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close this bookCase Studies of Neem Processing Projects Assisted by GTZ in Kenya, Dominican Republic, Thailand and Nicaragua (GTZ, 2000, 152 p.)
close this folder4. Case studies of small-scale semi-industrial neem processing in Kenya, Thailand, the Dominican Republic and Nicaragua
close this folder4.1 Kenya
close this folder4.1.6 ''Lessons learnt''
View the document4.1.6.1 Project concept
View the document4.1.6.2 Marketing and development strategies Project concept

The main problem during the development of the project was shortage of funds. The budget allocated for the development of the project (US$ 100 000) proved to be too low. It was foreseen that the money from sales would flow into the project activities. However, sales could not be started until the products were registered. Temporary registration was granted in March 1998, which was towards the end of the project. Thus, the budget was not sufficient to develop products further and to conduct more efficacy trials.

The successful completion of the project (Varela & Rocco 1998) was possible due to the backing of projects such as GTZ-IPM Horticulture, which funded students working on master's degrees on the efficacy of the neem products developed for the management of key pests of horticultural crops. The ICIPE-USAID Export Vegetable IPM Project conducted trials on crops covered by its programme (e.g. French beans, okra). The ICIPE Awareness Project tested the products developed by the Industrialisation Project on maize and banana. Similarly flowers, fruit and vegetable producers offered inputs such as staff and fields free of charge, out of interest in neem as an alternative to synthetic pesticides. Only a few trials could be conducted with governmental institutions such as KARI, due to the lack of funds. Saroneem Biopesticides Ltd provided staff, transport and postal and telephone communication, as well as laboratory facilities for formulating products. The managing director of Saroneem Biopesticides Ltd, Mr Rocco, gave his time free of charge during the entire duration of the project.

Seed collection was initially hampered by lack of confidence on the part of the collectors, who had previously not been paid for their seeds as promised. In some cases the seeds were not transported speedily enough and they became contaminated with fungus. These problems were, however, overcome after the initial collections. Unfortunately the project vehicle was stolen in Tanzania during a seed collection exercise. The seeds were later recovered but not the vehicle. Vehicles from ICIPE and from Saroneem Biopesticides Ltd were rented for further seed collection until the end of the project.

Some problems were experienced with the formulation of the products, for instance maximisation of oil extraction from seeds. When the seeds were not sufficiently dry, or when the spindle of the mill was worn out, a considerable amount of oil remained in the cake. This led to a reduction in the amount of oil available for formulation of Neemroc® and affected the quality of the neem cake-based product. For example, differences in the effects of different samples of neem powder on germination of tomato seeds are likely to be due to differences in the neem oil content of the product. It was thought that the oil content in the cake should not exceed 8%.

The project initially concentrated on the production of simple pesticides based on neem oil and neem cake, as these are the easiest and cheapest ways of getting neem pesticides onto the market. Neemros®, the neem cake-based product, proved to be inappropriate for use in large production areas due to its bulkiness and the processes involved before it can used for foliar sprays, namely extraction in water and filtering. If filtration is not carried out properly, the particles block the nozzles of the spraying equipment. Neemroc® is user-friendlier, as it can be mixed with water and sprayed immediately.

The registration of neem products took longer than expected. Data generated by the students could not be used until they had completed their thesis work. Additionally, some of the field trials were affected by low pest incidence due to unusually long rains during "El Nino" phenomena, especially in 1998. The labelling of the products caused considerable delays, as the labels had to be modified several times.