Name: Kevin Mis Solval
Current title/profession: Assistant Professor of Food Process Engineering at the University of Georgia
Current hometown: Griffin, GA
Name of project: Farmer-to-Farmer Latin America and the Caribbean
Location of the project: Guatemala
Organization that sent the volunteer: Partners of the Americas
The Farmer-to-Farmer Program provides support in several countries around the world, establishing different strategies on each one of them. In Guatemala, one of the strategies that the F2F program is working on during the 2018-2023 cycle is the Rural Enterprise Development, where the objective is to support the development, application, and expansion of commercial and technical agricultural capacities for smallholder farmers and agribusinesses to generate sustainable economic growth.
In Guatemala, one of the host companies that the Farmer-to-Farmer Program is supporting is Corporación ARSO “Lafinita Brand”, which produces rambutan, mangosteen, papaya, lime, coconut and pineapple. ARSO’s processing plant is located in Quetzaltenango, Guatemala. But due to changes on market demand, the company decided to investigate the processing of these products for shelf stability and quality. As a result of initial market research and attending nutraceutical ingredients fairs, the company decided to use spray drying technology to offer diversified tropical fruit powders and, in the long-term, dried vegetables.
The Farmer-to-Farmer Program wanted to support them in the start-up of an industrial section. The recruitment team started to look for a volunteer that could support them with technical knowledge and training, but at the beginning it was a real challenge. Few experts in spray drying technology exist in developing countries and the US. Thanks to the hard work of the recruitment team, we found Kevin Mis Solval, who volunteered with the Farmer-to-Farmer Program in Guatemala during January and February of 2020. He is a Doctor in Food Engineering (Biological and Agricultural Engineering), graduated from Louisiana State University. Currently he is an Assistant Professor of Food Process Engineering in the Department of Food Science and Technology at the University of Georgia. Curiously, Kevin is originally from Guatemala.
It was an amazing assignment where Kevin supported Corporación ARSO on several activities, some of which included: the setting up of the spray dryer machine and mechanisms, the company personnel was successfully trained on concepts related to the spray drying of fruits and the importance of properly cleaning the spray dryer and processing areas, three main spray dried food ingredients were successfully developed, including coconut water, lime and papaya powders. Also, the products developed were evaluated as ingredients in plain yogurt, smoothies and beverage drink mixes with excellent results.
Kevin inspecting equipment
As mentioned, it was a real challenge to find somebody for this assignment that could provide the technical support, but thanks to the recruitment team, it was possible to recruit Kevin and indeed he was an amazing volunteer. The people from Corporación ARSO are really grateful for him and the Farmer-to-Farmer program for the support provided.
Written by Partners of the Americas