Haukur Hafsteinsson, embedded software engineer at Marel, explains how the road to making food proce..
“Buy local”, a cornerstone for Empas
20 Apr 2016
Local food production and employment is exactly what the Empas greenfield poultry project is all about with long-term support from Marel Poultry. Recently, this first professional poultry processing plant in The Gambia was officially inaugurated.
The Gambia is a relatively small West African country with a population of 2 million people. The Empas poultry processing plant is located near Banjul, the country’s capital, and the popular tourist coastal cities of Serrekunda and Bakau.
Produce your own food
The entire Empas set-up includes a parent farm, hatchery, breeders, feed mill and a processing plant - equipped with Marel Poultry systems. All facilities were newly built, which has resulted in the country’s very first professional, modern processing plant.
The EM Holding umbrella company is a social enterprise focusing on local food production and the employment of young people. “We need to be self-sufficient. If you consume food that you don’t produce, you’re entangled in a vicious cycle of poverty”, says Edrissa Jobe. Empas’ aim is to avoid imports in The Gambia by ensuring local production of enough chicken.
The main reason for choosing Marel Poultry as the one and only supplier for the processing plant was that the company could safeguard the highest standards and food safety.
All Marel Poultry
All systems in Empas’ greenfield plant, which has a capacity of 1,000 bph (17 bpm), and is prepared for 2,000 bph (34 bpm), have been supplied by Marel Poultry: from the semi-automatic first stages to cut-up equipment. Starting with the live bird handling crates, the broilers are hung in the shackles and pass through the water bath stunner, the automatic killing line – which is halal certified –, the scalder and the plucker.
The next step, evisceration, is handled semi-automatically, after which the spin chiller does its job. Marel Poultry equipment is also used for automatic by-product handling, like offal processing. For example, Empas uses a separator to extract the water from the waste.
Fitting the market
Since 2010 Marel Poultry has been working with Empas to develop the process from plan to execution. Area Sales Manager Ruud Berkers says: "We never deliver our equipment just like that. It is above all the added value we created, by offering our advice and support before, during and after installation. Good and reliable service is always of key importance. During those five years, we supported the entire roadmap with all of our knowledge and our 'think global, act local' approach. Our Project Manager has put great effort into assisting Empas in executing the process, taking every possible scenario into consideration.
Together with Empas, we could clearly define what kind of customized solutions and equipment would be best suited to the market. Focusing on the unique individual situation, we could determine the right combination of systems. This also meant keeping costs of ownership and maintenance costs as efficient as possible.”
The inauguration of the plant was a big happening. Vice President of The Gambia Dr. Isatou Njie Saidy gave a speech in the presence of all ministers of the cabinet. National musicians and dancers performed live at the premises of Empas, while the assembled national press broadcasted the event live on Gambia Television. During this official ceremony, Ruud Berkers presented the symbolic metal chicken to General Manager Edrissa Mass Jobe on behalf of Marel Poultry.
Moggie sold here
The end products of Empas Poultry are fresh as well as frozen chicken meat products with the brand name Moggie. They are distributed in the retail market, via supermarkets and restaurants. As the owner of most of the gas stations in The Gambia, Edrissa Jobe invented another smart way of distributing Empas’ products: in every Elton gas station shop you’ll find a refrigerator with Moggie chicken products, as well as a door sticker ‘Moggie sold here’.