Business case on RECP assessment in "Lukashin" Consumer Cooperative date: 2022-06-17

Business case on RECP assessment in "Lukashin" Consumer Cooperative

"Lukashin" CC was founded as a community-based small enterprise (SME) consisting of 42 farmers. Its main activity is the production of dried fruits of technical grade and quality (apricots, peaches, plums, apples, pears, figs, and grapes). The fruits are grown by farmers from the Lukashin rural community located in the heart of the Ararat Valley. The average production capacity is 14,000 kg/year of finished products (dried fruits) which are mainly consumed on the national market and partly exported to the Russian Federation and European Union countries. Motivated to achieve more energy-efficient production, the company participated in the RECP demonstration project under EaP GREEN (2013-2017). This publication shows the company’s experience reported after the monitoring exercise conducted in 2021, four years after the programme ended.

The RECP assessment examined the production site and identified several RECP options. The company then used a step-by-step approach to implement them from the chemical-free production cycle to improving the air circulation system and changing the technology for drying the fruits. This solved issues with the raw materials and reduced the consumption of water and energy whilst minimizing waste pollution. The gradual policy for implementing RECP started with low and medium-cost measures and finished by installing solar energy facilities in the process. The following RECP measures have been implemented in line with the RECP expert audits:
1. Implementation of good housekeeping to improve resource management
2. Elimination of chemicals and harmful effluents allowing wastewater reutilization։ Nitrogen is used instead of sulfur in product packaging (a new technique of packaging for preserving finished products). This substitutes the use of 25 kg of sulfur as a fumigation agent per year, reducing SO emissions and production costs. The elimination of caustic soda in the preliminary processing of some fruits has reduced the harmful effluents and production costs. Third-rinsing water is now re-used for the preliminary washing of raw material (fresh fruits). This resulted in a reduction of water consumption by 30% for the washing process. The wastewater is used for irrigation of the company’s infield and gardens.
3. Reduction of energy consumption by improving the processing technique/modifying the equipment։ By shortening the length/heights of the ventilation pipes (twice) the drying process was speeded by 20%, and energy consumption (electricity, gas) was reduced by 20%, overall. The installation of a two-tier electric meter, together with better controls to take advantage of the dual tariff, resulted in an 8% annual saving on electricity consumption. Three convective solar dryers and a solar water heater have also been installed, avoiding the use of non-renewable energy.
4. Utilization of waste։ The unavoidable plant waste (stalk, peel, pit, seeds, pulp), is used as fresh forage for livestock. The kernel of apricots is used, locally, in confectionery. Other agricultural waste is also utilized in composting.
5. Improvement of product marketability

Besides economic and environmental benefits, the RECP methodology brought forth improvements in the working practices and the overall image of the company. Lukashin CC started implementing RECP in 2014 with a focus on improving its use of resources to enhance the production technique and reduce energy consumption, whilst eliminating harmful emissions and effluents. The use of solar energy also became an important sustainable strategy for the company. The concept proposal developed by the RECP experts to incorporate solar heating technology allowed Lukashin CC to access financing through the Small Grant Programs supported by GEF/UNDP. This experience creates a precedent to replicate the technique with other producers of dried fruits and build capacities for a culture of "green" production. Moreover, the potential to extend the current PV solar capacity to generate an additional 14,995 kWh/year (10 kWp) has been assessed during the monitoring phase, constituting the next step toward reducing traditional energy dependency, in this case, saving an important portion of the company’s electricity consumption

you can download files