Food Processing Through Innovation in Rural Areas

ESCWA  Technology Centre
ESCWA Technology Centre ESCWA Technology Centre • 17 March 2022
The processed food sector is one of Jordan's most important economic sectors, and it has made significant contributions to Jordan's economic and social growth. Food processing is a centuries-old cultural activity that ranges from processing dairy products (yoghurt, butter, jameed) to pressing olives for olive oil. Many MSMEs, particularly in newly urbanized and rural regions, are built around traditional food processing skills. Because these traditional skills are mostly passed down via women, several national programs addressing female empowerment and rural development have included an emphasis on food processing. One of these MSMEs that we will focus on in this article is Basita company.
Basita Co. Ltd is a small-scale food processing enterprise in Jerash, Jordan, that produces canned food, frozen and dried fruit. They specialize in producing innovative, all-natural products under the brand name Tuneib.
Basita's Products
Basita focuses on protecting the environment and using natural, environment-friendly ingredients and raw materials. Their number one priority is quality and not compromising it during the process. It is also worth mentioning that Basita provides job opportunities for women in the Jerash region and neighboring villages with relatively high wages.
According to Jordan’s Food Processing Sector Analysis and Strategy for Sectoral Improvement study, the company generates a yearly turnover of USD 1 million from vegetable conserves in glass jars and bulks, e.g., dried tomatoes, capers, olives, various dips, pastes, etc. And that the company’s turnover growth rate over the past few years has always been around 50% to 60%. They also export products to neighboring countries, Europe and the US.

 

Basita's Employees
 
The company has farms that provide raw materials that are both organic and ISO 22000 certified. This definitely cuts down on their raw materials costs. However, they still go through some challenges that cause some limitations for them in the competitive industry.
Some of these challenges are:
  • Lack of loyalty amongst the employees, which leads to a high turnover of the workforce
  • Harvest season only lasts a few weeks, which leaves the women in the region with fewer job opportunities.
  • Very high electricity bills due to the need to pump water upwards from Jordan river and its feeder.
These challenges cause the company to have a less competitive advantage in the markets abroad and render the company’s products more expensive compared to competing products from other countries around the world. However, the company does its market research to stay afloat and supplies a big, processed food producer in Amman (KASIR) with spices as topping for hummus products.
It is very essential for local businesses to be able to help them by being aware of their highly-appreciated efforts and contributions to the country, promoting their products, and showing up to the food fairs and exhibitions they conduct to spread the word about their business.
 
 
Link of The Study
Basita's Official Facebook Page