China Calling (August)
China is one of the main growing areas in our ingredient category, serving as the first part of our supply chain. While all ingredients are processed at our finished goods manufacturing center in Illinois, our office and partners in China are an integral part of Silva. Each China Calling newsletter contains the latest updates from the field.
Weather Changes Affect Crops
Over the last few years, many parts of the United States have experienced significant shifts in weather patterns, resulting in severe weather that has had, in some places, devastating effects. China has also been experiencing changing weather patterns that are causing our partners to adjust their practices to ensure that we continue to deliver fresh, high-quality ingredients.
In the image above, a dried up reservoir in Yunnan province shows the effect of the drought in that region. Over the last five years, rainfall has been down every year, as shown in the chart. The main crop currently being affected by the decreased rainfall over the last several years is chives.
Integrated Pest Management in the Field
For over six years, Silva has been promoting the use of Integrated Pest Management (IPM) techniques with our partner growers in order to more effectively control pests that could destroy or hamper crop growth.
Silva is installing a few ladybug houses in areas where they can have a very beneficial impact on the number of aphids that attack young crops. Each ladybug can eat in excess of 60 aphids per day, reducing the need to apply chemicals in some instances.
After two months of this practice, Roger Clarke, Silva’s International Quality Director, and Rodrigo Nunez, Silva-China QA manager, inspect the ladybug houses in the fields (above, right). They found the houses occupied, which was an encouraging sign after such a short time in this practice.
Sharing Water Management Techniques
As part of Silva’s efforts to educate farmers on the correct procedures for water management, pesticide usage, bio-diversity, and other sustainable aspects, Rodrigo Nunez (right) explains the benefits of moving to alternative irrigation techniques to a few of our farming partners.
Above right, Roger Clarke talks to Rodrigo Nunez and Yang Jian, of the Silva-China quality team, about the planned planting base development for 2013. The map will allow for better understanding and monitoring of the crops and all agricultural activities for the coming season within the region they manage. This sort of attention to detail is what sets us apart ... and why you can have confidence in our ingredients.
Safety is a Key Focus
We’re also concerned about the farmer’s welfare. Education programs from Silva-China personnel, through workshops and raw material development audits, provide training on the use of farming equipment and supply protective clothing to those farmers that need it the most.
To the left we see Rodrigo Nunez and Yang Jian demonstrating the use of protective clothing required for the application of plant protection chemicals with the final outcome at right—gorgeous.
Raw Material Partner Development
As selected raw material facilities upgrade their processing, Silva team members provide advice and support on the design, development, installation, and operation of new facilities.
At left, we see Zhang Li of the Silva-China QA team talking to a raw material partner and thanking them for following our design request, ensuring that both electrical and water services are relocated overhead. This makes maintenance and cleaning easier, and also reducing tripping hazards.
To the right, Yang Jian of the Silva-China QA team talks to a facility manager above about the control system required to ensure that the primary wash tank, used for dumping raw materials into the processing system, is properly managed and maintained.
Silva often works together with select partner facilities for future process development as well. Earlier trials in 2012 have resulted in a new piece of equipment, above, being installed, to be ready for the coming dehydration season. At every step along the way, we are working to deliver the highest quality ingredients, both now and in the future.
The picture to the right shows one of the government development programs. The model is of a city extension plan in Inner Mongolia. It is part of the government’s ambitious plan to develop many cities in China. By 2030, it is estimated that one billion people will be living in cities. The plan appears to be based on providing better services to Chinese nationals—by ensuring they have the basics of clean water, constant power supplies, access to hospitals etc. This of course will mean that millions of people will relocate out of rural farming areas.