Avocado - Possible Income Generating Activity

Status: Finished
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Avocados are grown fairly easily in Kabondo, which is located in one of two areas in Kenya that can grow them. The community would like to examine the possibility of turning avocados into an income-generating idea including the production of value-added products (such as oil for beauty products or use in cooking/food preparation).

Help us gather research on the possible uses of avocados and its parts (oil, seed, leaves, skin, etc). Any ideas are welcome!

Yes, I agree starting a new task could help. and yes, let's wait to hear Eric's comments. Would you be compiling all info in one place so that anyone can access it easily?

Raul

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I think that would be the best thing - having all the info together for others and for Eric to take to the community if they so decide.

Barb

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Hi Barb, Raul,

Sorry i have been having problems with my internet connection in the past week and couldn't respond promptly to discussions here.

I also think people have covered enough ground on this and we need to move on. Most people concentrated on what avocado could be used to make. Now we need to move to other things like how such things can be made, the resources required etc.

Raul, one of my community members asked me if there are any ways through which value can be added to sweet potatoes to make it more profitable. Kabondo grows lots of sweet potatoes as a major cash crop and for consumption. Does anybody know any other possible uses?

Eric

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Hi Eric,

One of the products that would have a a good added value would be starch. Maybe we can talk more about it too. The process of production is not too difficult either.

Should we continue with the avocado and start discussing sweet potatoes along the way?

I am also attaching a paper on how they do it in China working with the farmers.

Raul

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Raul,

Thanks. We can just continue with the avocados and will discuss sweet potatoes along the way.

Eric

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Hi Eric

Can you come to the chat room? We are there with Barb

Raul

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Hi Eric

I know you have said you prefer to concentrate on avocadoes, but having found this I thought I would post it.

Small-scale Root Crops and TubersProcessing and Products
http://www.unido.org/fileadmin/media/documents/pdf/Ammended_pdfs/32360_R...

Section 4 gives a variety of uses of sweet potatoes, normal potatoes and cassava:

4 Products and Production Methods
Fried products
Dried chips
Flours
Fermented cassava/Gari
Mandazi
Sweet potato jam

It would never have occurred to me that you could make them into jam, although I guess they are sweet!

The whole doc is quite big so not sure if Eric can download. Attached is the part of the doc that describes the various products, which is only about 90KB.

I found this by looking at http://opentraining.unesco-ci.org which is a big directory of free documents, many relevant to people in developing countries. Lots on there about agriculture, food processing, income generation.

Mary

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Now that we have finished some discussions and have decided to move into the next stage, I thought I could propose a first approach and to get everyone’s comments.

I think that we could try to make the process as manual as possible at the beginning and once the capacity is built we can start moving into using some better machinery.

Based on the documents we collected we can look into the different steps and see how to approach them

1. Stoning the avocados ⇒ I think we could start with this as a manual stage by using a knife and a spoon.
2. Get the meat form the Avocado ⇒ I guess we could also start with this as a manual process using spoons
3. Extracting the oil ⇒ For this I would suggest we contact kickstart.org to see if their oil press would fit our purposes
4. Dissolving the oil ⇒ The project in Dominican Republic recommended using water extraction. I then read a couple of articles to get some operation conditions. Based on that I would recommend starting a trial with a ratio 5:1 water to avocado by weight. If there a chance to get sea water for this? We can also simulate seawater using calcium carbonate but if it is not hard to get the seawater then it would be great to go in that direction. We also need to heat and mix the solution water-avocado to allow the separation. For this we can use a regular fire and barrels.
5. Centrifuge ⇒ There are some artisanal centrifuges that could be built with bicycle parts. We could find some examples and see if it can be developed locally. The separation can also be done by waiting for the solution to settle in three different phases but centrifuge would be better and it is not so hard to build.

For the Sub-products:

Seed ⇒ To grow more trees. Would be important to have a strategy in place to grow it in a sustainable way

Skin ⇒ We can use fermentation and use it as an organic pesticide

Cake ⇒ I am not sure how the residue of the cooking-separation process would look like but maybe we can see if it can be used for animal feed or maybe even for some other purposes. We will have to see during the pilot study

I think that would be enough to start. Would be great to get everyone’s thoughts on this approach.

Eric your ideas and overview of this approach would be very important too.

Look forward to hearing some feedback on this.

Raul

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Hello everyone,

Does anyone have any comment on this?

Look forward to your comments.

Raul

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Hi Raul

Working out the technical details is certainly not one of my strong points which is why I have kept fairly quiet :)

But, assuming they have the time and manpower, starting with something simple and manual makes sense to me.

Is there any way that they can try out the process before they have to buy equipment? Or is there anyone else doing it locally who could demonstrate?

That way, they can get a better idea of whether it is something they are really interested in doing, and also work on ways of turning the extracted oil (and other bits of the avocado) into whatever type of product they want to sell before they make any sort of investment in equipment.

If they decide they don't want to produce the oil themselves, they could always try and find someone who is prepared to buy the avocadoes for a fair price.

Mary

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Sorry Raul,

I am a little like Mary. The technical details elude me and is also why I have remained quiet. I guess you thought no one was going to comment at all. :)

From my limited experience, your rough draft plan sounds like a good place to start. The less financially intensive it is (meaning manual labour) to start off with means more chance of it actually getting off the ground.

I do not know the country around Kabondo very well, but I assume it has adequate rainfall and water resources, for growing, but also for the processing of the fruit?

Mel

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Hi Melissa and Mary,

Thanks for your comments.

Mary: I think it would be much more interesting to have the community producing the oil than selling the avocados because that is where I belive the added value of the project will come.

Melissa: The main reason why we proposed to start discussing this project was that during our visit with Barb to Kabondo we found out they have a good production in the area and that together with other region, the Kabondo region is the only one in Kenya that has such a production.

My recommendation once Eric decides whether this is a good way to go is to carry out a couple of pilot projects at a kitchen scale to see if the process works.

I have an idea. What do you think if maybe both of you Mary and Melissa try to carry out a similar experiment in your homes with the conditions I have mentioned to see how it works? Maybe in that way we can come up with more recommendations for the scale up of the process. I will try to do the same as soon as I get a chance and once I am more settled in my new place.

I think Eric and the community can do something similar.

What do you guys think?

Anyone else that would like to try the same at home?

Raul

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Hi Raul

May be able to give it a try, do you have any more detailed instructions?

Mary

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Hi Mary,

I just thought maybe it could be like a pilot kitchen scale trial.

- Get 4-5 avocados and take the meat out
- Then the meat needs to be macerated (can you think of something you would have in a kitchen to do this?. This is where we would need to be creative. At a industrial scale what you do is put pressure between two sections of material with holes that would only allow the oil to pass through and the "cake" to stay between the two materials). Avocados have around 10-30% oil content. Alternatively, it could also just be put in a blender. The separation process would take longer but it could be easier.
- Put the mix in a normal pot and try to add 4-5 times the amount of mix as water. Heat it at low-medium heat (just making sure it is not cooking but rather helping the separation)
- Since most of us do not have a centrifuge at home, you can just wait for the oil to settle for a couple of days and then separate with a spoon or something similar.

This would be like the simplest approach to get an idea of how that would work.

Things that could help as observations

- If you have a small scale, try to weight the avocados, just the meat and then the final oil to see the percentage of extraction that would be feasible and that could be comparable with what would be done at a larger scale

- If you have enough time, change the amount of water to see how that affects.
- Do the same changing the heating temperature.

When you do this type of experiment in a kitchen, there will be a lot of practical things that would come from the process and will be very helpful as learning outcomes to take into account prior to scaling up saving thus a lot of money and efforts.

Hope this helps and look forward to hearing if you and maybe more people give it a try.

Raul

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Thanks Raul

That all makes sense. Will try and give it a go sometime over the next week or so.

Mary

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