000Kg of fresh produce can be supplied to the market daily basis. This can be linked to exporters which given additional income. Fresh produce and fresh cut vegetable supplied with ISO certification increased the market demand hence additional income can be earned.

Strength

AgCo is an active cooperative society with having already established marketing system. Daily out turn is Kg 3000 of fresh produce and 100 Kg of minimally processed vegetables. Experience staff with adequate knowledge of pack house concept and cold chain management. Pack house is already functioning and there is a possibility of increasing volume supplied. High export demand cannot be met due to poor quality of produce hence there is an opportunity to increase the supply of high quality produce.

Opportunities

Market demand can be increased by supplying high quality vegetables. More export demand can be created by maintaining cold chain facility. More farmers will join the society because marketing of fresh produce through AgCo increase their income.

Threats

If supermarkets start their own pack houses at Nuwara Eliya, marketing demand can be lowered.

Last Updated on Thursday, 26 January 2012 23:35
 

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