Big changes in management of food processing information
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CTA. 2001. Big changes in management of food processing information. Spore 92. CTA, Wageningen, The Netherlands.
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The traditional sources of information on small-scale food processing have been commercial (the manufacturers of equipment) and the information networks which operate question-and-answer services (QAS). Most QAS are now organised nationally and...
The traditional sources of information on small-scale food processing have been commercial (the manufacturers of equipment) and the information networks which operate question-and-answer services (QAS). Most QAS are now organised nationally and regionally, having been decentralised from, typically Europe and the USA to other, more in-touch centres of knowledge. CTA s own service, which was dominated by enquiries about food processing, is operated by partners in the Caribbean, Pacific and four regions in Africa. (Note that each CTA-QAS can handle other topics too!). Each new CTA-QAS is announced in Spore s Between Us section, and all addresses are in the CTA Annual Report (see Spore 87 and 93), available from the QAS desk at CTA, and on www.agricta.org. QASs on the move The few residual QAS in Europe have formed a functional consortium to direct queries to the most relevant response, under the label International Network on Technical Information (INTI). On food processing, one lead agency is the perennial Dutch NGO Agromisa, which is also shifting much of its work to new centres in the South: Agromisa, PO Box 41, 6700 AJ Wageningen, Netherlands; fax: +31 317 419 178; email: firstname.lastname@example.org . The other lead QAS agency on food processing was the 'Technologies Produits Alimentaires' programme of the French consultancy GRET: TPA, GRET, 210 rue La Fayette, 75010 Paris, France; fax: +33 140056110; email: email@example.com; Website: www.gret.org/tpa . However, early in 2001, GRET ceased to operate the TPA secretariat and its QAS, and halted its publishing work. The TPA programme will continue as a decentralised network with cells in several countries which have included Madagascar, Senegal and Benin in the past. TPA-GRET will continue to distribute existing publications, and is planning to launch an electronic newsletter. Both Agromisa and GRET have also provided some of the substance of the InPHo Post-Harvest information network which pools the experiences of the German GTZ and the French CIRAD with its hosts at FAO. InPHo, FAO, via delle Terme di Caracalla, 00100 Rome, Italy. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org. The well-respected ACOPAM, of the International Labour Office, ceased operation in June 2000. Its publications are available from former participants in West Africa, and from ILO. Get their addresses from ACOPAM-Employment, ILO, 4 route des Morillons, 1211 Geneva, Switzerland. Email: email@example.com. Full details on Website: www.ilo.org/public/ english/employment/ent/coop/ acopam.htm Much of ACOPAM s heritage has been carried forward by the many national West African partners of the well-established Procelos network for promoting local cereals. PROCELOS, 01 BP 1625, Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso; fax: +226 333 173. New stars The overall trend for food processing information services is to go national, serving only local farmers and traders, and often linked to national market information systems. This has the disadvantage, for the active information seeker looking for ideas and synergies from abroad, of creating more intermediaries than before. However, information middle-men and brokers have their uses too, and it is a question persuading them to hunt around for you! The most promising newcomer is the Strengthening African Food Processing Project (SAFPP). Since its launch in 1999, it has maintained its information output with a rare degree of perserverance and clarity that deserves to be continued, and emulated and replicated by others. SAFPP provides links to programmes, sources of information and finance, and market information throughout Africa and beyond (with a major focus on southern and West Africa). It has an impressive collection of local commercial contacts rather than just the subsidised sector. Being dependent on grants up to 2004 is one of SAFPP s two weaknesses; the other, which shows in some of its technological choices, is the familiar and transitional issue of, as a body based in South Africa, being able to flip between the mind-sets of the First and the Third World with more ease than many of its ACP partners. SAFPP, PO Box 395, 2000 Pretoria, South Africa; fax: +27 12 841 3726; email: firstname.lastname@example.org; Website: www.safpp.co.za Similarly promising but somewhat less proven is the Foodnet network operated by the Association for Agricultural Research in Eastern and Central Africa (ASARECA). Its current portfolio of research projects aims at encouraging market research and implementing commercial agro-enterprise activities, in partnerships with public and private enterprises throughout the region. This Foodnet is not to be confused with the thirty-or-so other Foodnet networks in the world, none of whom have understood that Rule Number Two when launching a new product on any market is to check out the uniqueness of its name! The Foodnet you want has an international mailing address: Foodnet, c/o Lambourn and Co., 26 Dingwall Road, Croydon CR3 9EE, England and a national fax: +256 41 223460; email: email@example.com; Website: www.cgiar.org/foodnet. A very lively service is provided (in English and Spanish only) in the commercial post-harvest sector by Poscosecha. com (meaning post-harvest in Spanish), which publishes an extensive International Directory of Post-harvest Suppliers in printed format ( 30) and on a Website (free). More for the commercial and cooperative sector than a household business, the directory is clearly organised and suppliers are listed by sector, by name and by country, including ACP countries. Ediciones Horticultura, Apdo de correo 48, 43200 Reus (Tarragona), Spain; fax: 34 977 753056; email: firstname.lastname@example.org; Website: www.poscosecha.com
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