Cover Image
close this book FOOD CHAIN No. 1 - November 1990
View the document GREETINGS
View the document Cassava: processing a neglected root
View the document News Lines
View the document Making sweetmeats using soy
View the document Fish smoking: testing technologies
View the document A question OF FOOD
View the document Marketing snack foods in Asia
View the document BOOK LINES
View the document Small-scale equipment
View the document How to make Murukku
View the document Acknowledgments

FOOD CHAIN No. 1 - November 1990

A new journal about small-scale food processing





If you are working with small-scale food processing at any level in developing countries then Food Chain has been produced for you!


Front cover Herb drying in Peru. © IT/Paul Harris.

Food Chain aims to provide practical and appropriate information, ideas and experiences useful for small-scale food processors. Your experiences, ideas and information on production techniques, packaging, equipment, marketing and training will form the basis of future issues. Contributions are welcome in the form of articles of about 1,000 words plus line drawings and photographs where possible.


Winnowing mug bean harvest in South India.

Through the provision of information and training, the Intermediate Technology Development Group (IT) supports government and non-government organizations working with small-scale producers. In partnership with local organizations, IT aims to demonstrate that small-scale crop and food processing enterprises run and controlled by poor people can be profitable and sustainable.


'Food Chain is an opportunity for you to share information on small-scale food processing with fellow workers ground the world.'

Many people have information about their work which may not be complete but could be very valuable to others. Food Chain is not the voice of IT but an opportunity for you to share this kind of information with your fellow workers. Opinions expressed in contributory articles are those of the authors and not necessarily those of the IT Food Processing Programme.

There are many publications on food processing but Food Chain is different - it is a way to exchange useful information and experiences about small-scale crop and food processing. This first issue has been distributed to more than 200 people and organizations in Africa, Asia and Latin America, and our hope is to publish articles and a directory of organizations with information and expertise in these areas for you to contact directly.


Food Chain will be produced in March, August and November and the subscription for 3 issues is £9.00. Please return the subscription form enclosed with payment to ensure receipt of future copies. If you are unable to pay then please complete the subscription form with your details so we can enter this information onto our circulation list.



Cassava: processing a neglected root

'Cassava means food, forage and income for 750 million people worldwide - yet for millions more it is still a relatively underused crop.'

Marketing is often the most difficult part of a development programme. © IT/Paul Harris

A summary of an article by John Greenwood, Ecuadorean Cassava Project, c/o Apartado 390, Esmealdas, Ecuador, which first appeared in the AT Journal, Vol 16, No 2.

Cassava means food, forage and income for 750 million people worldwide - yet for millons more it is still a relatively unknown and under used crop found in the tropics and sub-tropics throughout the world. Cassava, known as yuca in Latin America, is grown for its edible roots, which are often large and heavy, and can be harvested individually over a period of time without damaging the living plant.

Traditionally cassava was a poor person's crop. Nowadays, as rural to urban migration thoughout the Third World continues and subsistence farming is losing out to large-scale production, cassava may be regarded as an unprofitable crop. This article, however, describes a project which has developed with the active participation of small farmers, and outlines how they have managed to improve the production, processing and marketing of this humble crop.

In 1981, a pioneer project was set up in Colombia to involve small-scale producers in the processing of cassava. This led to the start of the Ecuadorean Cassava Project under the auspices of CIAT (Centro Internacional de Agricultura Tropical).

Four years later, following major studies on the potential for the agro-industrialization of cassava, a small-scale experimental processing project began in Manabi Province on Ecuador's Pacific coast, where cassava has always been of both local and national importance. The project relied on the sun-drying of chipped cassava, first on concrete drying platforms, and later in drying trays in order to dry to the necessary 12 per cent moisture content and to minimize contamination.


This pilot project spread in 1986 to Esmeraldas Province, north of Manabi, through the intervention of ECAE (Equipo de Capacitación Agricola de Esmeraldas - Esmeraldan agricultural training team ). ECAE put up the risk capital and promoted open days to let local farmers try drying cassava for themselves. All the farmers involved already grew cassava before the project started, but were finding that sales of fresh cassava could not guarantee them sufficient income. With the worsening economic climate in Ecuador small farmers were looking for new markets for existing crops.

The main product of the cassava projects is cassava flour, which is sold to animal-feed companies in (Guayaquil and Quito, and is increasingly being substituted for imported wheat. Apart from being cheaper, it is twice as effective on a weight-for-weight basis as a binding agent for the ingredients used to make pellets to feed prawns. Ecuador has in recent years been the world's number one producer of export-quality prawns. For many years prawn exports have been second only to petroleum products as the country's major dollar-earner. The cassava chips need up to four days to dry completely, they are then finely milled, bagged and shipped as quickly as possible to Guayaquil.

One future plan is to produce an animal feed made from local raw materials to supply the markets in the area for pigs, chickens and rabbits, etc. It is highly likely, however, that the bulk of the dried cassava will continue to be sent to the large-scale mills based in Guayaquil for incorporation into prawn feedstuffs.

'One of the avantages of building small processing plants is that they can be used for many different purposes: drying floors become dance floors, the office becomes a meeting room for the village and the barn becomes a safe place to store crops temporarily.'

Map of South America showing Ecuador




Marketing, probably the most difficult part of any development project, is carried out in a highly organized way by UAPPY ( Union of Associations of Producers and Processors of Yuca). It is UAPPY which takes on the marketing, provision of courses, bulk buying of materials and machinery for its member groups, and - most of all - fights to keep prices high and rising. Each APPY owns a chipper and a mill, which are now built in Manabi, with only the motors imported from abroad; each also owns a drying area, barns and offices. This is where most money is needed for investment. It is hoped that the carefully built infrastructure will last 20 years or more, and also as time goes on, will be used for drying other crops such as coffee, maize and peanuts.


One of the advantages of building small processing plants in rural areas is that they can be used

on almost a daily basis for many different purposes. For example, the slightly sloping drying floors become good dance floors, the office serves as a meeting room for the village, the barn becomes a safe place to store crops temporarily (most farms in Ecuador do not have even short-term storage facilities) and the new wells become village meeting points. Women are increasingly joining the APPYs even though processing is traditionally undertaken by men.

The possibility of further processing cassava to make starch for domestic bread-making is being explored. Bread-making is traditionally a woman's activity, and a new APPY comprised entirely of women is being formed to undertake the starch processing.

Once an APPY has a sizeable amount of cassava flour ready, contact is made either with the UAPPY office in Protoviejo, Manabi or through ECAE. Trucks are then sent to a central point for collection with all the necessary forms completed, and often a member of UAPPY accompanies the driver to the factory in Guayaquil, where the shipment is handed over after weighing and the signing of documents. The UAPPY in Manabi normally takes 4 per cent to cover its marketing costs. The balance is then handed over to the individual APPY, where it is used for the purchase of more fresh cassava from members or non-members and payment of wages and so on.


Cassava roots can be harvested individually oves time without damaging the living plant.

'Co-ordination and information exchange have been characteristics of this project from the beginning.'

At the end of the processing season, when the final profits are worked out, the profit-sharing scheme is then implemented. Out of the profits, 40 per cent goes towards reinvestment in the APPY (new buildings, drying platforms, etc.) 40 per cent is shared out amongst the members of the APPY, according to how much time they have donated to the organization during the processing season; 10 per cent is put into a savings account in the bank as an emergency fund; and the remaining 10 per cent is used as an educational and administrative fund which is used occasionally to pay an accountant, buy a typewriter, or equip the office. The scheme has worked exceedingly well to date, and in the early years, the APPYs frequently reinvested 80 per cent of their profits, according to local need and decisions. The people chose to invest in buildings, drying trays and floors, and even in land in one case - a sure sign of confidence in the project.

Some key points in the organization of the project have contributed to this success. The formation of an inter-institutional committee with representatives from the state, international organizations, farmers and NGOs has meant that co-ordination and information exchange have been characteristics of this project from the beginning. The APPYs have local control and the overall marketing is carried out by the UAPPY.

Paramount to the success has been the participation of the farmers themselves and their keenness to try new ideas and make suggestions. Debate has at times been heated, but always constructive. The farmers gave freely of their time, materials and knowledge once they realized that the project was basically controlled by themselves through the UAPPY; in Esmeraldas, campesinos have even written three songs about the project and what it has meant in their lives.



News Lines

Step-by-Step Leaflets

Guava juice, banana sweets, soy sauce, dried fish, pickled mango, and coconut oil are just a few of the products included in a series of leaflets produced by the National Science and Technology Authority in the Philippines.

Appropriate Food Technology Panel

In 1990 IT established a joint panel with the Institute of Food Science and Technology (IFST). The objective of the panel is to promote an interchange on technical matters related to food technology and processing in developing countries. Many of the panel members are based in universities and thus are able to assist IT in researching specific areas.

The panel meets every quarter, and the last two meetings were held at Oxford Polytechnic and the Humberside College of Further Education respectively. The theme of the Oxford meeting was Improving the quality of imported spices.

The interesting points that came out of the meeting were that quality control is very difficult to guarantee and there is a long chain of handlers with poor communication between the producer and the end user. Spices are regarded as a minor export crop and few countries give adequate technical advice to the producers. The middlemen exploit their position to maximize profits by adulterating the final product - hence many people only buy whole spices which reduces the need for cleaning and eliminates the chance of adulteration.


This leaflet on Tomato Catsup is an example of the layout. The ingredients and equipment required are listed, the process is clearly illustrated step-by-step, and the explanatory text written in Tagalog has been translated into English. If you would like to receive a copy and translation of any of these excellent leaflets write to IT.

NSTA Appropriate Technology Programme leaflets are available for the following processes:


puree, catsup, powder, juice, paste, minced, whole, candied.


maize, rice, mungo bean, soy bean


kalamansi ( lemon ), guyabano, papaya, mango, pineapple, guava, orange.


papaya, pineapple, sayote, camias, banana, mango


puree, chutney, juice, jam, sweet/sour, spiced/pickled, green, halves in syrup.


protein concentrate, salted, dried.


oil, nata de coco, pretzel.


corn mungo crunchies, rice mungo snack, coco chips.


pineapple syrup, pineapple in syrup, fruit cocktail.



Making sweetmeats using soy

An article by Abu Ahmed Shamim, from Gono Unnayan Prochesta (GUP) in Bangladesh

'Darker coloured sweetmeats made with 30-35 per cent soy milk were indistinguishable from those with cows' milk, even by experienced Karigors.' Sweetmeats on display.

© IT/Mike Battcock

The partial substitution of cows' milk by soy milk reduces the cost of producing sweetmeats without reducing the quality, and makes valuable milk available for other uses, for example children's nutrition.

In a country like Bangladesh, where more than 60,000 tons of milk products were imported in one year (1987-88), and where 'entertaining foods' such as sweetmeats play an important part in the national diet, the potential for milk substitution is vast. In the three miles around the GUP office, 25 sweetmeat shops are using 1,200 litres of cows' milk each day; a 25-30 per cent replacement of milk with soy milk would provide enough of a market for a micro soymilk plant.

GUP's exploration of this potential began when workers of its Women and Children Programme, especially Mrs Biva Rani Biswas, tried to prepare sweetmeats with soy milk in place of real milk. They found, however, that the colour, texture and flavour of the products changed with the new ingredient, and customers didn't buy them.

In December 1989, GUP employed an experienced sweetmeat expert, Mr Kalipada Kundu, to prepare sweetmeats using soy milk. The project camouflaged the different flavour brought about by the soy milk by using hot water during the grinding of the soya, boiling the milk and adding a little cardamom. It partially solved the colour problem by treating the water with sodium meta-bisulphate, and in tests, darker coloured sweetmeats like Kalaja and Chamcham made with 30-35per cent soy milk were indistinguishable from those made with cows' milk, even by experienced 'karigors'.

White sweetmeats such as Roshagollah and Shondesh which contain 20-25 per cent soy milk are also being tested.

The new products using soy milk have been evaluated twice by sweetmeat producers around Rajoir, and in most cases, they could not tell the difference between the traditional product and the new product.

At present, dehydrated soy milk is being used but the project plans to introduce fresh soy milk as soon as it becomes available.



Fish smoking: testing technologies

A version of this article by Harmandip Sandhu first appeared in UNIFEM's Food Cycle Technology Book 'Although the Chorkor can smoke up to 15 trays of fish, in most cases women used only, 4 or 5 trays at a time because of the shortage of regular supplies of fish.'


The Republic of Guinea, in West Africa, with a coastline 300 km long, has good resources capable of supporting a mixed fishery. Artisanal fishing accounts for about 26,000 tons per year and a large part of this is processed by smoking, primarily done by women. However, because the methods used are traditional, they are labour intensive, and fuel and time consuming.

In answer to requests from the Republic of Guinea, UNIFEM provided funds for a project introducing improved fish-smoking technologies into the capital and two villages around Boffa in 1984. The immediate objectives of the project included regrouping 300 women into co-operatives for the processing and distribution of fish; introducing an improved fish-smoking kiln; improving working conditions; and increasing the productivity and revenues of the women.

Traditional smoking systems in Guinea consisted of 'open smokers' which were basically grills which consumed much fuel in their operation. The improved smoking technology introduced was the Chorkor oven originating from Ghana, where it had been widely tested and used, which is a rectangular clay brick oven with two openings in the front of the fire. The Chorkor presents a marked improvement in that it is a 'closed system' that is the fire is enclosed in a compartment in the bottom of the rectangular oven and consumes much less fuel.

The fish is placed on trays ( made of chicken wire) which are stacked on top of the oven. Up to 15 trays can be stacked on the oven with a total of between 100 kg to 160 kg of fish being smoked at a time.

As part of the project a group of eight project personnel including a carpenter and mason were sent to Ghana and Benin in order to familiarize themselves with the Chorkor and be trained in its construction, use and maintenance.

The project suffered a series of setbacks in its initial two years. The country's political situation had changed, resulting in a rise in the cost of living and materials for the construction of trays were not available in Guinea. In addition, most of the original members of the co-operatives were not traditional fish-smokers, and viewed the project as an opportunity to gain salaried employment rather than an opportunity to individually gain access to commonly owned facilities. This emphasizes the need for careful definition of criteria for the selection of beneficiaries before a project commences. The women did not have a regular supply of fish to smoke; in some cases women paid for transport to come to the centre because the fishermen, who, prior to the political changes had agreed to supply the centre with fresh fish, refused to provide fresh fish or would do so only at exorbitant prices which the women could not afford. Consequently the women resorted to smoking frozen fish. This in itself presents a contradiction because not only is the fish processed twice but energy is wasted as well.



Although the Chorkor can smoke up to 15 trays of fish it was noted that in most cases women used only 4 or 5 trays at a time because of the shortage of regular supplies of fish. In the interior of the country where fish is obtained from lagoons this shortage of supplies is caused by social factors; in some cases the fishermen sell the catch to any women who are able to buy even if the women are not their wives. These women then sometimes market the fish fresh. In other instances the fishermen may sell only to their wives, thus women entering into a fish smoking co-operative are at a disadvantage if their husbands are not fishermen. In a few cases in Guinea women supplied the fishermen with enough gasoline to pay for one fishing trip; in return the fishermen were obliged to supply the women with the entire catch from that trip.

Additionally there is increased competition among the fishermen with motorized boats and those with non-motorized boats. The latter are unable to get a sufficient catch each time as they can only fish at limited distances, whereas fishermen with motorized boats can provide fish but have to account for the cost of the motor and fuel, thus increasing the price of fish to the consumer. Technically, however, there is no doubt that the Chorkor is an improvement on the traditional model of smoker which suffers from the following problems:

• poor quality product due to fish being damaged by difficult handling of the fish on wire nets used to support them over the fire;

• loss of smoke and heat, resulting in uneven smoking;

• limited capacity of smoking larger volumes Of fish;

• time consuming in terms of the amount of time needed to handle the fish in smoking.

What the Guinea experience showed is that, while it is important to get the technology right, it is also important to get the context into which it is introduced right. If the social, economic and political conditions in a village do not allow the women greater access to a supply of fish, then the expense of an oven with greater productivity is not going to outweigh the disadvantages.

However, if the oven will reduce the amount of fuel needed, then the savings need to be examined in terms of women's labour and time. One reason for using the Chorkor was to reduce women's labour constraints but problems of manipulating the trays prevented this from being realized. While there are still problems with the Chorkor in Guinea, it has proved to be a significant improvement in terms of fuel consumption.


The Chorkor smoker, as illustrated in centre, contains two stoke holes along one side of its sides; the wooden trays stacked on top of the rectangular base can be alternated during smoking.

'Technologically, there is no doubt that the Chorkor is an improvement on the traditional model of smoker.'

In Togo, also in West Africa, the Chorkor was introduced in order to increase productivity and revenue and reduce the amount of fuel and labour required. The scale of the project in Togo was much smaller than in Guinea, although the impact was significant. The project initially constructed 12 Chorkor smokers at various villages along the coast. Since then between 50 and 80 additional Chorkor smokers have been built by women individually, indicating that the advantages of the Chorkor have been realized.

However, like the Guinean women, Togolese women are also suffering from an insufficient supply of fish, largely because there are no strong fishing traditions in Togo. Consequently the women have to rely on foreign fishermen, usually Ghanaians, and the supply of fish is sometimes irregular. Women whose husbands are fishermen do have better access to fish, if their husbands agree to sell their catch to the wives.

The replication of the Chorkor smoker is a positive result of the project, even though there are problems with accurate replication of the smokers. Where artisans (carpenter and masons) were trained to build the smokers, no problems were experienced, but in cases where the women themselves were building the smokers or hiring untrained artisans, the dimensions of trays, fire holes and smokers have been inaccurate, and this has resulted in trays being burned or fuel consumption increasing. The project recognizes that close monitoring of the spread of Chorkors is needed to ensure that they are correctly built and properly used.



A question OF FOOD

The following are a selection of the many technical enquiries about food that we receive at IT.

If you have any technical enquiries, please write to the Technical Enquiry Unit at IT. Enquiries of general interest will be published on this page in each issue of Food Chain.


Tomatoes grow all year but are very expensive (3 tomatoes for 50 db) for most of the year. In August and September they grow very quickly and the price falls (10 tomatoes for 50 db) at which point many remain unsold or untransported to market and are discarded. The Ministry is very interested in techniques to process the surplus for example tomato puree, sauce, soup powder, pickle etc. Because of the difficulty in transportation, small rural processing of the surplus may be possible. I would be interested in any specific ideas on tomato products but also in the wider aspects of setting up this type of business.

Mr A, Sao Tome and Principe

A number of products could be made locally. However, jams and sauces etc will require some form of packaging, preferably glass, and I would guess that given your geographical location, glass containers are likely to be unavailable or very expensive. Even if available from a market as second -hand containers they may still be prohibitively expensive. Tomato fruit leathers and/or dried and salted tomato balls may be your best alternative and reduce the packaging constraints.

I would suggest that the way to proceed is to ensure that you have a product acceptable to your local rural market, by doing some small-scale production runs and test marketing the products locally.


I am a volunteer who has recently become involved with a village where we are looking into the possibility of manufacturing soap on a small scale. We are trying to use local materials where possible, but we understand that one method calls for the use of tallow, which is unavailable on the Nevis. Is there any way we could produce tallow?

Ms C, Nevis, West Indies

Tallows are made from rendered animal fats, so unless you have a supply of animals for example pigs, sheep etc ora local slaughterhouse, you will either have to import tallow or dispense with it. Tallows are not essential for manufacturing soap, though their inclusion assists in producing a hard soap with good lathering properties. You could consider using coconut oil as a raw material, although this will produce rather a soft soap. However, you could use it in conjunction with tallow to offset import costs; this would produce an acceptable hard soap.


We are aware that unripe papaya produces a milk-like substance when cut which becomes a valuable commodity when it solidifies containing enzymes used in the manufacture of both medicines and beer.

We would like to know where one starts in actually producing papain (the enzyme).

Mr L, London

There is a book called 'A simple method of collecting and drying papaya (pawpaw) latex to produce crude papain.' available from the Natural Resources Institute, Chatham Maritime, Central Avenue, Chatham, Kent. ME4 4TB, England.

IT tried to set up a papain project but was unsuccessful. The trade in crude papain used to be quite extensive, but has decreased due to a better quality purified papain extract being produced in Sri Lanka and India; additionally the UK and European market has contracted due to EEC legislation restricting the use of enzymes in beer making.

There are additionally problems in collection and handling, particularly at a rural level. Exposure to crude papain causes a burnig sensation and medical treatment is necessary should it come into contact with eyes, mouth etc. Frequent exposure can lead to longer term allergic responses. To produce papain extract on a commercial scale would require around 100, 000 trees due to the small yields obtained per tree. This amount of trees in a non-estate situation would obviously be spread over a very large area, making collection difficult and costly. I would not be too optimistic about the prospects of succeeding with papain production.



Marketing snack foods in Asia

by Alex Bush, Ann Maddison, and Mike Battcock of Intermediate


Earlier this year women in Dhaka were asked about their attitudes to buying packaged snack foods. Traditionally these were made at home but with all the pressures on women's time the purchase of convenience foods is becoming more attractive. This is providing an opportunity for non government organizations ( NGOs ) to, support the poorest of the poor to generate income. However, reaching the markets is a constraint for many of these organizations. NGOs will have to change their marketing strategy and use the existing channels rather than relying on their own marketing channels.

Surveys in Bangladesh and Sri Lanka also revealed serious concerns over the quality of packaged snack products, and a readiness to, pay a premium for products that were known to be of a high quality. This means that, despite the fact that there are already many producers there may be room for more if they can appeal to the consumer on the basis of quality.


'The preparation of snack foods has traditionally been an activity of the poor... but this sector is undergoing rapid change in Bangladesh where some 6 per cent of the workforce in Manikganj were found to earn twice the average daily wage of construction workers.'

Packaging in Sri Lanka

© IT/Framework

Snack foods are an integral part of life and customs in Bangladesh and Sri Lanka. Certain snack foods play an important role in seasonal celebrations and festivals; others are available for travellers on buses and ferries and for children at school. In Bangladesh, snack foods play a larger cultural role in that they are given as gifts and are essential in entertaining guests.

The preparation of snack foods such as Chana chur (a savoury spiced mixture ), Mooa (puffed rice mixed with a local molasses and rolled into balls), Pitha (home made rice cakes), Murukku (sweet or savoury fried chips) and Thala karali (sweet sesame rolls) has traditionally been an activity of the poor. These food processing enterprises are particularly suited for the poorest of the poor because:

• products can often be made using equipment already available at the home which means little capital is required to establish the enterprise;

• women can prepare these foods at home which is more culturally acceptable,

• food processing activities can be 'fitted in' between other activities in the home.

This sector has been generally overlooked and underestimated. The Equity Policy Centre found that this sector employed 6 per cent of the work force in Manikganj, Bangladesh with average daily wages nearly twice those of construction workers. In some towns in Indonesia over a quarter of the workforce is involved in snack food preparation.


'In order to effectively market food, NGOs can choose between setting up alternative trading networks or "plugging into" the established distribution systems.'

The snack food sector is undergoing rapid change in Bangladesh. Relatively new products like rice flour noodles ( for example Fuji Noodles and Aladins' Chinese Egg Noodles) and Peanut Crackers have become very popular and are now reaching remote rural areas, and traditional products are being sold in new ways: packaged chana chur, small cartons of mishti dhoi (sweet yoghurt), and salted peanuts in aluminium laminate packages.

In Sri Lanka, snackfoods cover three main types: sweets, traditional snacks, and freshly cooked 'short-eats' ( snack meals ). The most significant changes are taking place in the popularization of traditional sweets/snacks in towns and the city by upgrading packaging and marketing, for example packaged dodol and murukku. With the escalating price of sugar, medium and large-scale industries are diversifying the range of sweets available. Now that greater emphasis is being put on using indigenous crops, there is a huge potential not yet realized in the more economical cereal snack sector. Unless the traditional producers adapt, they will find it difficult to compete in the new market for snack foods that is developing. New small-scale producers will also have to bear this in mind.


In Bangladesh the involvement of most NGOs with marketing has been minimal up to now, but if they are to contribute to the marketing of high volume products such as food, they have two options: the first is to set up an alternative trading network that delivers the products to the existing retailers; the second is to 'plug in' to the established distribution systems. It is therefore essential that NGOs working with these small-scale producers have a deeper understanding of the market and are able to predict changes.


The Market Research Company of Bangladesh has just finished a survey of packaged snack foods and spices in Dhaka which looked at traditional products like chana chur, biscuits, chira (fried flattened rice) and mooa.

The majority of the consumers interviewed (95 per cent) bought snack foods and bought them most weeks. The favourite items were chana chur and biscuits bought in 100g or 200g packets. The smaller packets were more popular because of their convenience but both the consumers and the traders expressed a greater concern for the quality of the ingredients than the quality of the packaging. So, work needs to be done on producing a quality product with packaging that can be recognized but does not have to be comparable to packaging of the large commercial companies. As the report stated 'providing quality is ensured the consumers are well disposed towards buying indigenous snack items in the future'.

A separate consumer study was undertaken in Sri Lanka by an independent market research company with the objective of finding potentially marketable 'new' products. The results showed that consumers wanted indigenous products in more convenient forms but the overiding theme was that they wanted guaranteed quality as they were afraid of adulterated food.

Production of snack foods provides an exciting opportunity for groups of poor people to generate income, and NGOs seriously interested in assisting large numbers of food producers need to give much more consideration to the problems of marketing, and must include appropriate costs.





The following books - all new publications for 1990 - are reviewed by Alex Bush, manager of IT's Food Processing, Bangladesh programme.

The books are available from the IT Bookshop, 103-105 Southampton Row, London, WC1B 4HH, UK. If ordering by post please make cheques payable to IT Publications Ltd. adding 20% for UK postage and 25% for overseas postage.


Michael W. Bassey, O.G.Schmidt, IDRC, ISBN 0-88936-539-3 Price: £6.75

A review of the development of small-scale abrasive dehullers in Africa. Includes descriptions of various machines, their design and principles of working, and has a welcome bias towards user needs rather than researcher priorities.


B.M. Watts, G.L. Ylimaki, L.E. Jeffery, L.G. Elias, IDRC, ISBN 0 88936 563 6, Price: £9.00

'There is no one instrument that can replicate or replace the human response' (from the introduction). This book describes the scientific use of sensory panels for the evaluation of foodstuffs.


Agrodok 36, AGROMISA/TOOL,

Price: £3.50

A technical source book covering milk as a foodstuff, its treatment, and the preparation of

cream, butter, ghee, yoghurt and cheese.


Adeyinka Onabolu,

UNICEF, ISBN 978 306 00 0 7,

Price: £1.50

Produced by UNICEF's Household Food Security and Nutrition Programme, this book outlines traditional methods of preparing sweet cassava and features recipes, which are accompanied by full colour illustrations, ranging from dried cassava flour pies, to coconut surprise.

Practical products

The Technical Enquiry Unit at Intermediate Technology continues to increase the number of technical briefs it holds and distributes, free of charge, to field workers. Examples

of the briefs they currently hold are:

AN /01 Biltong Production

CA / 01 Canning of foods

DA /01 Dairy Processing

DR /01 Small scale crop drying

FA /01 Design and construction of a building for food processing

FR /01 Fruit juice processing

NU /01 Peanut butter

OE /01 Principles of oil extraction

PA /01 Liquids filling and packaging

QC /01 Quality control procedures

SU /01 Honey processing

M1 /01 Food poisoning and its prevention.

A key function of Food Chain, it is hoped, will be to provide practical production information for various foods by acting as a communications channel for other organizations' literature. Many institutions offer small booklets and pamphlets of this type and Food Chain will make this information more widely available to its readers.

If you have any literature which you think may be of interest, and of use, to Food Chain readers, please send it in c/o the Intermediate Technology Food Processing team who will review and feature as many as they can on future 'Book Lines' pages.



Small-scale equipment

'Through the pages of Food Chain, readers can sincere their knowledge of small-scale appropriate

technologies which are useful in the work place or in the home.'



Hand-operated stone mill with interchangeable plates


Grinds any dry grain.

Metal plates can be attached to grind most materials.

Supplied by R & R Mill Company Inc.

45 West First North - Smithfield

UTAH 84335 USA





Fabricated from stainless-steel, the extruder consists of two main components: a hollow body fitted with an interchangeable die plate and a lid fixed to a movable central screw.

Supplied by Hardware shops throughout India





Can be fabricated from metal or wood, with either a fixed or interchangeable die plate. Construction drawings for both extruder types are available from ITDG

Myson House

Railway Terrace




Powered small impulse sealer


Machine consists of two heat scaling plates with a scaling length of 165 mm. Power consumption is 80w.

Supplied by

AI Packaging Materials Ltd

85-105 Stainsley Rd





Small scale rice/corn grinder

Output/hr. 80kg


Machine is fabricated from stainless steel and driven by a 1-1.2 hp motor. Uses a rotating abrasive wheel.

Supplied by

Almelda Cottage Industry 2326 S Del Rosano Street Tondo MANILLA Philippines



Foot-operated, seals polythene bags.


A lightweight and portable sealer, providing air and water tight lengths.

Supplied by

Agricultural Engineers Ltd

P.O. Box 12127





How to make Murukku

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How to make Murukklu, a rice or bean flour snack popular in Sri Lanka, by Ann Maddison, Intermediate Technology.


Rice flour (or black gram bean flour) 2/3 by weight

Chilli powder Salt

Coconut milk 1/3 by weight Oil (to deep fry)

Rice flour (or bean). If prepared flour is unobtainable, soak the rice in water overnight, drain and pound with pestle and mortar the following morning, separating as necessary to obtain a uniform fine flour. Roast the flour in a warm pan or in an oven. Mix rapidly to prevent burning until flour is slightly brown.

Coconut milk. Split a fresh, mature coconut in half by hitting it crosswise with a very heavy knife. When the clear coconut water has been poured out, the white coconut meat can be removed by grating. Mix tour parts of grated coconut meat with three parts of clean water. Squeeze or press the grated coconut to extract the milk and remove the majority of the coconut meat with a sieve. If more liquid is required the residual grated coconut meat can be soaked and pressed again, (Up to 4 times in total), using two parts coconut meat to one part water.

Oil. Heat the oil in a deep pan to 170 deg C.


Mix the flour, chilli and salt together thoroughly. Add enough coconut milk (approximately half the weight of flour) to bind the dry ingredients to a paste sufficiently wet to extrude, yet dry enough just to stop crumbling or breaking after extrusion.


Extrude the paste through a hand 'piston-type' mould (with a suitable die 0.5-lcm diameter circular/star shaped) into loops or sticks, into the hot oil (170 "C).


Fry the Murukku snacks at the correct temperature for a short time until crisp and golden in colour. Drain the snacks, preferably on paper to soak up excess oil.


If packaging, allow Murukku to cool to room temperature then use polypropylene or cellophane.






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