Hurricane Matthew hits Haiti

Hurricane Matthew swept across Haiti, devastating the western region, leaving a path of destruction in its wake and tearing apart homes and families.

The photo taken by a close friend of ours shows the true extent of the devastation. He also reported that the local people had no food or water and were resorting to drinking dirty contaminated water for hydration. Times are desperate.

Mera has decided to scale up operations in response to the crisis.

We have already delivered over 8 tonnes of SoyShake protein nourishment since the hurricane hit.

Distributing SoyShake to children in a rural school directly impacted by the hurricane

Distributing SoyShake to children in a rural school directly impacted by the hurricane

We have the Haitian logistical partners and technological capacity to produce and deliver over 40 tonnes of SoyShake and CSB per week.

The same bridge - before and after the hurricane hit

The same bridge - before and after the hurricane hit

What's Next?

We have a production team in Dominican Republic and have a team in Haiti ready to deliver product. Mera continues to seek and connect with humanitarian agencies with which to partner with to better support the relief effort. Combining our technical know how and production capacity with a relief organization's experience and logistical ability, we can successfully plan to provide nourishment for some of the worst hit areas in Haiti.

We have realized there is a need for more than just protein in these desperate situations. We have therefore utilized our technology to create a Corn Soy Blend. This is made up of 80% corn and 20% Soy. This provides the much needed carbohydrate requirement for those individuals who are severely undernourished.

CSB - porridge consistency

CSB - porridge consistency

Logistics - ready to go

Logistics - ready to go

For more information check out our video below.

School Feeding Program - Haiti

Our goal was to begin to provide the nourishment required to increase school attendance so that disadvantaged children can achieve their academic potential.

APJ were keen for us to provide SoyShake to their students

APJ were keen for us to provide SoyShake to their students

...and that's exactly what we did. Mera began deliveries to various schools in Haiti, in September, 2016.

We initially started delivering to the Artists for Justice and Peace Academies (APJ). This allowed us to demonstrate to various charitable organizations that we had a product that the children enjoyed, was good for them and that we could deliver on time. 

Food safe, waste-less, dispensing system

Food safe, waste-less, dispensing system

One of our greatest challenges was to dispense the product safely without the risk of contamination and without contributing to the huge litter issue in Haiti. We could easily deliver the product in plastic sachets but this could not guarantee safe consumption, as the child may walk away with it and consume it after exposure to bacteria. Also, each sachet could be discarded improperly and contribute to Haiti's litter problem.

We had to be confident that our product was consumed on delivery to ensure the food would not be taken away. Serving 600 students per day with safe food is a huge responsibility and one we take very seriously.

We designed a waste-less dispensing system. Where re-usable cups could be cleaned on site and we could guarantee the safe consumption of our product.

We recognized that beverage companies deliver large volume, dispensable liquid every day, so why not learn from them! We designed a safe dispensing system that delivers 400 servings, or 100 litres of product, at a time. 

We have also designed a Clean-in-place (CIP) system to ensure that we provide sanitary dispensing technology every day. This allows us to guarantee safe product right to dispensing point.

A bunch of happy kids!

A bunch of happy kids!

We now have a proven track record and have shown that we can deliver what we promise. We have also designed a successful safe and waste-less dispensing system to ensure safe delivery of product.

The product is enjoyed by the students and we hope to soon roll this program out to other schools in Haiti.

Community Feeding Program - Haiti

 
Our local logistics team

Our local logistics team

Distributing in reusable cups

Distributing in reusable cups

On September 15th, 2016, a presidential pass was granted to let us cross the border from the Dominican Republic in to Haiti with a truck fully loaded with our product. We had manufactured 4,000 litres of SoyShake, to begin a series of deliveries destined for community programs in Port-Au-Prince, Haiti.

The United Nations World Food Program had supported our efforts and provided us with security and safe passage from the Haitian border to the delivery point. The Haitian government was eager to see how our product was received by the local population.

They were not disappointed. The SoyShake was flavored with vanilla and sweeteners to give the locals a little something special and they absolutely loved it! It was an absolute privilege to see people enjoying our product and bringing huge smiles to their faces.

We have continued the deliveries from then until now. Each time becoming increasingly efficient in our processing, logistics in to and around Haiti, and delivering a consistent product, on time and as promised. Working in countries like Haiti doesn't come without its challenges, but we are now running a smooth operation as experience and familiarity with the people and the process enable an efficient procedure.

 

India Trade Mission

The AAHAR Food Show, Delhi, India, 2016

Showcasing our technology

Showcasing our technology

The AAHAR Food Show in Delhi provided an ideal platform from which to showcase our technology and product. The emerging alternative to dairy market in India is growing incredibly fast and for the past 5 years, soymilk has had a 17% - 20% growth rate year on year. The market potential is huge and this was reflected in the interest we gained at the AAHAR show.

The Canadian High Commisioner

The Canadian High Commisioner

We were welcomed to the show by the Canadian High Commission and the High Commissioner himself took a very keen interest in our technology. He recognized the importance of the cost efficiency in capturing market share in the extremely competitive and price sensitive Indian market.

Numerous organizations have shown a keen interest in both our technology and product and we look forward to pursuing these opportunities.

Watch this space!

Rome and Ethiopian Trade Mission

With additional support from STEP (Saskatchewan Trade and Export Partnership), we continued efforts to pursue our humanitarian objectives. We met and discussed further opportunities with key personnel from the United Nations World Food Program in Rome.

The meetings were a huge success and we have now developed a platform from which to move forward and continue our efforts to provide low cost nutrition solutions for individuals suffering from malnutrition.

Boardroom meeting with key WFP personnel

Boardroom meeting with key WFP personnel

The Ethiopian trade mission was a further extension of this program and we met with key country directors to establish the requirements of Ethiopia. Meetings were also held with government ministries, aid agencies, trade commissioners and ambassadors. 

On a commercial front we met with private sector companies that were delighted to sample our product and were blown away with it's taste and consistency qualities. The trade mission provided the opportunity for us to establish these commercial leads and we look forward to developing a successful business in Ethiopia.

STEP representatives at the WFP Headquarters

STEP representatives at the WFP Headquarters