|Case Studies of Neem Processing Projects Assisted by GTZ in Kenya, Dominican Republic, Thailand and Nicaragua (GTZ, 2000, 152 p.)|
|4. Case studies of small-scale semi-industrial neem processing in Kenya, Thailand, the Dominican Republic and Nicaragua|
|4.3. Small-scale industrial manufacturing of neem-based pesticides in the Dominican Republic|
FAMA (Fundacion Agriculura y Medio Ambiente) is a non-profit foundation which took over neem processing from the Instituto Politecnico Loyola. The neem products are distributed by an independent company called Exproeco (Exportadora de Productos Ecologicos, C.). The founding members of FAMA are the sole shareholders of Exproeco. The neem-processing plant of FAMA is located in San Cristobal, Ingenio Nuevo, near the highway to Santo Domingo, which is 28 km away.
The original concept was that the farmers' association should provide the processed neem raw material and in return FAMA would provide them with the neem pesticides for distribution to the association's members. This concept however failed. The association's members are prepared only to collect and process the neem raw material, not to buy and apply the relatively expensive neem pesticides. Due to the laborious process of preparing and applying aqueous extracts of neem kernels and the high labour costs, hardly any of the 200 cooperating farmers sustainably applied the method of NKWE.
As an alternative FAMA developed a close marketing relationship with a German importer of their products, who provide partial financing for developing and manufacturing neem products.
Abundance of neem trees
It is estimated that at the end of 1999 there were about 1 million neem trees planted in the Dominican Republic, which would result in a potential total yield of 4500 tonnes neem fruits or 562.5 tonnes of neem seeds. The high price (see below) of the Dominican seeds caused the manufacturer to look for alternative sources of the raw material which could be obtained from neighbouring Haiti, amongst other places.
Neem seed collection and wet processing in the Dominican Republic is organised by the farmers' association in the south of the island.
Three buying points for neem seeds have been set up (in Villa Fundacion, Ganadero Azua and Duverge) with assistance of the GTZ and the NGO "Deutsche Welthungerhilfe".
The centres are autonomous and run by farmers' associations. The seeds are dried again in the shade at FAMA. Since no artificial dryer is available (e.g. a solar dryer) there is a great risk that the seeds will start to mould in the humid tropical climate.
Women and children harvest the neem fruits, and depulp, wash and dry the seeds. Once or twice a week the seeds are picked up by a transport sent by FAMA. Originally the wet processing involved modified coffee depulping machines. It turned out, however, that the depulping machines damaged the neem seeds and eventually resulted in faster fungal attack.
Therefore depulping is carried out by hand. After depulping and washing the seeds are simply dried in the sunlight for three days. For further details see Chapter II.
Labourers in the Dominican Republic earn comparatively high wages of US$ 7-8/day. This factor, together with the rather inefficient depulping technique, leads to high prices for neem seeds of Dominican origin. Based on the prices for the Dominican raw material the manufacture of neem-based pesticides is not profitable under the present economic conditions.
The average distance of neem trees from the decentralised collection and buying points is about 0-5 km, and the distance between the buying points and the neem-processing unit in San Cristobal is about 120 km. About 1500 2 - 6-year-old neem trees grow around the collection and processing centre for neem fruits in Duverge growing. According to FAMA these trees produce 12 kg fruit per tree and it is expected that the yields will increase to 20 kg/tree in 2001 (total amount of neem seeds: 306 tonnes). According to the experience of Leupolz it is unrealistic to expect that all fruits from a particular tree can be harvested. It is more realistic to expect a yield of about 4 - 5 kg fruit per tree.
The distance from San Cristobal to Haiti (Double Harvest) is about 320 km.
Description of FAMA's neem-processing pilot plant in San Cristobal and processing steps:
For a general description of the technology see Chapter II.
The raw material (such as dry neem seeds, amongst other things) is stored at the processing unit.
Production of ground neem seeds
Neem seeds are milled in a hammer mill (maximum capacity: 500 kg/h). Afterwards the seeds are packed in polyethylene bags of 50 g, 250 g, 1 kg, or 2 kg size, which are then sealed and packed in cardboard containers.
Production of neem oil
Neem seeds are decorticated in an electric thresher and afterwards pressed in an oil expeller ("Comet", from the Monforts company, Germany). Two kg of neem seeds results in 1 kg neem kernels after the shells are removed. After a first pressing 1 kg of neem kernels produces 260 ml oil and 740 g neem cake. For producing 1 l neem oil approximately 4 kg neem kernels or 8 kg neem seeds are required.
Additionally FAMA imports neem oil and blends it with the locally produced one. Afterwards the oil is bottled and packed in units of 50 ml, 100 ml, 1 l or 200 l.
Manufacture of formulated neem oil
The following ingredients are used to manufacture 1 l formulated neem oil:
· 500 ml raw neem oil
· 50 g Tween 60
· 50 g Nonil Fenol 9
· 50 ml isopropyl alcohol
· 350 ml distilled water
The mixing of the ingredients results in 1 l formulated neem oil, type ACE-Nim EC, with an azadirachtin content of 0.05%. The mixing of neem raw oil, emulsifiers and water takes place in a stirrer which takes 1 h for 100 l solution. Afterwards the oil is bottled in 100 ml, 1 l, 3,5 l and 200 l units.
Manufacture of neem cake
The press cake is a by-product of oil pressing. The cake is processed in a hammer mill and afterwards packed and sealed in plastic bags of 20 g, 250 g, 1 kg and 2 kg.
Summary of the calculation:
After depulping and drying 100 kg neem fruits results in 12 kg dried neem seeds with a moisture content of 8%. Threshing 12 kg neem seeds results in 6 kg neem kernels. This
6 kg neem kernels produces about 1560 ml oil and 4440 g neem cake.
There is no laboratory in the Dominican Republic which is able to carry out analysis of azadirachtin content. In the past some analysis has been carried out abroad to check the quality. Today quality control is therefore mainly a check on whether the product is free of impurities and whether the quantities are bottled correctly.
Registration of neem products
The legal regulations on the import and handling of pesticides are laid down in the regulation no. 311 on trading of agricultural inputs and produce and extended by Reglement 1390, of 6 October 1972. The Secretaria de Estado de Agriculura (SEA) is the responsible national authority in the Dominican Republic and has for example banned the import of the "Dirty Dozen", the 12 most problematic pesticides.
For the registration of pesticides the following certifications are required:
· Certificado de Registro para la formuladora
· Certificado de Regencia
Furthermore, the chemical composition and toxicity of the product are checked. In the Dominican Republic only the formulated neem oil requires a registration; registration is not required for ground neem seeds or neem cake.
For export FAMA requires registration of the products within the importing countries - which as yet it has either not applied for or has not received. This is a major constraint on the export of neem pesticides. Although FAMA's neem pesticides are cheaper than competing neem products, authorities often impede the import or delay it especially when other neem pesticides are registered in the country. The lack of registration and the increasing enforcement of plant protection regulations indicate that FAMA will be more restricted to the national market in future.