News from the Silva-China Quality Control Team
Silva Plant Protection Program
Pictured to the right is Roger along with our company Agronomist, Jonathan Cai, who will be the person providing advice to our growing partners across China.
The needs for chemical application are very different across this region. In the northern areas where there are very harsh winters, few, if any, chemicals are required. Of course these harsh conditions also limit the amount of crops that can be taken from that region.
In the south where the climate is warm and humid all year around, the need for chemical intervention is more defined. Silva International has always been committed to using the minimum quantity of FDA approved chemicals wherever possible.
In addition, we have always been committed to using integrated pest management. We feel these non-chemical pest management practices are a much more sustainable approach to crop management.
The meeting with Bayer was established to see how they could play a role in our overall crop management program and protocols for the future. Topics such as active principle quality control and protection against fraudulent chemical distribution were discussed.
After the visit, Roger was quoted as saying "Bayer is a well respected chemical manufacturer and appears to have all the correct systems in place. The challenge is making sure that the farming community gets the correct advice from their local market and only uses the Silva approved methods."
With seven Silva Quality Control staff members permanently based in China, we are confident that we can communicate to all our raw material partners the importance of checking with their Silva quality representative before they apply any chemicals.
Team Building at our Silva-China Office
Silva continues to recruit and train Chinese nationals to help with the supply chain program when we utilize raw material throughout China.
With our main office in Qingdao, but several of the staff located in different regions, we felt it was time to get the team altogether to review our activities—but also spend some time away from the office as well.
For new Silva team members Jonathon Cai, Silva Agronomist, and Yan Junbo, Silva Quality Inspector, it was a chance for them to spend time with the full team and exchange ideas. It was also great to have Zang Li back with the Silva team, after the birth of son Maxi.
The team will be together again soon when we run our annual food safety workshop here for our various raw material partners.
Hands On Advice for our Raw Material Partner
Readers will remember from previous articles that we have been strong supporters of the Integrated Pest Management program, which adopts the principles of monitoring and reducing pest activity, using permitted chemicals only when required.
In these photos, Jonathan Cai, Silva agronomist, reviews the work he has done with a raw material manager.
As can be seen in the picture, Silva has designed a food safety program that must be followed in the fields. Our agronomist ensures that it is both followed correctly and that the correct documentation is kept.
Together with the partner’s field manager, pictured above, Jonathan is discussing the current pest issues seen and the effectiveness of the electronic fly monitor/catcher, along with the use of sticky traps.
Silva Raw Material Partner Facility Receives BRC Certification
As you've read in previous Silva articles, many of Silva's staff have been involved with construction of a raw material facility within Inner Mongolia, China. Over the last few years, construction of the facility was undertaken. The layout of the processing was studied to find the best process flow—along with the correct equipment for all the various steps in handling the fresh material and processing through this dehydration production process. Many people from Silva, including Alesha Benedict - Vendor Quality Assurance Manager, Roger Clarke – International Quality Director, and Rodrigo Nunez – Silva-China General Manager, have all spent many, many hours over the years to oversee the construction of the buildings, the installation and calibration of all the process lines, along with writing of the quality programs and management of the fresh raw material base.
We are happy to report that with the effort of our Silva staff, along with the effort of our raw material partner and his staff, this facility is fully operational and has also achieved BRC certification. We are happy to both bring this news to our customers—plus realize this end goal after many years of time and effort!
Continuous improvement is a constant at Silva. Even in new construction, this does not change. Therefore this facility will continue, along with our other raw material facilities, to adapt and make changes when needed. This year, we are seeing new environmental laws coming into place within China for better controls over pollution. Much of these new controls are first being introduced within the Inner Mongolia region. To this end, our raw material partners in this area are required to install a water purification treatment prior to releasing water used in the cleaning and washing processes back to the field or sewage system. Better enforcement of the environmental protection laws address both air and water quality and without changes, local authorities will bring non-compliance penalties. In the above picture, you will see construction of a new water purification system being put in place at this partner facility.