Compliance of small and medium scale pineapple processing enterprises with national and international standards in Rwanda

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Sokoine University of Agriculture


EXTENDED ABSTRACT Small and Medium Scale Enterprises (SMEs) processing fruits play an important role in the national economic development of Rwanda. Although these SMEs have received assistance from the government, they still face many constraints that hinder their development. For example, their access to both local and export markets is limited due to poor quality of their products. A study was conducted using a cross-sectional study design, to assess the compliance of the food SMEs with national and international food quality standards. A total of 16 small and 11 medium scale pineapple processing enterprises in the country were surveyed through interviews with enterprise managers using a structured questionnaire and face-to-face methods. Results revealed that there existed 27 pineapple processing enterprises, where 16 were small scale managed by women and 11 medium scale managed by men. The mean number of employees ranged between 7 (± 4.37) and 15 (± 6.68) for small and medium scale enterprises, respectively. Capital investment was estimated at less than US$10 000 and above US$25 000 for small and medium processing enterprises, respectively. Pineapple wine and ready-to-drink juices were the most popular products produced, sold locally and to neighbouring countries. Lack of entrepreneurial skills, high cost of water, electricity, high transport cost, limited knowledge and technical skills and inaccessibility to packaging materials and processing equipment were the major constraints identified that the food SMEs faced. Results on Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP) and Good Hygienic Practices (GHP) showed a lack of compliance with the standard requirements in the majority of both enterprise categories. None of the visited enterprises had clear criteria of the delivery procedure of raw pineapples and none had a signed contract with the suppliers, which led to uncontrolled primary production. The plant layout and design of both small and medium enterprises were characterised by insufficient number of working rooms and there was crisscrossing in the production line of 81.8 and 87.5% for medium and small enterprises, respectively. The clean and unclean sectors were only separated at 63.6% and 31.2% of the medium and small enterprises, respectively. Generally, the status of all enterprise categories, their surrounding areas and equipment were classified as unsatisfactory. The majority of enterprises did not have temperature and time control systems and for both enterprise categories, there was no clear plan for waste disposal and pest control. The findings of physico-chemical properties of products stored over a period of 12 months for pineapple syrups and jams and two months for nectars showed that all syrups, jams and nectars had pH ranging from 3-5, the normal pH range for fruit products. The levels of titratable acidity of all products were below the maximum limit of 1.35% set by Codex Alimetarius Commission standards (CAC), East African Standards (EAS) and Rwandan Standards (RS). Similarly, their levels of ethanol were less than 0.3% as recommended by the same standard bodies. Syrups and jams were stable for most of the evaluated physico-chemical parameters (pH, total titratable acidity, moisture, ash, fibre, total soluble solids) up to six months of storage. However, significant changes were observed from the ninth month of storage. Nectars were stable up to the end of the second month of storage, which was in agreement with indicated expiry date by most of the enterprises. There was a significant (p<0.05) decrease of sucrose and increase of reducing sugars in syrup and jam samples, from six month of storage. The levels of sucrose content ranged from 9.36 to 12.91%; 6.24 to 13.48% and 0.36 to 5.98% in syrups, jams and nectars, respectively at the initial storage time. The products were free from microbial contamination throughout the storage period. The sensory analysis findings showed that syrups were equally liked as the reference syrup and nectar, but jams were disliked by panelists while nectars were acceptable up to the end of the first month of storage. As the storage period increased, the mean scores for the colour and aroma preference decreased significantly (p<0.05). Results for heavy metal contamination showed that the mean levels ranged from 0.63 to 2.97 mg/l for zinc, 0.95 to 1.92 mg/l for iron, 0.74 to 3.50 mg/l for copper and 2.3 to 7.9 mg/l for aluminium, for syrups and nectars. They were within the acceptable recommended maximum standard values of 5 mg/l for zinc; 15 mg/l for iron; 5 mg/l for copper and 8 mg/l for aluminium in syrups and nectars. However, the levels of lead and cadmium were above the permissible values set by Codex Alimentarius Commission in these products. They ranged from 0.25-1.74 mg/l for lead and 0.21-1.23 mg/kg for cadmium. In jams, copper (2.04-6.33 mg/kg), zinc (0.82-3.55 mg/kg) and cadmium (0.31-1.46 mg/kg) concentration levels were also above the permissible values of 0.03 mg/kg for copper, 0.05 mg/kg for zinc and 0.01mg/kg for cadmium. Based on the present findings, a shelf life of six months for syrups and jams and one month for nectars processed in hygienic environment using food grade processing equipment is recomemnded for export market. However, the source of copper, zinc, lead and cadmium contamination should be traced in order to produce safe products. Processing enterprises need technical and financial support to overcome some of the constraints and be able to produce quality products that are acceptable in the local and export market.


Ph.D Thesis


Fruits processing, Rwanda, National standards compliance, International standards compliance, Pineapple processing, Smallscale enterprises, Mediumscale enterprises