Category: Uncategorized

Uganda New Holland donates tractor to missionary project

The initiative, which is being rolled out by Ugandan priest Emmanuel Maria Vura, known locally as ‘Father Natalino’, provides young people in Uganda with a source of income and food, according to
Vura. It is also expected to rehabilitate them by teaching them new skills.
The project is located in northern Uganda’s Moyo district, centring on a cooperative farm and associated rabbitry.
New Holland said the tractor, which was presented to Father Natalino by the company’s agriculture brand president Carlo Lambro, will help the farm to operate more efficiently. “One of a range of tractors traditionally popular with arable and livestock farmers, the TD5.95 will enable the farmers to grow higher quality forage for rabbit food on-site, allowing them to avoid the need to purchase costly commercial rabbit feed.
The added help which the tractor will provide could also allow the centre to boost productivity to the levels required to begin selling the surplus to markets and supermarkets, the firm said – Africanet.com



Fuel crisis cripples Nigerian economy

The main unions and industrial groups responsible for supplying and distributing the majority of petrol and diesel in Nigeria have met the government for talks over the country’s fuel crisis. The crippling fuel crisis had left the country at a virtual standstill just days before a new government is installed.
Banks had begun to close early and telecoms firms warned their mobile phone networks could be shut down because of fuel shortages, which left domestic airlines, grounded and saw petrol stations run dry, hitting businesses and homes.
The executive secretary of the Major Oil Marketers Association of Nigeria, Babafemi Olawore, said: “We have agreed to commence lifting of products from all available depots within the next six hours.” The National Association of Road Transport Owners “fully endorsed” the statement.
It was not immediately clear what, if any, specific deal was offered to help end the stalemate.
Despite being Africa’s biggest oil producer, pumping out about 2-million barrels of crude per day, Nigeria has to import most of its fuel because of a lack of functioning refineries. – News24



Agriculture, forestry and fisheries strategic framework and agricultural policy action plan approved (South Africa)

The cabinet of the South African government has approved the five-year agriculture, forestry and fisheries strategic framework and agricultural policy action plan. Says Minister in the Presidency Jeff Radebe: “The framework sets out the key challenges faced by the three sectors and proposes interventions in four areas namely equity and transformation; equitable growth and competitiveness, environmental sustainability and governance.” He furthermore added that the action plan will be updated on an annual basis. “Land distribution is one of government’s programmes that has promoted equity but so far without accomplishing a great deal by way of transformation. Whereas the reconstruction and development programme declared that the main purpose of land distribution was to alter the structure of South African agriculture, [the policy] also seeks to support the sectors to grow the economy and create jobs,” Radebe said. – SAnews.gov.za



Foreign partnership in cotton production boost industry (Malawi)

The Malawian and Brazilian governments have partnered under the cotton development agreement,to boost cotton production in the small south-eastern African country. The partnership will see modern technologies and cotton breeds developed under Brazilian Research Corporation (Embrapa). Under this partnership, Malawi cotton exports is expected to drive up production thereby raising export revenues significantly. “The project will strengthen local researchers and extension workers for better production of technologies and cotton seed,” said Malawi Minister of Agriculture, Allan Chiyembekeza. The main economic products of Malawi are cotton, tobacco, tea, groundnuts, sugar and coffee. These have been among the country’s main cash crops for the last century. Malawi’s neighbour, Mozambique, is also expected to benefit from this project. Brazilian Ambassador to Malawi, Gustavo Martins Noguera, said the project is a replication of one that was implemented by Brazil in Benin, Burkina Faso, Chad and Mali which was known as Cotton-4. – George Mpofu; www.ventures-africa.com



Zambia sugar re-invests in sugar operations (Zambia)

Zambia Sugar, a majority-held subsidiary of the JSE-listed Illovo Sugar Group, had invested $82 million (R1013 126 400.00) at its Nakambala, Mazambuka, sugar operations. The company furthermore said this will give further stimulus to the development of Zambian smallholder cane farmers and provide employment opportunities for local people during the construction phase scheduled for completion in 2016. The project scope includes the construction of a modern, high-specification refinery to more than double current annual refined sugar production capacity to around 100,000 tons and increase annual sugar production capacity from 420,000 to 450,000 tons through a range of smaller factory improvements. This project will consolidate Zambia Sugar’s position as Africa’s single-biggest cane sugar producer and underlines the broader Illovo group strategy of focusing on growth within its domestic and regional markets and downstream opportunities to diversify its product mix. The increased cane supply for the improved Nakambala factory will come primarily from area expansions of which the smallholder development at Manyonyo, involving some 145 individual growers, is a major part. Rebecca Katowa, MD of Zambia Sugar, said the company’s plan is to pay more attention on diversification through value addition to its core sugar products as key to achieving sustainable growth. “This project, together with our previous significant expansion of the agricultural and factory operations serves as growing evidence of this strategy and of our support of government initiatives to promote rural development,” Katowa said. “We are especially pleased that this investment touches on the continuing development of our successful small-holder sector whose increasing cane supplies to the factory are fully supported in the project plan and on further job opportunities for local Zambian people,” she added.— www.Ventures-Africa.com



Farm safety commitments

The Deputy Agriculture Minister, Bheki Cele was tasked to deal with the security of farms in the Gauteng province.
Cele spoke at the Kwanalu annual conference in Pietermaritzburg earlier this month saying that the task was handed to him by the minister of agriculture.
“We’re taking it to heart,” Cele added.
There have been two cases of fatal farm attacks this year. The most recent one was at the beginning of this month.
Police Minister Nathi Nhleko told Parliament during his budget vote speech earlier this year that the police force would focus on farm safety. Since the early 1990s, there have been thousands of farmers and farm workers murdered around the country.
According to CEO of KwaZulu-Natal Agricultural Union, Sandy la Marque, there is no link to be drawn between race, land claims and farm murders.
KwaZulu-Natal’s MEC for agriculture and rural development, Cyril Xaba committed the provincial government to work together with farmers to ensure rural safety. – Farmers Weekly



Ebola outbreak leaves Africa food harvests ‘at risk’ (West Africa)

The UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) has warned that the Ebola outbreak in West Africa places food harvests at a ‘serious risk’.
It has raised a special alert for Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea. These three countries are believed to be the worst affected.
Rice and maize production will be particularly affected during the coming harvest season, says the FAO. Food shortages are expected to worsen in the coming months.
The outbreak has killed at least 1,550 people in four countries since March – the worst Ebola outbreak in history.
For months now, quarantine zones and restrictions on movement imposed to help contain the Ebola disease have severely hampered the transport and sale of food, the Rome-based FAO said.
Consequently food prices have shot up, as panic buying and shortages have set in, and getting access to food has become a pressing concern for many people in all three worst-hit countries in West Africa.
The price of cassava, for example, rose 150% in the first weeks of August in the Liberian capital, Monrovia.
“Even prior to the Ebola outbreak, households in some of the affected areas were spending up to 80% of their incomes on food,” said Vincent Martin, head of the FAO’s Dakar-based Resilience Hub, which is co-coordinating the agency’s emergency response.
“These latest price spikes are effectively putting food completely out of their reach,” he added.
To meet short-term food needs, the FAO has jointly approved an emergency programme with the UN’s World Food Programme to deliver 65,000 tons of food to the estimated 1.3 million people affected by Ebola over a three month period.



Road connecting Ethiopia, Kenya opens for traffic (Kenya)

The Yabelo-Mega road that connects Ethiopia and Kenya was recently inaugurated and is now open to road users.
Speaking at the inauguration, Ethiopian Minister for Transport, Workneh Gebeyhu, said the road was one of several many projects underway in the country aimed at linking Ethiopia with its neighbours through means of infrastructure.
The president of the Oromia Regional State, Muktar Kedir, added that the road plays a critical role. He explained that it was not only a means of connecting, but enhances the provision of health, education and other public services to the local communities.
According to the Ethiopian Roads Authority (ERA), the construction of the road took more than three years to build and had cost the authority 740 million Birr ($37.2million) in expenses.
The project had been contracted by a Chinese company.



Kauai expands to Namibia

The healthy quick-service-restaurant group, Kauai, recently opened its second international store in Namibia. The store is situated in the Maerua Mall in Windhoek and also caters to the needs of local shoppers and gym-goers.
“In our mission to be a global brand, our presence in Namibia is definitely another great achievement for Kauai. We took our first step onto the international stage during February in Dubai. Our first store in Namibia is one of several planned over the next year within Namibia and other international markets,” says Kauai chief global development officer, Geli Briolas.
The Kauai group, now in its 18th year was started in Cape Town by three college friends who were inspired by an experience on the Hawaiian island of Kauai – enjoying the natural, fresh produce and flavours and a healthier way of life.
The brand has grown significantly and currently has 143 stores nationwide. The group further plans to establish 10 more, later this year.
“We are very excited and honoured to open the first-ever Kauai store in Namibia – this is a pioneering brand entering our food and beverage industry. Being awarded the second international franchise licence after Dubai is quite an achievement for us. We see this as an opportunity to showcase this successful South African brand locally, and improve healthy eating through a Kauai experience,” says Kauai Namibia franchisee, Estelle Tjipuka.
Kauai plans to expand into India, the United Kingdom, Mauritius, Australia, Canada and ‘possibly’, US.



South African government’s procurement process for renewable energy – how it could affect the rest of Africa

The South African government’s private procurement Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Programme (REIPPP) process has grown over the past two years to become a rare, major government success, lauded by almost everyone who knows about it. There have even been calls to emulate it in other infrastructure and government procurement scenarios, and suggestions that other African countries may use similar processes to harness the private sector in order to solve their electricity generation deficits Other African countries are reportedly keen to copy the REIPPP process. If they do, that will lead to more transparency and access by the private sector to renewable energy projects in those countries.
The South African process has also reflected how market mechanisms can produce much sharper prices than
bureaucrat-decided prices (which were envisaged under South Africa’s previous renewable energy feed-in tariff (Refit) programme). Initial tariffs set under Refit, before that system was abandoned,were much higher than those eventually clinched in the latest (2013) round of the REIPPP.
Under the REIPPP process, within two years, a significant reduction in renewable energy pricing has seen the gap between fossil-fuel and renewable energy shrink.
This has been a major, unexpected development. With it has come the shedding of the image of renewable
energy projects as Greenpeace-type enterprises which must be subsidised.That in turn opens the potential for renewable energy to be used in industry on a strictly commercial basis in future.
Tariffs contracted for over the three REIPPP rounds dropped by 68% for solar photovoltaics to average (SA) cents (6.8USc); and for wind, by 42% to average 74SAc (5.7USc) (and a lowest price of 66.4SAc (5.10USc)). These prices compare with one estimate of 105SAc (8.1USc) (per kilowatt hour from the huge
coal-fired Medupi power station which is currently being built by South African’s state-owned energy generator, Eskom – and even that 105SAc is without payment for any “externalities” (carbon taxes, etc)
and is based on dubious accounting (“that 105SAc cost is in dreamland,” according to one observer).
According to a University of Pretoria and Greenpeace study, Eskom’s full “externalities” costs range from an additional R0.97 (7.5USc) to R1.88 (14.5USc) per kilowatt hour.
Eskom, which also controls the electricity distribution grid in South Africa,is obliged to buy the power production of the REIPPP projects.
The three REIPPP rounds over the past two years have been the biggest and most complex private-public
procurement exercise ever accomplished in South Africa. Brazil has a somewhat similar process for renewable energy project procurement, but given all the conditionalities and requirements (particularly for community participation,black economic empowerment and socio-economic expenditure) in South Africa, South Africa’s process is the most complex in the world.Despite the complexity, the South African process has become a new benchmark. The process has also transformed South Africa from zero to hero in the world of renewable energy,and many eyes are now upon it.
Locally, none of the IPPs (independent power producers) has publicly challenged any of the contract awards that have been made. Nor have there been allegations of corruption or attacks on the process by
unsuccessful bidders.
And on the ground, in places like Cookhouse, Eastern Cape province, where a wind project is being set up, Johan van den Berg, CEO of the South African Wind Energy Association (SAWEA), reports huge excitement both among the local community and among the project suppliers and owners.
This extraordinary success seems to prove that the private sector will invest in infrastructure and energy if the right structures are in place.
In the three rounds, projects involving investments of about R110 billion ($8.46bn) have been committed to. Collectively, this has been the largest fixed investment in South Africa in the past two years – much of it from foreign sources – and spending on associated socio-economic developmental projects in remote areas.
The new electricity from the REIPPP projects began to flow into the South African electricity grid from early 2014, in the first major boost to South Africa’s generation capacity for many years.
The new electricity generation is in contrast to major new projects currently being constructed by Eskom, which projects are years late and are yet to produce electricity.
In total, if all goes according to plan,the three rounds of the REIPPP will result in 64 independent power projects producing a total of 3,800MW. This compares to Eskom’s 45,000MW installed capacity currently, and Eskom’s projected installed capacity of 55,000MW by 2018.
If the REIPPP system can be extended for public-private procurement generally both in South Africa and elsewhere in Africa, it has the potential to restrict the number of deals that are done individually, in smoke-filled meetings between politicians and crony capitalists.
Marc Immerman of private equity fund Lereko Metier Sustainable Capital Fund (LMSC), which is investing in South African projects which have landed contracts in the REIPPP rounds, says his fund expects to invest in projects elsewhere in Africa.
He says: “Given that renewable energy projects will often be competing with diesel-based generation, the renewable technologies can offer a cost reduction and less carbon-intensive energy generation. Another constant challenge in Africa is weak transmission grids. Because renewable energy is now competitively priced (against diesel and other energy sources), it offers the potential for distributed energy generation, and is quick to construct, it makes great sense.”
The caveat for further private investments in REIPPP projects is that at the prices of the third round, profit margins are likely to be tight. Anthony Hewat, managing principal of LMSC says that accordingly, prices are unlikely to fall much further in South Africa, having achieved globally competitive levels.
How the REIPPP works
The REIPPP process is definitely not for the fainthearted or the under-resourced. It is complex and costly – but these qualities have also meant that, remarkably, there have been no failures of the 64 REIPPP projects approved so far.
South Africa’s National Treasury and its Department of Energy designed the process, and they drive the evaluation and selection of successful bidders.
A project begins with developers, who may be individuals who may come from the renewables industry or may represent some particular technology. They come up with an idea and a site, and they generally “develop” it by negotiating with the owner and by getting environmental,water, zoning and other authorisations.
It can take a few years to get all of these permissions. Then the financial models are prepared and the shareholder and debt finance is organised.
In formulating a REIPPP bid, “it must be clear that you have the money and on what terms (equity and debt); that it’s going to make a return; and the technology to be used and that it is sufficiently proven,” says LMSC’s Michael Goldblatt. “All of this involves a lot of outsourced expertise.”
“There is a bid date, a selection date, and a close date. You bid, it is then evaluated and selected (if you’re lucky),and it is then financially closed.”
Says LMSC’s Marc Immerman, who, with Goldblatt, brought the Bokpoort (Northern Cape) concentrated solar
plant project to LMSC: “The adjudication process is hard-core. The documents for our project totalled 40,000 pieces of paper and seven full CDs. You transport these to the place of evaluation (in this case, Gallagher Estate, Midrand, Gauteng); the REIPPP officials open the boxes and do an initial check on whether you have the basic required documents; then everything is kept under lock and key. Relays of different independent consultants working for the authorities are allowed to access them – they may
only take in a pencil and paper.
“It is complex and labour-intensive and any fatal flaw can cause you not to be selected.
“In the evaluation and selection of successful bidders, there is a price factor and there is a non-price factor.
The evaluation is based 70% on price (on the lowest compliant bid) and 30% on economic development (on the highest compliant bid). You get points for each of them and they are added up and you are ranked.
“Black empowerment, local community ownership and local enterprise development are important criteria for success.” Having been selected, the project is built to a completion date, after which it produces electricity.
The lack of failures of projects so far is partly because the projects’ plans are independently assessed. But, says Immerman, “the success is also because of what’s required to be complied with.
So simply to bid, you need all your money in place, equity and debt, with full board approval. The lenders must have detailed term sheets. And all licences must be in place.
“The advisers, consultants and lawyers … it’s a spectacular-lawyer fest to bid and especially to close. Each project has to have the lenders’ counsel, technical advisers for the lenders (an engineering company), etc.
“At the cheapest, bids cost R5 million ($385,000) each, and often more. So, at least about R500 million ($38.5 million) was spent on each bidding round. In the first-round there were 53 bids, 28 of
them successful; in the second, 79 bids, 19 successful; and in the third 93 bids, 17 were successful (with the prospect of a some more approvals).
“The successful projects aggregate to a total investment cost of about R110 billion ($8.46 billion) investment to build (besides the cost of bidding).
“In our Bokpoort project, the leadup to the bid was three years of work. Between the bid and selection was 4-6 months. Between selection and financial close, you take all in-principle plans for financing and operations and the build part (which includes engineers and international and local people) and
ongoing operations and maintenance; socio-economic development; etc.
“You put all this in your plan and at financial close you convert that plan into binding agreements. “There is a co-incident point at which everything is binding. Once the bid is successful, this all
turns into a binding agreement for offtake for 20 years.
“Then you go live into the build phase. In our Bokpoort technology of CSP (concentrated solar power) building takes 2½ years, but in PV and wind it’s a shorter cycle,” says Goldblatt.
“The complexity is a positive for the country and the government. Internationally, the success rate of
projects that actually finally produce after being selected has been considerably lower because, for instance, in the US, in one exercise, projects were approved solely on the basis of tariffs. The South
African process means only the strongest and best organised projects succeed.”
The good news is that, according to Immerman, this bid method can be easily copied for other public-private infrastructure procurement.
In renewable energy, there are opportunities in the private sector in the projects themselves, and in their construction because a large proportion of them can be made locally.
Of course, the success of the REIPPP may conflict with the plans of politicians. This is because more
scattered projects (as renewable energy projects inevitably are), allocated under a system which is relatively corruptionproof, are not highly suited for large patronage-related deals.



Outlook for agrifood market 10 years on

The Bureau for Food and Agricultural Policy (BFAP) South Africa has released its 2014-2023 gricultural outlook.
According to the experts at BFAP, oranges remain the single largest component of global citrus imports because of a steady increase throughout the past decade. Oranges have continued to dominate the market in the past 10 years with a growth of 36% in export volumes for the period between 2002 and 2013.BFAP is an organisation made up of 45 public and private sector analysts and experts who together,pool their knowledge and resources to inform decision makers in the food and beverage market in South Africa and surrounding markets. The research by BFAP has been deemed very valuable as it provides in-depth analyses of future policy and market scenarios as well as the impacts they will have on farms and farm profitability.
Citrus
For the next 10 years, BFAP says,internationally there will be higher demand for soft citrus imports, especially oranges. Currently SA is the largest citrus exporter in the world behind Spain and the largest exporter from the southern hemisphere. The seasonality of citrus products and the time during which SA is able to supply enhances its competitiveness in the global market.
More than 70% of the domestic crop was exported in 2013, accounting for roughly 14% of global citrus exports.
Despite a declining share in the past decade, the European Union remains the most important destination for South African citrus exports – 43% of total citrus exports were destined for the European Union (EU) in 2013.
Internationally, improved weather conditions in key production regions has led to substantially higher production volumes in 2014 for all products except lemons and limes, which have been negatively affected by frost in Argentina. Consequently, prices in the EU have softened considerably in 2014 and, as the EU traditionally leads the global market,other regions are expected to follow.
“In 2013 the EU threatened to ban South African citrus imports, citing the threat posed by the Citrus Black Spot fungus. The European Commission’s standing committee on plant health endorsed stricter requirements for South African citrus in 2014, resulting in additional testing requirements both in the orchard and the packhouse which will be costly to the industry.
Nevertheless, compliance with the additional requirements is expected to allow the industry to retain access to its most important export market.
Given the uncertainty related to the long term sustainability of these measures,diversification into other possible markets to reduce the dependence on EU markets will benefit the industry in the long run,” says Lulama Ndibongo-Traub of BFAP.
BFAP says it expected to see a continuous expansion of 1.4% per annum in SA’s orange plantation through the next decade. Changes in relative prices will lead to an increase in lemons and soft
citrus plantations; grapefruit plantations are projected to increase by only 2.4% during the next 10 years.
Meat
In 2013, meat prices reached record levels.A recent substantial decline in feed costs has set the scene for renewed profitability in the meat sector. The demand for meat products remains firm, driven largely by emerging regions characterised by rapid income growth, as well as growing and increasingly urbanised populations.
Ndibongo-Traub confirmed BFAP agreed with other analysts that there will be a continued expansion of global meat consumption in the next decade, led by poultry as the cheapest, most accessible meat which remains free of the cultural barriers that affect pork consumption in various regions. Poultry is expected to account for almost half of additional meat consumed through the next decade, followed by pork (29%), beef (16%) and sheep (6%).
“Chicken consumption in South Africa is projected to surpass 2.6 million tons by 2023, approaching 50kg per capita. Production is expected to expand to almost two million tons by 2023, resulting in 680,000 tons of chicken being imported by 2023. The general duty on imported chicken was increased in
2014, supporting higher prices; however, imports originating from the EU remain duty free under the Trade Development and Cooperation Agreement (TDCA),reducing the impact of higher tariffs in the domestic market,” she said.
Milk and dairy products
According to BFAP, the instability of the dairy market globally has caused some dramatic shifts in the market. Tracy Davids of BFAP explains: “A typically cyclical pattern is common in dairy markets, as producers respond to higher prices before the increased supply forces prices down again; however, the steepness of the cycles in recent years is indicative of dramatic shifts in exogenous drivers, with multiple factors on the supply and demand side often combining to cause substantial price variations. While fluctuations in demand have been attributed to an unstable economic environment, constantly changing climatic conditions in key production regions have impacted on the supply response.
“The South African dairy market is divided into two segments: liquid milk products (including pasteurised milk,UHT milk, yoghurt and buttermilk) which accounts for just under 60% of total dairy
consumption; and concentrated products (including cheese, butter, milk powders and condensed milk) which make up the balance. Although the producer price for raw milk is exceptionally volatile, the
nature of concentrated dairy products allows international trade to correct short-term imbalances in the market,resulting in more stable prices. In the long run, nominal prices of concentrated dairy
products are expected to increase over the baseline period. However, only cheese is expected to increase at a rate greater than the expected inflation rate, resulting in a marginal increase in real terms. The prices of butter, skimmed milk powder and whole milk powder are expected to increase at an average of 5.5%, 5.4% and 5.3% per year respectively, resulting in relatively constant real prices.
Ndibongo-Traub concluded: “The South African agricultural sector has always operated in an uncertain
environment and the future will be no different. The impact of adverse weather conditions on global food prices has been evident in the past three years and changes in the macroeconomic environment could potentially result in a very different outlook.”
– Kgaogelo Mamabolo
Bureau for Food and Agricultural Policy (BFAP);www.bfap.co.za



Solar Energy has great potential in Africa, but has yet to take off

This was the central message of photovoltaic (PV) expert Michael Franz as he presented impressions and conclusions of his extensive work on the development of a solar energy market in Kenya at a recent conference in Brussels.
“Coordination between policy makers and private partners is key to developing solar energy in Africa. Dramatic cost reductions in solar photovoltaic devices are making it increasingly economically viable to improve access to solar energy in Africa but opportunities are lost because policy and regulatory frameworks, and development instruments, are not yet adapted,” said Franz, who is project manager at the EU Energy Initiative Partnership Dialogue Facility.
Drawing his conclusions from several years of working in the Kenyan energy sector, he pointed out that a number of the conditions and lessons learnt are similar to those of other countries in sub-Saharan Africa.
Kenya is characterised by an electrification rate of only 15-20 % and a growth of electricity demand of 5-8% per annum, in a country that has a GDP growth rate of 4.3 %. In this context, as in most of sub-Saharan Africa, more than 80 % of primary energy consumption is for domestic use only, mostly of traditional biomass.
At the same time, access to electricity is a requirement for many productive and social uses. It is widely argued that increasing the access figures will require not only public investment, but also substantial private sector activity.
Franz pointed out that for solar energy in particular, maturing technology and economics of scale are currently generating a massive potential for increasing access and investment.
His key point, however, is that in most countries the policy and regulatory environments do not yet allow for this potential to be realised. Essential regulatory requirements for doing business, both on- and off-grid, are not in place yet in most cases, with notable exceptions.
As specific examples of key barriers, he identified standards for solar equipment or services, access to power grids, energy pricing and tariffs, and concessions for rural electrification.
He also discussed the role of development partners. He cited examples of how instruments, as well as approaches, promoted by development cooperation have yet to reflect the rapid developments in the solar energy market. In his view, there is a persistent lack of interventions effectively responding to the needs of the private sector in energy access ventures.
As a prominent example, Franz highlighted the new emerging markets of private solar energy consumption.
Replacing expensive and polluting kerosene lamps with solar lanterns, which cost $30 each to buy, remains a luxury purchase for households in rural Kenya and elsewhere in Africa. This is despite minimal running costs and payback periods often measured merely in months, compared to a product lifetime of several years.
In order to equip these households, Franz said, development practitioners should partner with micro-finance institutions and other private organisations, which he generally sees as the “agents of transformation” in energy consumption.
“We can still benefit a lot more from exchange with the private sector. We need to understand better what the private sector requires, and what exactly we as development partners can do. In fact, our objective should not focus so much on implementing energy projects but rather on promoting the development of sustainable energy markets,” he said.
Another example of an upcoming market is self-consumption for gridconnected users. In many countries,
producing solar power has, or will in the near future, become cheaper than grid electricity. This could bring down power costs, increase grid stability, generate local value-addition and employment,and substitute for more polluting electricity sources.
Franz cited several key areas where development partners could make a difference: reducing the high upfront costs through credit lines; reducing financing costs as a factor of the perceived risk through risk mitigation instruments; developing capacity of local companies for design, installation and maintenance of solar systems; and supporting governments to put in place the required policies and regulations.
On the last aspect, Franz mentioned that this is an area currently being addressed through the EU Energy Initiative – Partnership Dialogue Facility, with funding from the European Commission.
“We have decided in this case to work hand in hand with a project implemented by local partners and supported by the Agence Française de Développement (AFD). Our project will support the development of regulatory capacity. The objective is to work with the private sector and the public authorities in Kenya to find the best model for effectively regulating and thereby enabling investment in these markets.”
He also stressed that engagement with partners on the ground, through bodies such as industry associations, could be a vehicle to reach private and public sectors.
This article was drafted with input from Michael Franz from the EU Energy Initiative Partnership Dialogue Facility (EUEI PDF) and Arnaud de Vanssay with support from the capacity4dev.eu Coordination Team. – See more at: http://capacity4dev.ec.europa.eu/article/solar-energy-has-great-potentialafrica-
has-yet-take#sthash.lpnKwDHS.dpuf
Advantages and disadvantages of solar PV
Advantages of solar PV
• PV panels provide clean,green energy. Electricity generation with PV panels produces no harmful greenhouse gas emissions – solar PV is thus environmentally friendly.
• Solar energy is supplied by nature – it is thus free and abundant.
• Solar energy can be made available almost anywhere where there is sunlight.
• Solar energy is especially appropriate for smart energy networks with distributed power generation – DPG is indeed the next generation power network structure.
• The cost of solar panels is reducing and expected to continue in a downward pricing trend for the next few years – consequently solar PV panels have a promising future both for economic viability and environmental sustainability.
• Operating and maintenance costs for PV panels are low, almost negligible, compared to costs of other renewable energy systems.
• PV panels have no mechanically moving parts, except in cases of sun-tracking mechanical bases;consequently they have far fewer breakages and require less maintenance than other renewable
energy systems (eg wind turbines).
• PV panels are silent and thus ideal for urban areas and for residential applications.
• Because solar energy coincides with energy needs for cooling, PV panels can provide an effective solution to energy demand peaks – especially in hot summer months where energy demand is high.
• Solar PV panels are a major renewable energy system promoted via government subsidy funding (feed-in tariff schemes (FITs), tax credits, etc); these financial incentives for PV panels can make solar energy panels an attractive investment alternative.
• Residential solar panels are easy to install on rooftops or on the ground without any interference to
residential lifestyle.
Disadvantages of solar PV
• As with all renewable energy sources, solar energy has intermittency issues – there is no sunlight at night and daytime interruptions are caused by cloudy or rainy weather.
• Intermittency and unpredictability of solar energy thus make solar energy panels a less reliable solution.
• Solar energy panels require additional equipment (inverters)to convert direct electricity (DC) to
alternating electricity (AC) in order to be used on the power network.
• For a continuous supply of electric power,especially for ongrid connections, PV panels require not only inverters but also storage batteries; thus increasing the investment cost considerably.
• Land-mounted PV panel installations require relatively large areas for deployment;usually the land space is committed for this purpose for a period of 15-20 years or longer.
• Solar panels efficiency levels are relatively low (between 14%-25%) compared to the efficiency levels of other renewable energy systems.
• Though PV panels havevery low maintenance and operating costs,they are fragile and can be damaged relatively easily; additional insurance costs are therefore of ultimate importance to safeguard a PV investment.
Renewable energyworld.com



Africa’s retail footprint

It’s almost impossible to attend a business event without hearing about Africa’s lucrative potential.
And when it’s substantiated by research it’s hard to ignore.
Joe Stolhman, wrote in Think Africa Press in 2011:“Although Walmart’s claim that Africa contains ‘attractive growth characteristics’ will be viewed by some as similar to a vampire complimenting someone on the beauty of their neck, ….” some ‘blood sucking’ supermarket chains have not been deterred
and their proliferation across Africa proves the insatiability of the retail appetite.
Speaking at the Drinktech Conference at Gallagher Estate,Midrand in June, Shawn Henning, account director at BMI Research provided a snapshot of retail growth on the continent, home to no less than one billion people.
Shoprite Holdings, the group with the largest presence in Africa (outside of South Africa) began its entre into Africa via Namibia in 1995 and by 2013 had a retail presence in 16 countries amounting to 163 stores beyond SA’s borders. A further 44 outlets are planned for the next year in Nigeria,Zambia, Angola. Henning commented that “Whitey Basson, (CEO of Shoprite Holdings) has, in the past six months,
enjoyed a 45% return on his investments in Africa.” The company has secondary listings on both the Namibian and Zambian stock exchanges.
Henning said Pick n Pay was the second largest retailer in Africa with 94 stores and plans to double that number in 10 years. Pick n Pay owns supermarkets in Namibia, Botswana, Zambia,Mozambique, Mauritius, Swaziland and Lesotho. It also owns a 49% share of a Zimbabwean supermarket business,TM Supermarkets.
Woolworths has 65 stores in Africa with its footprint in 11 countries outside of South Africa. Henning said Woolworths was reportedly planning 15 new stores in sub-Saharan Africa by 2017 in Kenya, Mauritius and Namibia.
According to Paula Disberry, Woolworths’ group director for retail operations, only about 20% of
Woolworths’ African operations are food stores, while the majority sell clothing.
“It’s purely on the basis of where can we sustain our core chain to deliver the quality products that Woolworths customers expect. So our food markets are those countries bordering SA plus Zambia, which we can also access easily from an infrastructure point of view.”
The majority of food products in Woolworths’ African stores are exported from SA.
International retailer Spar (Spar) South Africa was established in 1963)has 138 stores on the continent spread throughout Botswana, Malawi, Mauritius,Namibia, Nigeria, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
Henning said Africa’s challenges created opportunities and that it was the second fastest growing region in the world. “People in Africa will shop differently over the next 20 years.” He said the African shopping style dominated by open markets was on the brink of change and with the infiltration of huge retailers such as Walmart, more mall-style shopping venues would appear in the near future. Already there are Walmart branches located at The Palms Shopping Centre in Lagos (Nigeria), Lugogo Mall
in Kampala (Uganda),and the Accra Mall in Ghana as well as other stores in Malawi, Mauritius,Mozambique, Nigeria,Tanzania,Zambia, Zimbabwe, Lesotho,Namibia and Botswana – a total of 359
stores in sub-Saharan Africa.Walmart is planning a further 90 outlets in the broader region targeting Nigeria and Angola. It also plans to make a bid for Naivas a retail chain in Kenya.
Ailswa Wingfield, executive director marketing and communication for Africa and Middle East regions, The Nielsen Company SA, who also presented at the Drinktech conference, added that the African consumer spent 50% of income on fast moving consumer goods. She said 60% would turn to cheaper grocery
brands, particularly to stretch narrowing budgets and would typically cut back on buying take-away meals reduce consumption of electricity and gas and spend less on new clothes.
Henning added, “Retailer expansion across the African continent will create increasing opportunities for locally produced brands in more and more categories.” –Iza Grek



In the mix

Quantum AFS is a manufacturer and distributor of technology based products in the food industry. With more than 10 years’ experience in the food science sector Quantum AFS is, at its core, concerned with the hygiene and safety of the raw materials used, and finished products it produces.
“It is our mission to offer our clients a total food science solution,’’ says Trudy Mills, technical sales manager at Quantum. “We will look at your unique needs and tailor our offering to meet your needs. We are, in the business of solving problems. Whether this means partnering with you from concept and formulation, to implementation and production, using new or existing recipes, we can do it all.’’
The main reason behind Quantum offering these services is due to a gap in the market. ‘’We have found that there is definitely a skills shortage in our particular field and, when dealing with high-value products any mistake can be costly.
“It is our task to take your product and extend shelf life, enrich taste, improve consistency and strengthen nutrition across the board. Coupled to this, we can also optimise production, enhance quality control, expand your range, develop your customer base and increase yields.’’ In line with this commitment to quality, Quantum has successfully gained Food Safety Assessment (FSA) accreditation which stands them in good stead to cater to even the most demanding of clients.
“This, we feel, will really set us apart from other companies as there are many small blenders in the market who have not received accreditation. The nine-month process required for accreditation was, in our view, the starting point to ensuring we could comply with any and all requests from our clients. There was no point in going out to market before we received our accreditation.’’ Going forward, with accreditation in hand, Mills says that although the baking sector is their key strength, they will be targeting a wide variety of markets. “We called ourselves Applied Food Science because we can cover just about any area. This includes dairy, confectionery, snacks, and meat, to name a few. Being in the food science industry for more than 20 years, I have an extensive background in formulating a wide variety of products. With the experience, along with our accreditation and our positive release system, we are able to offer guarantees that the product you get out, at the end of the day, is going to be superior to that of a fly-by-night operation.”
“Our processes, and procedures have been tried, tested, and are trusted. There are many, from a supply and client point of view, who are surprised and taken aback, at the fact that we have our accreditation. It is most certainly not the norm, but more the exception in our industry – especially for small to medium companies like ourselves.’’
The next few years will see Quantum consolidate its position in the marketplace and offer companies customised blending and technology partnerships.
‘’It is not our intention to become a stockist or distributor, we understand that our strength lies in our expertise and, keeping this in mind, we will remain technology partners to corporate clients. Our years of experience allows us to offer clients a best-fit solution from both a functionality and cost perspective to meet their needs.
“The secret is to understand the technology behind the different enzymes, emulsifiers etc., and how to blend these perfectly. It’s not a simple case of throwing ingredients together and hoping for the best. It is the utilisation of the critical key ingredients that, at the end of the day, will differentiate our client’s products to their competitors.’’



Nampak CEO set to ramp up African assets

André de Ruyter, newly appointed CEO of Nampak, has outlined further growth opportunities in Africa. This follows the great stride made earlier this year with the purchase of the Alucan aluminium canning facility in Agbara, Lagos Nigeria. “That investment of R3bn is a vote of confidence in Africa. Once the second
line is installed this facility will have the capacity to produce 2.2 billion cans per annum,” De Ruyter says. Nampak added a second line at its Angolata plant, the sole Angolan manufacturer of beverage cans which has the Castle group as one of its key customers. Nampak has also commissioned a plastics closures line at Nampak Nigeria, in the Ikeja industrial area in Lagos state early in 2014.
Nampak’s investment in any operation is however always much broader than the plant itself. “We also get involved in infrastructure, for example in Angola we go to great lengths to ensure the power generation is reliable and we manage the supply and treatment of water. Setting up an operation in Africa is not plug-and-play – “you have to allow for additional costs.” De Ruyter says.”
“Our customers understand that the availability and reliability of local suppliers is very important. For example, fuel is supplied locally. This short-circuits exposure to lengthy supply chains.

Challenges
“In spite of challenges we have enjoyed much success and are looking at further growth in Africa to inspire confidence in other multinationals and in our customers so that they can expect first world quality in third world countries. SAB Miller, Unilever, BAT and Heineken are some of our customers and they have also shown an interest in accelerating delivery of product into Africa.”
There is a big opportunity in Africa for consumers to enjoy products sold in the South African market, he says. “We wish to expand our footprint in Ethiopia with its 90 million consumers as we believe it presents opportunities for high economic growth rates.
“The packaging spectrum differs throughout Africa and there is a clear demand for smaller unit sizes on the continent to facilitate affordable product pricing. Sachets, for example, are well-established in India and China and we are seeing a similar trend in Africa.”
It is part of Nampak’s strategic plan to nurture and grow its existing footprint in Botswana, Mozambique, Swaziland, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
“In South Africa, volume growth in Nampak in the recent past has been subdued due to low GDP growth rates which is not meeting the expectations of our shareholders. However, the SA operation is still an important source of revenue and we must seek to enhance profitability and remain competitive.”

Aluminium conversion

Nampak Bevcan’s local operation in Springs is leading the conversion from steel to lightweight aluminium for beverage cans. Its first manufacturing line was converted to aluminium in April and it now has the capacity to manufacture 2,500 cans a minute. Three lines at this plant will be running aluminium by August this year.
In Rosslyn, Pretoria three beverage can lines running steel will be consolidated into one aluminium line; the factory at Epping will also have its packaging lines converted from steel to aluminium in the near future.
“The cost of running aluminium lines is far less and it is expected to improve our recycling rate. All Bevcan steel will be converted to aluminium – about 50% of our processing machines have already been converted from steel to aluminium and the process will be completed by July 2015.
“Regarding glass, we have just installed a third furnace at Roodekop, Germiston at a running cost of R1.2bn. This means we have three major glass processing lines. With only two running we were not able to run different colour batches. This has added much-needed capacity to the production facility as it was struggling to keep up with demand.
“These investments and upgrades demonstrate clearly our intention to expand our operation in SA and especially to play a role in the growth of the manufacturing sector,” De Ruyter says.
Nevertheless there are challenges for the packaging industry as a whole and more so to maintain the position of market leader. One of these challenges is the rising costs of raw materials – specifically polymers, aluminium, tin plate – all of which are based on global pricing. “With currency fluctuations, our risk exposure increases as the rand weakens,” De Ruyter says.
He cites labour costs and productivity as other challenges, but he says Nampak is blessed with a loyal labour force and wage demands are negotiated amicably.
Innovation
De Ruyter says the SA packaging industry does not have the economies of scale that the US has.” Because of this, it has a healthy tradition of innovation – “in the US, much of its packaging has been standardised to some extent, and therefore innovation is a secondary consideration.”
However, innovation has to be balanced by how it impacts the environment and must address the question of affordability, he says.
“At Nampak we have R&D facilities comprising 60% science and technical innovation, with the balance focusing on new technology and quality control. This is a differentiating feature of Nampak’s offering – we strive to create a differentiating decision point. We ask: how can we make the consumer offering more attractive?”
De Ruyter points out that innovation is not always visible: the conversion of steel to aluminium is an example. “The consumer may be unaware of the change but the environmental impact is huge and therefore positive at all levels of society.”
To make this more visible to the consumer, Nampak developed the CAN DO! campaign. “It portrays cans as ‘cool’, which stimulates consumer demand for the particular packaging medium. It was unusual in that it was a manufacturer-driven campaign, forming a relationship between the manufacturer and the consumer.”
Easy-opening fruit cans are among the less obvious innovations and at the other end of the spectrum is the highly recognised Castle Lite thermochromic snow temperature indicator.

Food safety
Food safety is taken very seriously in SA and Nampak prides itself on excellent standards, he says. “For example in fish canning, micro-organisms can cause spoilage or food poisoning such as botulism. Nampak R&D helps to ensure the safety of canned fish by employing food scientists and thermal processing specialists on site to avoid any incidents, which could be costly and even fatal. We ensure the highest standards of processing are adhered to as even external corrosion could cause a pin-hole in the can which could result in the contents becoming contaminated at huge costs to the manufacturer. Nampak is a company where global best practice is the standard and we leverage off that to ensure that all levels of the organisation adhere.”
De Ruyter hails from the oil industry where his focus was chemicals and mining, quite a long way from packaging (although Arcelor Mittal is the main metals supplier to Nampak).
De Ruyter explains his attraction to Nampak: “I am interested in the entire value chain and was attracted to the opportunity to lead the largest packaging company in SA. “Nampak is an iconic brand and represents values I can relate to. I believe you must be able to associate with a company’s values in order to lead it. Nampak is a responsible company – its recycling percentages are impressive. More than 70% of beverage cans are recycled and more than 80% of glass feedstock is recycled. Nampak’s mantra is to ‘buy better, make better, sell better’. I plan to follow through on that and make it all possible.” – Iza Grek
Nampak Limited Tel: 27 11 719 6300;
www.nampak.com;
www.facebook.com/nampaklimited



Perfecting the art of craft beer

Craft beer is taking Africa by storm, with South Africa particularly experiencing a significant growth of local craft brewers and microbreweries. Food Processing Africa spoke to a number of microbrewers about the art of crafting a beer
Craft beer, unlike mass manufactured beers, is made in small, traditional and mostly independent breweries owned by beer enthusiasts. Moritz Kallmeyer, owner and master brewer at Draymans distillery in Pretoria, Gauteng, says the biggest distinctions between craft and mass produced beer are the quality of ingredients, the variety of flavours and the brewing process. “In the case of craft beer, we take the time and make the effort to ensure we produce the best kind of beer. For example with our Altstadt Weissbier, which is a highly carbonated Bavarian style wheat beer, we use the original Bavarian wheat beer yeast strain that aids the beer in defying gravity and imparts a faint clove and banana flavour to the beer. At Drayman’s, we also brew Dussel Altbier, a German ale with a distinctly hoppy taste, with a special dry finish, achieved by a thorough stepped infusion mash that lasts for two and a half hours; the final smooth palate taste we accomplish through cold conditioning at 60C for
10 days.
“We do not do final blends of beer with carbonated water in any of our beers. As craft brewers we ignore the megatrend of brewing watered down, flavourless, caramel coloured products. This is what the art of craft beer is about – making good quality beer.”
Microbrewery establishment
These sentiments are shared by brewers at the first and only majority black-owned township craft brewery, Ubuntu Kraal Brewery, the home of Soweto Gold Superior Lager. Former South African Breweries master brewer Ndumiso Madlala attests that great beer is made with top quality ingredients. “I use a unique blend of barley malt, hops, yeast and water, as well as a unique speciality malt called crystal malt to make world class beer. Roasting at 66ºC ensures gentle yet palatable caramel and toasty flavours.” Ubuntu Krall Brewery is a result of a joint venture between Madlala, now master brewer at Ubuntu, MadMead Brewing Co,the University of Weihenstephan in Germany, and the Institute of Brewing and Distilling in London. MadMead Brewing co. situated in Soweto, is the brewing company under which the Soweto Gold brand will be produced, marketed and sold.
Speaking on setting up the microbrewery, Josef Schmid, managing director of MadMead Brewing Co, says Ubuntu Kraal Brewery was confronted with some challenges. “We had to put up R800,000 of our own money to secure the equipment – about 10% of the total cost – and the IDC agreed to fund the rest. The endless administration and bureaucracy was also a challenge.” The R8 million facility has created 120 jobs, of which 50 are specialised and held by individuals directly involved in brewing the beer. The partnership with the universities mean a few of the staff members will go abroad to learn and bring back skills to South Africa.
Capacity for the brewery is currently two million litres of beer per year. “Our beer is handmade, meaning people add the raw materials and taste the brew to find out if there is enough hop s,
malt and yeast. The bigger breweries eliminate the human interaction. Because they produce 2.5 billion litres of beer per year (in South Africa) they rely on machinery and computers to do the thinking,” Madlala said.
Smaller quantities, however, do not translate to fewer variants. Soweto Gold is currently working on a refined version of its Soweto Cherry Gold. “We are looking into including peach flavoured and ginger flavoured beer as well as an apple ale.
Our most exciting project now is brewing test batches of Orlando Stout.”

Traditional brewing process
Cape Town microbrewery Boston Breweries is one of the larger microbreweries in the country. Following a recent upgrade which doubled its production capacity, the brewery now has 24 locally manufactured 300W Solair solar panels producing 14,500kW/hours of electricity, which is 10% of the brewery’s energy needs.
The company, which brews five days a week, 24 hours a day, follows a strict traditional brewing process. Says Russ Meyer, head of sales and marketing, “Our process begins with preparing specially selected malted barley. We choose from 25 different malts produced locally, and all our barley is imported from Belgium. Once we have weighed our quantities of malt, we send it to our double-roller grain crusher.
Our aim is to simply crack the husks to allow water to extract sugars during the mash. We don’t want to crush it too finely – then it would be like flour. The revolutions per minute (RPM) of the crushing rollers is critical in achieving this.”
The crushed grain is poured into the mash tun along with heated water as the first parts of the mashing process.
“We follow a step mash process. The water and barley mixture is heated to a specific temperature for a set amount of time. Accuracy is paramount; there is no room for error.
“The steps (time and temperature) are determined by which barley enzymes we want to activate. These enzymes break down the sugars in the grain, a process that can take up to two and a half hours to complete. Then the liquid goes through lautering. The lauter tun has a wedge wire screen on the bottom with small slots to separate bigger husks from the liquid. The mixture is allowed to settle, so that the larger particles fall to the bottom and the finer particles settle on top. This filters the liquid, removing the grain husks. Too fine-textured mush would block the filter bed.
“Once this step is completed the wort is pumped from the bottom of the lauter tun back on top of the grain bed. It is continually recirculated until all the particles are filtered out and it becomes clear. The wort is then put into the boiler while we spray hot water over the grain bed in the lauter tun to remove the sugars from the grain. A refractometer is used to check that there are no sugars present.

Mixing it up

Hops is added at different intervals while the wort boils and boiling goes on for 90 minutes to ensure it is sterile when the wort reaches the fermenters. The wort is whirlpooled and left to rest for 30 minutes to allow proteins that have clumped together and the hops to fall to the bottom. The mixture is poured into a fermenter until it reaches the appropriate fermentation temperature, which varies according to the type of beer.”
Yeast is added to the fermenter, along with oxygen to encourage yeast reproduction (by cell division). This process can take anything between four and seven days. The fermenter is then chilled. Filtering (removal of all yeast and anything larger than one micron), kegging (which includes triple cleaning, steam sterilising and filling the keg with CO2 in order to flush out all oxygen) and bottling are the final stages of the process.
New player on the market, Oakes Brew House, Modderfontein in Johannesburg, however, brews its beer a
little differently. Brewer Happy Masenamela explains that Oakes craft beer does not go through a filtering process. “We opt not to filter our beers, we want the consumer to experience the full burst of flavour, and we leave it 100% natural. This is the main reason why our beer is a bit cloudier than the average beer and has a deep caramel colour.
“We brew four types of beer – easy blonde which is a light lager; American apple ale; stout and our newer recipe which is the Weiss. We import our special malt, abbey malt, the carared and caraamber and the pilsner from Wayermann; we source pale, caramel and black (roasted) malt locally from South African Breweries,” she explains.
Barely a year old, Oakes is currently producing 200 litres per batch of beer and is brewing four to five days a week. Says Masenamela: “We imported a special Braumeister Speidel kettle with a double jacket cooling system to aid us with the initial brewing process. The advantage of this equipment is that the malt is no longer washed out through an agitator, but by a gentle recirculating pump treatment of the wort. Mashing, purifying and hop boiling are all done in this single kettle.”
Masenamela, is one of very few black women in this industry. A self-taught brewer who was guided by one of the company’s directors, she has aspirations to become the first black female master brewer: “I believe I will get the opportunity because craft beer is definitely not going to disappear. As long as there is a need for authentic-tasting beer, there will be a need to produce.”
– Kgaogelo Mamabolo

Draymans Brewery: Tel +27 804-8800;
www.draymans.co.za
MadMead Brewing Co: Tel +27 79 890 8321; www.sowetogold.co.za
Boston Breweries: Tel +27 11 568 0745;
www.bostonbreweries.co.za
Oakes Brew House: Tel +27 11 608 0612;
www.oakesbrewhouse.co.za
GEA Process Engineering: Tel: +27 11 805 6910; www.gea-pe.co.za



Innovative ideas for access to basic sanitation

The United Nations estimates that more than 600 million people in India do not use toilets or even pits called latrines, but relieve themselves on the ground, according to a report in the Journal Sentinel.
There have been improvements over the past 20 years, but an estimated one billion of the world’s population still practise open defecation. Another 700 million use unclean types of bathrooms while some make use of ‘hanging latrines’ that dump directly into streams, or buckets that are emptied in the streets, the journal report says.
The report says that global estimates of annual deaths from diarrhoea range as high as 1.5 million. Most of the deaths are caused by the intake of faeces-contaminated water.
Scientists believe many of these deaths can be prevented by proper sanitation, along with safe drinking water and improved hygiene.
“Toilets have played the role of assisting in reducing diseases, that is, when they are well-connected.” It does not help if a toilet is not attached to a system that treats the waste, which then swirls away.
In 2011 the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation announced a ‘Reinvent the Toilet Challenge’.
The foundation funded the participation of eight universities, one being the California Institute of Technology (Caltech). After the announcement, a group of university students in California worked alongside Kohler Co to reinvent the toilet.
Kohler, a US company based in Wisconsin, is better known for manufacturing plumbing products.
The plan was to develop a self-contained toilet and waste treatment system powered by a solar panel that generates enough energy to be stored for use at night.
Science professor Michael Hoffmann led Caltech’s team to design the toilet; their product won the Gates challenge in 2012.
Hoffmann and the students have been preparing to fine-tune the original model and ready it for field testing in India, which is set to begin later this year.
Meanwhile, another toilet maker called American Standard Brands also received a grant. It took a low-tech approach and developed a plastic toilet pan that uses a mechanical trap door and water seal. It’s designed to close off holes beneath latrines from the open air and prevent flies from entering.

Toilet made for densely populated settlements in Nairobi turns waste into cash
In April, a report on the Daily Beast website said that Sanergy, a Kenya-based supplier for crowded areas, had designed a toilet which facilitates ‘quick and clean’ waste removal.
About half of Nairobi’s 3.3 million residents do not have access to piped water or a sewerage grid.
Water and sanitation development projects are legion in the informal settlements of Nairobi, and yet the basics of sanitation—access, affordability, and cleanliness—barely exist, according to the Daily Beast report.
Sanergy, a for-profit/non-profit hybrid started by five students in 2011, manufactures and distributes toilets designed specifically for dense, urban informal settlements, then collects the resulting waste and processes it into high value by-products like fertilizer, which is sold to local farmers. Its model has the potential to sustainably improve sanitation in dense, urban areas where there is no proper sewerage grid.
Rather than using a pit, the ‘Fresh Life Toilet’ has two blue modular plastic jugs that collect waste during the day. These are removed and replaced with clean ones each evening by the company’s logistics team.
Sanergy also allows entrepreneurs to purchase and run the toilets as independent businesses.
According to Lindsay Stradley, a co-founder of Sanergy, Fresh Life Operators, or FLOs (the company’s term for its micro franchisees) receive discounts on sanitary products and other forms of support. But beyond that, “they own it, they operate it and their success is their own”.
FLOs purchase Fresh Life Toilets for 50,000 Kenyan shillings (about $580/R6, 041—the manufacturing cost); additional toilets can be bought at a discount.
“Unfortunately, many prospective FLOs don’t have that kind of money, and accessing credit can be very difficult for the chronically unbanked settlement population. This was a significant challenge to Sanergy’s model until it partnered with Kiva (a multinational micro-financing organisation) in September 2012. Since then, dozens of FLOs have received loans to purchase toilets.”
The toilet was designed to have a very small footprint — just three feet by five feet (0.91440m x 1.5240m) — so it fits on an individual’s plot. After manufacturing pre-fabricated components at its headquarters, Sanergy engineers install a toilet on the FLO’s land, and it is immediately ready for use.
There are currently 365 Fresh Life toilets in various settlements around Kenya, owned by about 190 FLOs.
The toilets provide hygienic sanitation for about 15,000 residents. About 2,050 tons of waste has been collected over the past two years.
– Aarifah Nosarka

Innovative toilets for developing countries

Below is a list of innovative toilets for developing countries as illustrated in the Borgen Magazine
Earthworm toilet – this toilet is unique in using both aerobic bacteria and earthworms to compost human waste into limited-odour loam. The toilet makes use of tiger worms and need only be emptied every six months. An example of this type of toilet is in operation at the La Providence golf course in Quebec. Fortunately for the developing world, a research project entitled ‘The Tiger Toilet’ was undertaken by the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine and funded by a 2009 grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
The sulabh toilet – a pan-trap squat toilet that uses a two-pit system minimising both odour and water waste. Only one pit is in use at a time. Each pit can contain up to three years’ of collected waste. Sulabh was founded on the principle of liberating the Dalit caste in India from being forced into work as scavengers. This toilet is said to have liberated more than 60,000 scavengers.
The BioFil digester – Kweku Anno from Ghana developed a simple, compact, on-site composting system that limits odour and avoids many of the problems of pit and ventilated pit latrines. The system itself uses a primary treatment of both aerobic bacteria and red worms to aerate the solid contents; the BioFil digester then treats what remains through a sand filter into a reed bed. Its installation is flexible – it may be installed beneath the ground, half-buried, or above ground.
The xRunner toilet – a waterless urine-diverting portable toilet s developed by Noa Lerner, an industrial engineer. The toilet separates urine from faeces, minimising odour with its enclosed and detachable pan. Lerner initially focused on composting waste in India, but found that the need was greatest in places without stable access to water because of drought. Community entrepreneurs arrange weekly collection and processing of the contents of the detachable pans.
The EcoSan toilet – is completely water-free and entirely closed. It was developed in the late 1990s by Eco Sanitation Ltd. The EcoSan toilet relies on dehydration of waste to limit odour and avoid the use of water resources. The excrement falls into a conveyer that rotates and moves the waste mechanically every time the toilet lid is opened. This process dehydrates the excrement in about 25 days before it falls into a reusable collection bag. The waste, now 5-10% of its original mass, can be used for composting, fuel, or disposed of traditionally. The system has a number of options including a toilet hut for privacy, different toilet bowls or urinals for other countries, or high-volume modifications.

www.borgenmagazine.com



Spiroflow targets UK ingredients sector with new CTE bulk bag filler

Manufacturers requiring safe, pin-point weighing accuracy and dust containment need look no further than Spiroflow Ltd, world-leading supplier of conveying and weighing systems: the company has launched the Cone Table Elite (CTE), adding to its range of bulk bag fillers available in the UK following the acquisition of Control & Metering of Ontario, Canada.
The CTE is filling technology designed to produce dense and safe bulk bags that are accurately weighed and stable when used with the most difficult ingredients, such as those found in the food, pharmaceutical, chemical, plastics, building and construction sectors.
Shifting millions of tons of potentially dangerous ingredients is part and parcel of many production processes for manufacturing companies, which must have systems and equipment in place that adhere to the European Union’s ATEX Directive 1999/92/E – implemented by the Dangerous Substances and Explosive Atmosphere Regulations 2002 (DSEAR) Act in the UK.
Spiroflow is a world-leading manufacturer of ATEX-approved conveying and bulk handling systems that meet regulatory requirements for transporting and handling powders and other materials in environments containing a potentially explosive atmosphere, such as sugar storage areas or flour silos.
Its ATEX compliant fillers, conveyors and bulk bag dischargers incorporate venting systems and dust prevention features to help companies maintain good cleaning routines.
Exceptionally well-suited to filling ingredients that are hazardous, toxic, require sanitary handling or are difficult flowing, the CTE features the patented cone densification table, hang weighing and hang filling. This provides the ultimate in densification and weighing accuracy.
This bulk bag filler from Spiroflow can be adapted for use with rigid IBCs, drums or Gaylords and is easily configured for automatic pallet and filled bag handling. The single post, modular design allows easy access for rigging bulk bags of various sizes and is ideal for restricted space applications. Maximum bagging rates of up to 35+ bags/hour can be achieved.
Rob Hudson, Spiroflow managing director, said: “Bulk bags are one of the most convenient, cost effective methods of packaging, storage and transport. The CTE bulk bag filler provides maximum product densification that ensures bag stability. It also means that you can put more material into your current bulk bag or use a smaller bulk bag for a given weight. Either way, operating cost savings are the result.”
The primary objectives when filling a bulk bag are to produce a stable package that is easy and safe to handle, provides accurate weighing and effective dust control. Spiroflow’s whole range of bulk bag fillers, like the CTE, are ideally suited to the most challenging applications.
In addition to bulk bag fillers, Spiroflow Ltd is also a manufacturer of flexible screw conveyors, aero mechanical conveyors, tubular cable and chain drag conveyors, vacuum conveyors, bulk bag dischargers, ingredients handling and weighing systems. The company’s technical and engineering expertise has led to it developing an international reputation for an unrivalled range of products with state-of-the-art control systems.

For more information on Spiroflow’s products and services visit www.spiroflow.com or call +44 (0)1200 422525.



Growing use of ICT is helping transform agriculture in Africa

The use of information and communication technologies (ICT) has had a ‘significant’ impact on agriculture. It may even be helping to make a reality of the African Union’s 2063 Vision of a “transformed continent”, according to a recent report on education, training and development in Africa.
“African agriculture is changing. It is steadily becoming more efficient. Much of the change is happening at the level of the smallholder farmer and it is being driven by the increased use of ICTs, which are helping to boost yields, increase choice and improve living standards,” said the report’s editor, Dr Harold Elletson.
He says the survey shows that people working in the agriculture and food sector have realised the usefulness of ICT.
“They are bringing new solutions to a whole range of farming problems – for example, promoting more efficient irrigation methods or better livestock management and even encouraging the development of self-sustaining funding solutions.”
“This (agricultural) sector still employs nearly 70% of the workforce; it is very significant in terms of making a reality of the African Union’s vision of a transformed continent.”
At the 2013 ICT4Ag conference in Kigala, Rwanda, Dr Agnes Matilda Kalibata, Rwanda’s Minister of Agriculture and Animal Resources, described ICT as “low-hanging fruit for poverty reduction”.
An economist in the World Bank’s Agriculture Department, Dr Aparajita Goyal, said the World Bank’s participation in the conference reaffirmed commitment to the use of ICT for agriculture in development.
“We recognise both the challenges and the promise of these new technologies,” he said.
He explained that efforts were underway in some of the projects using public-private partnerships to
build financially stable business models, which would help achieve greater impact and scale.
The European Union’s appointed Ambassador to Rwanda, Michael Ryan, shared the optimism about ICT.
“It’s going to be Africa’s turn in the coming years and we want to be there helping that launch, so that the prosperity African citizens deserve comes their way.”
Ryan emphasised that the EU had provided significant support to assist the development of agriculture in Africa and would continue to do so.

Beating the technology gap
ICT offers a means of substantially improving productivity and efficiency across a broad number of economies in both developed and developing countries. This was outlined in a KPMG Africa report.
Borge Brende and Robert Greenhill of the World Economic Forum noted that developing and emerging economies such as those in Africa are focusing on innovation in order to sustain the high economic growth rates experienced in the past decade.
“It is through the maintenance of those growth rates that developing countries hope to achieve higher levels of economic and social prosperity. ICTs can play a substantial role in supporting economic growth and creating jobs. ICTs allow companies to operate at greater levels of efficiency, which in turn allow them to redirect resources towards other productive investments.”
In the case of African countries particularly, a technology gap exists, which prevents effective utilisation of ICT-enablers such as broad scale digitisation, or connectivity to the ‘internet of things’.
Both Brende and Greenhill maintain that ICT is a source of innovation that can generate increased economic growth and new sources of high-value-added jobs.
“The implementation of ICT and a range of emerging technologies offer a means for African countries to bridge the technology gap.”
According to the2013 Global Information Technology Report, sub-Saharan Africa has continued to make significant efforts to build its ICT infrastructure.
The report, jointly published by INSEAD and the World Bank, notes that the efforts are particularly reflected by improvements in broadband infrastructure development and in the expansion of its mobile network coverage.
It states that ICT usage in the region has increased; however, sharp digital divide persists between sub-Saharan African economies and developed economies.
The Networked Readiness Index (NRI), calculated by the World Economic Forum and INSEAD, ranks 144 economies based on their capacity to exploit the opportunities offered by the digital age.
According to the Global Information Technology Report, “this capacity is determined by the quality of the regulatory, business and innovation environments, the degree of preparedness, the actual usage of ICT, as well as the societal and economic impacts of ICT.”
The report further attributes the cause of the technology gap to ‘still-costly’ access to ICT infrastructure, and relatively low levels of skills and unfavourable business conditions for entrepreneurship and innovation in general, which stems from a lack of government support.

The eLearning Africa Report 2014
To add to report findings, people working in the agriculture and food industries throughout Africa, were interviewed.
It was found that there was a higher level of optimism about the future than in almost any other sector. Furthermore, the report established that the most common uses of ICTs in agriculture were for the acquisition of knowledge about better farming practices and markets.
Survey respondents said that ICT could most benefit farmers through “greater efficiency” (49% ), “better sales” (27%), “bigger yields” (12%) and “better land management” (10%).
The report findings correspond with conclusions of a recent World Bank report on ‘ICT for Agriculture in Africa’.
The World Bank report says: “The strategic application of ICT to the agricultural industry, the largest economic sector in most African countries, offers the best opportunity for economic growth and poverty alleviation on the African continent.”

An example of a successful ICT project in the agriculture sector
The mFarmer Initiative Fund was launched by the GSMA mAgri Programme in 2011. It was a partnership that involved USAID and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
The objective of the initiative was to provide two million smallholder farmers across sub-Saharan Africa and India with access to affordable agricultural information services provided via mobile phones.
Through a competitive grant application process, four projects were initially selected for the programme. Each project was awarded a grant of $400,000 (R4.2million) to develop and scale commercially viable Agricultural Value Added Services (Agri VAS).
The GSMA mAgri team worked closely with each of the mFarmer grant recipients for an implementation period of two years. The team provided targeted business consultancy, advice on service improvement, and monitored and evaluated support.
It now provides farmers in 11 sub-Saharan countries with information and advisory services via their mobile phones.
– Aarifah Nosarka



Solar Energy has great potential in Africa, but has yet to take off

This was the central message of photovoltaic (PV) expert Michael Franz as he presented impressions and conclusions of his extensive work on the development of a solar energy market in Kenya at a recent conference in Brussels.
“Coordination between policy makers and private partners is key to developing solar energy in Africa. Dramatic cost reductions in solar photovoltaic devices are making it increasingly economically viable to improve access to solar energy in Africa but opportunities are lost because policy and regulatory frameworks, and development instruments, are not yet adapted,” said Franz, who is project manager at the EU Energy Initiative Partnership Dialogue Facility.
Drawing his conclusions from several years of working in the Kenyan energy sector, he pointed out that a number of the conditions and lessons learnt are similar to those of other countries in sub-Saharan Africa.
Kenya is characterised by an electrification rate of only 15-20 % and a growth of electricity demand of 5-8% per annum, in a country that has a GDP growth rate of 4.3 %. In this context, as in most of sub-Saharan Africa, more than 80 % of primary energy consumption is for domestic use only, mostly of traditional biomass.
At the same time, access to electricity is a requirement for many productive and social uses. It is widely argued that increasing the access figures will require not only public investment, but also substantial private sector activity.
Franz pointed out that for solar energy in particular, maturing technology and economics of scale are currently generating a massive potential for increasing access and investment. His key point, however, is that in most countries the policy and regulatory environments do not yet allow for this potential to be realised. Essential regulatory requirements for doing business, both on- and off-grid, are not in place yet in most cases, with notable exceptions.
As specific examples of key barriers, he identified standards for solar equipment or services, access to power grids, energy pricing and tariffs, and concessions for rural electrification.
He also discussed the role of development partners. He cited examples of how instruments, as well as approaches, promoted by development cooperation have yet to reflect the rapid developments in the solar energy market. In his view, there is a persistent lack of interventions effectively responding to the needs of the private sector in energy access ventures.
As a prominent example, Franz highlighted the new emerging markets of private solar energy consumption.
Replacing expensive and polluting kerosene lamps with solar lanterns, which cost $30 each to buy, remains a luxury purchase for households in rural Kenya and elsewhere in Africa. This is despite minimal running costs and payback periods often measured merely in months, compared to a product lifetime of several years.
In order to equip these households, Franz said, development practitioners should partner with micro-finance institutions and other private organisations, which he generally sees as the “agents of transformation” in energy consumption.
“We can still benefit a lot more from exchange with the private sector. We need to understand better what the private sector requires, and what exactly we as development partners can do. In fact, our objective should not focus so much on implementing energy projects but rather on promoting the development of sustainable energy markets,” he said.
Another example of an upcoming market is self-consumption for grid-connected users. In many countries, producing solar power has, or will in the near future, become cheaper than grid electricity. This could bring down power costs, increase grid stability, generate local value-addition and employment, and substitute for more polluting electricity sources.
Franz cited several key areas where development partners could make a difference: reducing the high upfront costs through credit lines; reducing financing costs as a factor of the perceived risk through risk mitigation instruments; developing capacity of local companies for design, installation and maintenance of solar systems; and supporting governments to put in place the required policies and regulations.
On the last aspect, Franz mentioned that this is an area currently being addressed through the EU Energy Initiative – Partnership Dialogue Facility, with funding from the European Commission.
“We have decided in this case to work hand in hand with a project implemented by local partners and supported by the Agence Française de Développement (AFD). Our project will support the development of regulatory capacity. The objective is to work with the private sector and the public authorities in Kenya to find the best model for effectively regulating and thereby enabling investment in these markets.”
He also stressed that engagement with partners on the ground, through bodies such as industry associations, could be a vehicle to reach private and public sectors.
This article was drafted with input from Michael Franz from the EU Energy Initiative Partnership Dialogue Facility (EUEI PDF) and Arnaud de Vanssay with support from the capacity4dev.eu Coordination Team. – See more at: http://capacity4dev.ec.europa.eu/article/solar-energy-has-great-potential-africa-has-yet-take#sthash.lpnKwDHS.dpuf
Advantages and disadvantages of solar PV
Advantages of solar PV
• PV panels provide clean, green energy. Electricity generation with PV panels produces no harmful greenhouse gas emissions – solar PV is thus environmentally friendly.
• Solar energy is supplied by nature – it is thus free and abundant.
• Solar energy can be made available almost anywhere where there is sunlight.
• Solar energy is especially appropriate for smart energy networks with distributed power generation – DPG is indeed the next generation power network structure.
• The cost of solar panels is reducing and expected to continue in a downward pricing trend for the next few years – consequently solar PV panels have a promising future both for economic viability and environmental sustainability.
• Operating and maintenance costs for PV panels are low, almost negligible, compared to costs of other renewable energy systems.
• PV panels have no mechanically moving parts, except in cases
of sun-tracking mechanical bases; consequently they have far fewer breakages and require less maintenance than other renewable energy systems (eg
wind turbines).
• PV panels are silent and thus ideal for urban areas and for residential applications.
• Because solar energy coincides with energy needs for cooling, PV panels can provide an effective solution to energy demand peaks – especially in hot summer months where energy demand is high.
• Solar PV panels are a major renewable energy system promoted via government subsidy funding (feed-in tariff schemes (FITs), tax credits, etc); these financial incentives for PV panels can make solar energy panels an attractive investment alternative.
• Residential solar panels are easy to install on rooftops or on the ground without any interference to residential lifestyle.

Disadvantages of solar PV
• As with all renewable energy sources, solar energy has intermittency issues – there is no sunlight at night and daytime interruptions are caused by cloudy or rainy weather.
• Intermittency and unpredictability of solar energy thus make solar energy panels a less reliable solution.
• Solar energy panels require additional equipment (inverters)
to convert direct electricity (DC) to alternating electricity (AC) in order to be used on the power network.
• For a continuous supply of electric power, especially for on-grid connections, PV panels require not only inverters but also storage batteries; thus increasing the investment cost considerably.
• Land-mounted PV panel installations require relatively large areas
for deployment; usually the land space is committed for this purpose for a period of 15-20 years or longer.
• Solar panels efficiency levels are relatively low (between 14%-25%) compared to the efficiency levels of
other renewable
energy systems.
• Though PV panels have very low maintenance and operating costs, they are fragile and can be damaged relatively easily; additional insurance costs are therefore of ultimate importance to safeguard a PV investment.
Renewable energyworld.com



South African government’s procurement process for renewable energy – how it could affect the rest of Africa

The South African government’s private procurement Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Programme (REIPPP) process has grown over the past two years to become a rare, major government success, lauded by almost everyone who knows about it. There have even been calls to emulate it in other infrastructure and government procurement scenarios, and suggestions that other African countries may use similar processes to harness the private sector in order to solve their electricity generation deficits.
Other African countries are reportedly keen to copy the REIPPP process. If they do, that will lead to more transparency and access by the private sector to renewable energy projects in those countries.
The South African process has also reflected how market mechanisms can produce much sharper prices than bureaucrat-decided prices (which were envisaged under South Africa’s previous renewable energy feed-in tariff (Refit) programme). Initial tariffs set under Refit, before that system was abandoned, were much higher than those eventually clinched in the latest (2013) round of the REIPPP.
Under the REIPPP process, within two years, a significant reduction in renewable energy pricing has seen the gap between fossil-fuel and renewable energy shrink. This has been a major, unexpected development. With it has come the shedding of the image of renewable energy projects as reenpeace-type enterprises which must be subsidised. That in turn opens the potential for renewable energy to be used in industry on a strictly commercial basis in future.
Tariffs contracted for over the three REIPPP rounds dropped by 68% for solar photovoltaics to average 88 South African (SA) cents (6.8USc); and for wind, by 42% to average 74SAc (5.7USc) (and a lowest price of 66.4SAc (5.10USc)). These prices compare with one estimate of 105SAc (8.1USc) (per kilowatt hour from the huge coal-fired Medupi power station which is currently being built by South African’s state-owned energy generator, Eskom – and even that 105SAc is without payment for any “externalities” (carbon taxes, etc) and is based on dubious accounting (“that 105SAc cost is in dreamland,” according to one observer).
According to a University of Pretoria and Greenpeace study, Eskom’s full “externalities” costs range from an additional R0.97 (7.5USc) to R1.88 (14.5USc) per kilowatt hour.
Eskom, which also controls the electricity distribution grid in South Africa, is obliged to buy the power production of the REIPPP projects.
The three REIPPP rounds over the past two years have been the biggest and most complex private-public procurement exercise ever accomplished in South Africa. Brazil has a somewhat similar process for renewable energy project procurement, but given all the conditionalities and requirements (particularly for community participation, black economic empowerment and socio-economic expenditure) in South Africa, South Africa’s process is the most complex in the world.
Despite the complexity, the South African process has become a new benchmark. The process has also transformed South Africa from zero to hero in the world of renewable energy, and many eyes are now upon it.
Locally, none of the IPPs (independent power producers) has publicly challenged any of the contract awards that have been made. Nor have there been allegations of corruption or attacks on the process by unsuccessful bidders.
And on the ground, in places like Cookhouse, Eastern Cape province, where a wind project is being set up, Johan van den Berg, CEO of the South African Wind Energy Association (SAWEA), reports huge excitement both among the local community and among the project suppliers and owners.
This extraordinary success seems to prove that the private sector will invest in infrastructure and energy if the right structures are in place.
In the three rounds, projects involving investments of about R110 billion ($8.46bn) have been committed to. Collectively, this has been the largest fixed investment in South Africa in the past two years – much of it from foreign sources – and spending on associated socio-economic developmental projects in remote areas.
The new electricity from the REIPPP projects began to flow into the South African electricity grid from early 2014, in the first major boost to South Africa’s generation capacity for many years.
The new electricity generation is in contrast to major new projects currently being constructed by Eskom, which projects are years late and are yet to produce electricity.
In total, if all goes according to plan, the three rounds of the REIPPP will result in 64 independent power projects producing a total of 3,800MW. This compares to Eskom’s 45,000MW installed capacity currently, and Eskom’s projected installed capacity of 55,000MW by 2018.
If the REIPPP system can be extended for public-private procurement generally both in South Africa and elsewhere in Africa, it has the potential to restrict the number of deals that are done individually, in smoke-filled meetings between politicians and crony capitalists.
Marc Immerman of private equity fund Lereko Metier Sustainable Capital Fund (LMSC), which is investing in South African projects which have landed contracts in the REIPPP rounds, says his fund expects to invest in projects elsewhere in Africa.
He says: “Given that renewable energy projects will often be competing with diesel-based generation, the renewable technologies can offer a cost reduction and less carbon-intensive energy generation. Another constant challenge in Africa is weak transmission grids. Because renewable energy is now competitively priced (against diesel and other energy sources), it offers the potential for distributed energy generation, and is quick to construct, it makes great sense.”
The caveat for further private investments in REIPPP projects is that at the prices of the third round, profit margins are likely to be tight. Anthony Hewat, managing principal of LMSC says that accordingly, prices are unlikely to fall much further in South Africa, having achieved globally competitive levels.

How the REIPPP works
The REIPPP process is definitely not for the fainthearted or the under-resourced. It is complex and costly – but these qualities have also meant that, remarkably, there have been no failures of the 64 REIPPP projects approved so far.
South Africa’s National Treasury and its Department of Energy designed the process, and they drive the evaluation and selection of successful bidders.
A project begins with developers, who may be individuals who may come from the renewables industry or may represent some particular technology. They come up with an idea and a site, and they generally “develop” it by negotiating with the owner and by getting environmental, water, zoning and other authorisations. It can take a few years to get all of these permissions.
Then the financial models are prepared and the shareholder and debt finance is organised.
In formulating a REIPPP bid, “it must be clear that you have the money and on what terms (equity and debt); that it’s going to make a return; and the technology to be used and that it is sufficiently proven,” says LMSC’s Michael Goldblatt. “All of this involves a lot of outsourced expertise.”
“There is a bid date, a selection date, and a close date. You bid, it is then evaluated and selected (if you’re lucky), and it is then financially closed.”
Says LMSC’s Marc Immerman, who, with Goldblatt, brought the Bokpoort (Northern Cape) concentrated solar plant project to LMSC: “The adjudication process is hard-core. The documents for our project totalled 40,000 pieces of paper and seven full CDs. You transport these to the place of evaluation (in this case, Gallagher Estate, Midrand, Gauteng); the REIPPP officials open the boxes and do an initial check on whether you have the basic required documents; then everything is kept under lock and key. Relays of different independent consultants working for the authorities are allowed to access them – they may only take in a pencil and paper.
“It is complex and labour-intensive and any fatal flaw can cause you not to be selected.
“In the evaluation and selection of successful bidders, there is a price factor and there is a non-price factor. The evaluation is based 70% on price (on the lowest compliant bid) and 30% on economic development (on the highest compliant bid). You get points for each of them and they are added up and you are ranked.
“Black empowerment, local community ownership and local enterprise development are important criteria for success.”
Having been selected, the project is built to a completion date, after which it produces electricity.
The lack of failures of projects so far is partly because the projects’ plans are independently assessed. But, says Immerman, “the success is also because of what’s required to be complied with. So simply to bid, you need all your money in place, equity and debt, with full board approval. The lenders must have detailed term sheets. And all licences must be in place.
“The advisers, consultants and lawyers … it’s a spectacular-lawyer fest to bid and especially to close. Each project has to have the lenders’ counsel, technical advisers for the lenders (an engineering company), etc.
“At the cheapest, bids cost R5 million ($385,000) each, and often more. So, at least about R500 million ($38.5 million) was spent on each bidding round. In the first-round there were 53 bids, 28 of them successful; in the second, 79 bids, 19 successful; and in the third 93 bids, 17 were successful (with the prospect of a some more approvals).
“The successful projects aggregate to a total investment cost of about R110 billion ($8.46 billion) investment to build (besides the cost of bidding).
“In our Bokpoort project, the lead-up to the bid was three years of work. Between the bid and selection was 4-6 months. Between selection and financial close, you take all in-principle plans for financing and operations and the build part (which includes engineers and international and local people) and ongoing operations and maintenance; socio-economic development; etc.
“You put all this in your plan and at financial close you convert that plan into binding agreements. “There is a co-incident point at which everything is binding. Once the bid is successful, this all turns into a binding agreement for offtake for 20 years.
“Then you go live into the build phase. In our Bokpoort technology of CSP (concentrated solar power) building takes 2  years, but in PV and wind it’s a shorter cycle,” says Goldblatt.
“The complexity is a positive for the country and the government. Internationally, the success rate of projects that actually finally produce after being selected has been considerably lower because, for instance, in the US, in one exercise, projects were approved solely on the basis of tariffs. The South African process means only the strongest and best organised projects succeed.”
The good news is that, according to Immerman, this bid method can be easily copied for other public-private infrastructure procurement.
In renewable energy, there are opportunities in the private sector in the projects themselves, and in their construction because a large proportion of them can be made locally.
Of course, the success of the REIPPP may conflict with the plans of politicians. This is because more scattered projects (as renewable energy projects inevitably are), allocated under a system which is relatively corruption-proof, are not highly suited for large patronage-related deals.



UV-C becomes the new norm in food sterilisation and packaging

The growing demand for environmentally friendly and chlorine-free products from both customers and consumers alike has increased the use of UV-C germicidal irradiation technology in the sterilisation of fruit, vegetables, nuts, meat and bread.
South Africa’s Technilamp is one of the country’s leading suppliers of ultraviolet and infrared technology. The company has been in the industry for the past 37 years and designs and manufactures customised equipment to meet specific

Customer needs

Hylton Cowie, Managing Director, says the UV-C range is becoming increasingly popular in the food processing and packaging industries as it is cost effective with low maintenance required. He says the systems are most effectively used during the production process and/or just before final packaging. “We are able to offer customised UV-C equipment, UV-C and ozone off the shelf products to assist in reducing bacteria and improving food shelf life in the manufacturing process. We produce custom designed UV-C solutions for customers using or wanting to use automated conveyor food processing systems and packaging systems, including the control panels,” Cowie explained. Some of the industries that the company has completed projects for include:

Fruit Processing and Packaging:
UV-C is ideal to replace chlorine when washing and sterilising smooth surface fruits and soft fruits such as berries. Also packaged ready-to-eat cut fruits such as those found in retail stores. UV-C germicidal technology can be used in the whole processing process, from replacing chlorine in water, to sterilisation of the fruit and sterilisation of the packaging. “Our company provides UV-C systems for both manual and automated conveyor systems,” he said. He further explained, “We have completed automated conveyor projects for fruit companies that supply
the major retailers in South Africa and the UK”, Cowie said.
Bread:
“Our UV-C systems sterilise the air in the spiral coolers of large commercial bakeries. This greatly assists with the prevention of mould growth and extends the products shelf life. The benefit to the customer is the ability to extend the distribution and shelf life of the bread.

Meat:
UV-C is very efficient in killing bacteria in meat. Technilamp offers a unique combination of UV-C and ozone which kills bacteria and prevents the spoilage of meat. “Research undertaken in Australia has confirmed that the system extends the shelf life of hanging meat from 11-22 days.” Cowie further explained that “The systems can be installed in the cool room system at the time of construction or retrospectively.”

Technilamp (Pty) Ltd: Tel: +27 11 621 0620;
www.technilamp.co.za



MTN South Africa moves towards green efficiency

MTN South Africa’s CEO, Zunaid Bulbulia, has revealed that the network service provider has established the continent’s first concentrating solar cooling system to power its data centres.
Said Bulbulia: “MTN is acutely aware of the impact of global warming and its adverse impact on emerging markets, including SA. We continuously explore ways in which we can reduce our carbon footprint and substantially reduce our electricity consumption, which will release additional capacity for the national grid.” The cooling system, at MTN’s head office in Johannesburg, is driven by Linear Fresnel concentrating solar power (CSP) technology, which uses heat generated from the sun and has a peak cooling capacity of 330 kilowatts.
It includes 242 solar mirrors that cover a total area of 484m2 which track the sun to generate pressurised hot water at 180˚C. The mirrors move into a self-cleaning position when it rains, and turn down into a protective stow position on cloudy days.
The hot water powers an absorption chiller that produces chilled water circulated into the data centre for the cooling of IT equipment.
The parties involved in designing the cooling system included REACH Renewable, AOS Consulting Engineers, Industrial Solar and Voltas Technologies, among others. Olu Soluade, managing director of AOS Consulting Engineers, explained that the cooling system was one step towards businesses becoming more environmentally conscious of their operations. “The development of sustainable solutions and the implementation of technologies for the benefit of mankind is the prerogative of all of us. The continuous commitment to the reduction of our carbon footprint
is the hallmark of sustainable development administered by professionals,” said Soluade.
Cristian Cernat, managing director of Voltas Technologies, added that the cooling system and its innovation could extend beyond renewable energy and into making a broader economic contribution. “The opportunity to model and design the installation using a high temperature heat source, architecturally integrated, creates a real opportunity for local manufacturing and future job creation in the field of renewable energy equipment production in our country.”
In 2010, MTN revealed SA’s first tri-generation methane-powered plant to electrify a new building housing a data centre and a test switch centre.
– AfricaOutlook



‘Open-source’ seed released to nurture patent-free food

An ‘open-source’ seed initiative has released 36 varieties of 14 food crops, which the project’s leaders say could help poor farmers get access to better quality seeds. According to Irwin Goldman, a vegetable breeder and horticulturalist at the University of Wisconsin-Madison who was involved in the release, the new seed varieties have been available for delivery globally from mid-May and thus far there have been more than 350 orders from around the world. “The project’s ultimate aim is to help change the international rules that limit the exchange of seeds of crops such as carrot, kale, lettuce, broccoli and quinoa. All seed packets include an ‘open-source seed pledge’. This states
that the seeds can be used in any way and that any new crop varieties
developed from them must remain free for everyone to use. We cannot be sure that someone will not try to patent or restrict the seeds we’ve released, but we will do our best to survey what happens to these materials as they go out into the community,” says Goldman.
Many countries place complex international legislative restrictions on seeds, involving rules on patents and other forms of intellectual property protection. This means farmers are prohibited from harvesting seeds and using them the following season. “We want to restore the practice of sharing planting materials freely between breeders. That was a wonderful way to work until more than 20 years ago,” says Goldman.
The release was made by the US-based Open Source Seed Initiative (Ossi), a project established in 2011
that believes that genetic resources – in the form of seeds – should be a common resource that anyone can use as they see fit. Its members fear that existing and future intellectual property laws could result in all plant genetic material being locked out of public reach. “Open source means sharing, and shared seed can be the foundation of a more sustainable and more just food system,” says Jack Kloppenburg, a professor of community and environmental sociology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, who coordinates Ossi along with Goldman and a graduate student.
He explained that a small group of big agribusinesses – including Monsanto, Syngenta, Dow and BASF – own a 66% market share of commercial seeds.
– SciDev.Net



Kitoko food farm impresses Africa Progress Panel (DRC)

The Africa Progress Panel (APP), chaired by Kofi Annan, visited the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) to discuss an innovative model for agriculture development submitted by Kitoko Food Farm. Over and above the Kitoko presentation, APP delegates visited the Kitoko farm to get a hands-on view of the considerable scale of the site.
Funded by the Fleurette Group, the Kitoko model is the first of its kind in the DRC to invest in high-tech vegetable and fruit production. It is also seeking to address the country’s chronic food shortages and advance its agriculture and economic development by equipping Congolese with the tools and skills needed to become self-sufficient in food production. Importantly, the Kitoko model is also seeking to demonstrate sustainable commercial farming in the DRC as a commercial reality. A 650 hectare (1,600-acre) farm along the N’sele River, 50km outside of Kinshasa, the DRC capital, Kitoko food farm began producing crops of maize, tomatoes, eggplant, onions, potatoes, carrots and other vegetables in June 2013. In January this year, Kitoko began growing cassava leaves, indigenous spinach, ngaï and other local vegetables. Kitoko Food Farm now supplies local markets, supermarkets, hotels and restaurants with these and other fresh high-quality vegetables and fruit at prices significantly lower than the cost of imported food.
“During our presentation in front of the panel and their visit to the farm, we shared with the APP that we fully endorse many of the findings in its report, including that the African continent needs an economic transformation that taps into Africa’s other riches, particularly its arable land,” said Gil Abrel, Kitoko
Food Farm’s CEO. “They saw with their own eyes that this is exactly what the Kitoko model does.”
More than 70% of the population works in agriculture in the DRC, although only 10% of the country’s 80 million arable hectares are under production. The APP visit follows visits by other organisations and government representatives in the recent past, including the World Bank and the Governor of Kinshasa, André Kimbuta.
– investobharat