Expert Engineers Build Impact on Farmer-to-Farmer in Kosovo

VEGA Member EWB-USA’s Engineering Service Corps (ESC) program draws on the expertise of the organization’s most seasoned volunteers from across engineering disciplines and industry sectors. Under USAID’s Farmer-to-Farmer Program in Kosovo, implemented through VEGA by EWB-USA, ESC is utilizing our network to support the commercial agriculture industry to be competitive nationally and to open export opportunities into the European market. Highlighted success stories to-date include:

Enhancing Dairy Operations with Improved Process Controls

Accurate data reporting and systems monitoring is a critical component in assuring machinery operates efficiently. EWB-USA’s volunteers provided Eurolona, a dairy processor, with a design for a control and monitoring system for its pasteurizer system. This control system will allow Eurolona to keep the logs and monitor the process of turning milk from local farmers into cheese, pasteurized milk and yogurt.

The project tapped the skills of controls engineer expert, Bill Sert, who developed this low-cost design as well as a completed bill of materials and commissioning schedule. Eurolona has moved forward with procuring the system, which will be installed and commissioned by an EWB-USA volunteer in early 2017.

A Sunny Idea that Boosts Smallholder Incomes

Ananas Impex, a Kosovo processor of red and black peppers, collects and dries local produce to be milled into Paprika. This project provided an engineering assessment and renewable energy design to reduce the company’s energy costs. By reducing its costs, Ananas Impex expects to increase its product margins and thus buy additional raw produce from Kosovo farmers at a higher price, which will contribute to their economic stability.

The EWB-USA team assessed four potential energy solutions with the recommendation of a “passive” solar energy system known as a Trombe Wall. This system preheats the air before it enters the dryer, thus taking the electric demand load off of the existing heating units.

At an estimated savings of €2,800 (roughly $2,918) per year, switching to a Trombe Wall would be a huge boost to the company’s bottom line and for local farmers. Currently, Ananas Impex is using all of the information provided by our engineers to apply for grants to implement the recommendation.

A Startup Takes the Table Grape Industry Head-on

I. Sefari, a 2016 startup in the agriculture industry, is Kosovo’s first table grape processor. EWB-USA provided design work for their processing site for cooling, packaging and storing table grapes. The objective of the design is to provide an engineering layout and cost analysis to assist with the purchase of specific pre-cooling equipment. Russ Zick, a long-time EWB-USA volunteer, completed an extensive design report that identified potential equipment suppliers. Based on the recommendations, I. Sefari bought the necessary equipment, which was installed late in 2016.

This project will give I. Sefari the opportunity to supply product that can be marketed both locally and for export. Expectations are that this new equipment will enable I. Sefari to cool and store more than 7 metric tons of table grapes during the 2017 harvest season.

Testing Water Quality to Improve Milk Production

In collaboration with The Kosovo Association of Milk Producers (KAMP), EWB-USA assessed the water quality of local dairy farms to determine how it affects the quality of milk. An EWB-USA water quality expert analyzed a group of 10 farms to understand the contaminate source and recommend best practices for a full scale assessment. The testing will be continued by trained students from the University of Prishtina. These efforts will be used to design an intensive training session with individual farmers on better hygiene and sanitation practices. These best practices will be developed into a simple training module to be rolled out in mid-2017 to the 6,000 small dairy farmers throughout Kosovo.

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