With the growing unemployment among the youth today, house hold cottage industry development and food value addition are increasingly becoming important as possible control measures to curbing unemployment. The world is endowed with a range of crops for example fruits, root crops, cereals, tubers etc. and particularly the fruits ripen at different times of the year and contribute to a lot of house hold well-being both nutritionally and economically. Value addition not only looks at crops value addition but also other non-farm cottage industry development to provide options to people and promote SMEs.
Value addition is adding value to farm produce by transformation of garden produce from raw materials into processed products that have a long shelf life. The farm produce that can be processed include crops and livestock.
Crops: Tubers, fruits, vegetables and crop wastes.
Livestock; Meat, milk, eggs, fish and livestock wastes.
Importance of food processing;
- Increasing the shelf life of farm produce.
- Ability to charge a premium price for products compared to raw products.
- Easy to transport and maintain its quality than raw products.
- Reduce food wastage on farms.
- Source of increased income generation for farmers.
- Helps to increase the export variety.
- Establishment of cottage industries reduces unemployment in countries.
- Helps to facilitate storage at bumper harvest to get better market value of produce.
- Addresses food security challenges during periods of scarcity throughout the year.
- Helps to maintain the soil fertility in the area since the wastes are recycled.
Important components of food processing:
- The personnel involved; The workers should be healthy without contagious diseases, dress appropriately for work, wash their hands and keep short finger nails etc.
- The tools and equipment used; The tools should be compatible with the food in question, checked well to ensure they are fragment free, wash them before and after use, store them in a clean environment.
- Working environment; Keep the food processing area clean and not near a decomposing area as it may breed flies and germ, no easy access to visitors and avoid working in a dusty environment.
Components of a cottage industry;
- Processing room. This room should preferably be cemented for easy cleaning and have a ceiling as a way of controlling insects and lizards which may contaminate our food.
- Should also have a room outside for storing fresh fruits.
- Should also have a peeling table, slicing, pulping and sieving table, pasteurization room etc.
- Toilet and wash rooms. The processing place should have toilets located some meters from the cottage industry, should always be closed or cover the pit in case of a pit latrine.
- Dressing room. Should have clean dressing rooms for both men and women.
- Water source. There should be an accessible and readily available clean water source as some water sources are not hygienic and not suitable for food processing.
- A source of light. The processing place should have access to both natural day light eg windows fitted with wire mesh and covered bulbs just in case they break not to drop into the food as this will allow the industry function at all times of the day.
- Outside environment. The outside environment should be well fenced to keep out undesirable intruders and maintained with vegetation to avoid dust contamination as well as having two waste disposal units for both bio-degradable and non-degradable waste.
Anything that causes harm to our health when consumed in food is a food hazard. Food hazards include bacteria, metals, drugs, food colors, viruses, fungi and chemicals.
Sources of food hazards:
- People with dirty clothes and un-washed hands.
- A contaminated environment with dust, chemicals.
- Equipment that is not compatible to food in question, dirty equipment and broken fragments from tools.
- Un-safe water for example rain water running off dirty roofs and sharing water bodies with animals and chemicals in water.