Agricultural Trade Mission

 THE SACOMA AGRICULTURAL TRADE MISSION Africa -UK brings the public and the private sectors from Africa and UK/EU together, with the aim of strengthening the Public and the private sector in Sub-Saharan Africa, promoting sustainable development, stimulating local production as well as the access to international markets and expanding partnership and business opportunities. The mission is for participants that have a common interest in the development of the agri-food, agro-industry and agricultural sectors, as well rural development, finance and new energies and want to identify partners for specific projects, share experiences and establish contact with knowledgeable experts and reputable UK/EU institutions.

This is a unique opportunity to learn about new agricultural technologies, establish business connections with interested partners and visit to sites.


Says HE Isaac Ruto Governor Bomet County, during his visit to London organised by SACOMA CEO, Mrs  Perez Ochieng

Governor of Kericho county meeting the Experts in Post Harvest food handling storage and Food Quality standards.

Bomet County Takes the Challenge to meet the International standards , adopt new technologies for post harvest handling get its county’s produce to the UK/EU Market. Improving quality of fresh produce and reducing waste through post harvest handling and storage technologies. In a world that needs more food, reducing food losses and waste after harvest is a resource-efficient way to improve food availability.

During a recent visit to UK by the Governor of Bomet H.E Isaac Ruto, Governor of Bomet, looking at the technologies for post harvest handing and handling of agricultural produce. A visit  that was organised by SACOMA CEO, Mrs Perez Ochieng as a preliminary  to Establishing a centre of excellence for Bomet based research on fresh produce quality working with UK experts in the production, storage, marketing and supply of temperate, tropical and sub-tropical crops. “Entrepreneurship , adopting new methods of farming and technologies is key to sustainable production and this is the part of knowledge transfer partnership that sacoma hope to spearhead in the region’’ said Mrs Perez Ochieng

Together the two institution (Bomet County and SACOMA) are aiming to use the widest range of expertise and the best facilities for post-harvest handling of both fresh produce and cereals. The visit included a tour of a  Research facility to look at controlled atmosphere refrigerated storage test facilities, food quality laboratory and trial work.  The tour was led by Dr Debbie Rees, export on postharvest handling of sweet potato in Bomet. How to postharvest technology for a wide range of perishable crops as well as high value commodities imported into the UK such as peas and beans.


“This is a unique multi-disciplinary centre of excellence. We have an established reputation for delivering high quality research, advice, teaching and training in support of global food security, sustainable development and poverty reduction’’ said Dr Debbie.

Nearly one billion people in the world do not have enough food to eat, with 98% of these in developing countries. 75% of the world's poorest people - 1.4 billion women, children, and men – live in rural areas and depend on agriculture and related activities for their livelihood. By 2050, the population of the world is predicted to increase from the present 6.8 billion to nearly 9 billion. Climate change is a major threat to many communities in the world. There transferring Knowledge to agricultural communities  is more important than ever to contribute to feeding the world.

Thereafter the team had a closed meeting with  Prof. Andrew Westby, Director of NRI, and Prof. Ben Bennett, Head of Food and Markets Dept. Tour of some of the site laboratory and plant quarantine facilities.

Meeting with the Governor and his team the, Director of NRI, Andrew Westby. said that ‘NRI has a strong socioeconomic capability that has traditionally focused on supply chains within and from developing countries, providing valuable tools for application to the developed world’

With SACOMA’s marketing expertise and NRI Post Harvest Handling Food systems expertise the aim is to increase food security through agriculture-led growth and inclusive market access by smallholder farmers, with the objectives of improving smallholder productivity, expanding markets and trade, and increasing private sector investment in agriculture in Bomet County.

SACOMA will see a range of initiatives introduced in Bomet over the next three years - from training for local farmers to providing start-up and mentoring advice and co-ordination of the co-operatives as well setting systems for warehousing export standards and quality controls.

Bomet Team together with farmers will prepare products and to participate in joint marketing initiatives starting with the produce  Expo in the UK to increase product exposure  into the UK/EU markets

Picture: Governor HE Isaac Ruto together with Bome Agricuoture Team and SACOMA, CEO Mrs Perez Ochieng during the visit to The facilities for storage research at EMR are unique within the UK, having the capability to simultaneously investigate a wide range of storage environments and controlled atmospheres (in terms of oxygen and carbon dioxide) and at a semi-commercial scale, twinned with a wide range of technologies for quality assessment. The PQC has access to extensive laboratory facilities across both organisations, including NRI's growing capability in volatile profiling and texture analysis relating to consumer acceptability.

The Governor also had a chance to visit a small holder farmer in the UK who generates their energy through Aorobic Digester for all year round production. Visit to Guy & Wright Ltd, to look at anaerobic digestion unit with 0.6MW (electrical) combined heat and power unit, with heat used for greenhouse heating and exhuast gases passed through Steuler scrubbing unit and the CO2 utilised in the greenhouse for enhanced production.  The site additionally has 3 gas turbine cogeneration untis and a 1MW straw boiler.  It is in long season tomato production.

Receiving the entourage, Mr John Jones, a tomato farmer said “Our eco toms have one of the lowest carbon footprints in the UK. Our Toms are produced with heat generated from Bio Fuel. We use all our Co2 emissions from the Micro Turbines within the glass house to enhance plant growth. We grow a classic round fruit called ENCORE. This variety gives us a uniform fruit size and the taste and quality is exactly what we are looking for’’

The company produces 1.5 m tones of tomatoes form a hacre  land all year round. Since 2009 the farmer has generated their energy using Anaerobic Digester. The achievement of an Anaerobic Digester (AD) has been great. Said John Jones :

“What could be better than using waste to give us warmth, electricity, Co2 to produce our new and revolutionary ECO TOM. We're so "GREEN" they can't possibly turn "RED" but they do try our ECO TOM. All this in the hope of achieving a minuscule Carbon Footprint for my Tomatoes. (and of course trying to save the planet). The ultimate aim is to get this whole set up running effortlessly for more than a week at a time. My dream is spend time in Africa passing on my knowledge for creating Green Energy from waste. Here I shall be able to work with in the country I love with the animals I adore’.

John was awarded the Grower of the Year award 2009 for Business Initiative, said John “We attended the Queens garden Party July 2010 (for being complete idiots and building our own AD plant)’

How many farmers in Africa today could build their own AD plants?

What is Anaerobic Digestion (AD)?

Technical India Andrew Merchant expalisn to the Governor of Bomet HE Isaa Ruto, what is and Aerobic Digester.

In lay mans terms. It's a process of waste vegetable matter decomposing in an airtight vessel. In which anaerobic bugs digest the product resulting in Methane gas passing through the solution then gathering in the top of the cell. The Methane is then transported and used by us to fire Micro Turbines for electrical generation. (Bio Fue), Methane Gas. Its is used run Micro Turbines. A really green fuel source. A benefit from heat, electricity and Co2. For all concerned a win win situation.

Jon Jone Uk tomates farmers dmonstrtates to teh team how the tomatoes are harvested (picked) using rail systems in the Green house.

The team also had a little time left to eat the 500 years old pub in kent

Earlier the ream has visited Lakeside Waste for Energy Centre where the Governor had the opportunity to see how a recycling plant s used to generate energy to supply local communities and the grid.



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