Today, our partners in the small scale farming cooperative produce approximately 4,800 tons of fresh organic pineapples per year. The majority is sold in the local market with high post-harvest losses and low sales revenues. About 6% of the harvest is processed in small tunnel dryers. The cooperative currently provides 4 processing centers for this purpose and trains selected employees for further processing and packaging. It sells the dried fruit and pays its farmers for the fresh produce and for processing according to the amount sold.
The fruit is dried by direct sunlight in so-called tunnel dryers and protected by plastic tarps. This form of drying not only creates varying and unstable levels of quality but also unpredictable production quantities. In addition, there is a lack of overall capacity for packaging and storage. The cooperative loses up to 40% of its production volume due to quality risks that cannot be controlled with this process. They have to carry these risks on their own.
The cooperative's income is very limited and is used for training, and to buy rubber boots and gloves for the farmers.
70 farmers in the cooperative are already certified organic according to European standards by the Swiss Ecocert IMOswiss AG. This certification has been successfully recertified every year since 2015.
Our pineapples are planted in small fields. The cooperative uses a strict and sophisticated system of mixed cropping to maintain good soil quality. Beans are planted between the rows of pineapples to enrich the soil with nitrogen. There are also banana perennials, papaya and avocado trees in the fields. The fields cannot be compared to a monoculture plantation. Coffee husks are used as fertilizer.
With our project we will provide our partners in Kangulumira with a fair income and a sustainable increase in prosperity. Our TWIGA Sun Fruits campaigns will double the current organic export sale price of 1 kg of dried pineapple for the cooperative. In addition, we prevent food spoilage which in turn reduces the losses for the cooperative.
The construction of the factory will create qualified jobs. With 8 tons of dried pineapple per year, the planned production will significantly increase the production volume of the cooperative. In addition, the high quality standard as well as the stable production volume will enable a direct entry into the international trade. The installation of our solar water pump means 1,500 inhabitants of the village community will be supplied with fresh drinking water.
Together with All in Trade, our local partner in the solar industry, we will provide the cooperative with a small solar-powered factory including technical support and maintenance.
In order to ensure a holistic approach and to make a valuable contribution in the area of higher education, Makerere University in Kampala is another important partner.
Our production will comply with European hygiene standards. The fruits will be peeled and cut with appropriate equipment. Then the precisely prepared pieces of 10 mm thickness are gently dried in a stainless steel tray dryer at a stable temperature of 60 °C for about 10-12 hours. A fresh pineapple weighing 2 kg is turned into 120 g of dried fruit.
Crucial for the production operation is the supply of energy. Our factory is supplied with solar energy.
For the drying of foodstuffs, heat is predominantly required. We provide heat with the help of solar thermal collectors and store it in hot water tanks. A small proportion is required in the form of electrical energy. We provide this electricity with the help of photovoltaics and also use batteries.
This method can ensure the energy supply of our stainless steel dryer for the production of dried fruit. All in all, it is a cost-optimized and sustainable solution for the solar energy supply to the factory.
Together we enable the development of a rural region in Uganda and lay the groundwork for further growth. A further scaling of production to 45 tons per year is already planned after the successful launch of the small factory.
Our partner company, All in Trade, has purchased a 1 acre (4,050 m²) plot of land centrally located in the village community. On this land we plan to build the factory, the solar water pump, a community pavilion and, in a second phase, a health center and scaled manufacturing. The building for the factory will be designed together with a local architect. All in Trade will be responsible for the construction of the building and the necessary infrastructure.
TWIGA Sun Fruits plans the energy supply of the production on the basis of detailed analysis of the daily consumption and the statistical solar radiation in Kangulumira over the course of the year. Modern simulation techniques are used for this purpose. The use of solar thermal energy to generate process heat and the holistic approach makes us pioneers in Sub Sahara Africa. Only 0.4% of the world's solar thermal applications are found in this region. Solar thermal is an almost untapped resource.
We sourced the tray dryer from Innotec Ingenieursgesellschaft mbH in Germany. We are in close contact with the managing director Mr. Esper. He has extensive experience in the field of food drying in developing countries and currently exports his equipment to Uganda. The tray dryer is already completed and has been tested by us in Germany.
For us it is very important to leave as much added value as possible in Uganda and at the same time to act sustainably. Therefore, we have decided to have our dried fruit packed in Kangulumira for our TWIGA customers under protective gas atmosphere. No repackaging repackaging will take place in Europe. This way we increase the added value locally, save plastic bags and increase the quality by immediate protective gas packaging after production.
We will consolidate all the necessary equipment in Austria and ship it to Uganda in a 40-foot container in spring 2022.
In summer 2022 we will be on site to install the equipment together with our partners and get the production up and running.
The dried fruits will be imported to Austria by TWIGA Sun Fruits. Just like our partner cooperative, we will be certified organic according to the European standard in order to be able to officially award the organic label to our products.
The fruits will be delivered in campaigns by air freight, because we are not yet able to fill complete containers with our production quantities. By planning campaigns of about 1 ton, we can optimize the high air freight costs and reduce the CO2 impact for pre- and post-delivery. Our freight forwarder is working to reduce its environmental footprint through its Net Zero Carbon program, aiming for CO2 neutrality by 2030. Investments are being made in projects around the world that help offset greenhouse gas emissions. We will offset each of our shipments accordingly.
Each package of TWIGA Sun Fruits sold contributes to providing the cooperative with a fair income and, in addition, establishing a sustainable supply of energy and modern manufacturing technology. The amortization of the equipment for energy supply and production takes place exclusively through the sale of the dried fruit by TIWGA Sun Fruits. We provide the energy and processing technology free of charge. The cooperative only pays a small rent for the use of the building, which is provided by our Ugandan partner, All in Trade.
The investments of TWIGA Sun Fruits are exclusively privately financed without any subsidies. Besides the contributions of the founders Kerstin and Daniel, the investments are realized with the support of our silent partners. This way we can achieve our social business goals together. Are you interested to become part of the TWIGA community and to secure the future of our partner cooperative with your contribution? IF so, please contact us, we will gladly send you all information.
We sell the delicious dried fruits directly on our website. Our customers can reserve the desired quantity for the next campaign with their order. Invoicing and payment will be made as soon as the goods have arrived in Europe.