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Locally-driven co-development of plant-based value chains towards more sustainable African food system with healthier diets and export potential

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - InnoFoodAfrica (Locally-driven co-development of plant-based value chains towards more sustainable African food system with healthier diets and export potential)

Okres sprawozdawczy: 2020-08-01 do 2022-01-31

The main challenge is to improve the sufficiency of nutritive food for the African people when consequences of climate change hit hard the agricultural productivity. Farmers are powerless to turn the progression with present assets. In rural areas malnutrition is profound, while in urban areas risk of obesity and non-communicable diseases increase. Most African countries live on agrifood business, but food markets and trade do not function well. Especially for smallholder farmers is is difficult to access the markets and customers. Business is hindered by back-ward farming practices, lack of proper agricultural and entrepreneurial skills to increase productivity and commercialise the food produce. The gender gap falling on women and lack of prospect for youth are holding back progress towards ending hunger and creating meaningful jobs for these population groups. InnoFoodAfrica explores and improves the business potential of traditional African climate-smart crops for nutritionally balanced foods for African and European markets and for biomaterials for packagings. It supports development of resource-efficient, safe and sustainable food production value chains (VCs) by empowering smallholder farmers, other VC operators and consumers. It catalyses new local and international business opportunities in selected crop and packaging VCs. It focuses on country-specific adaptation and implementation of dietary guidelines on plant-based foods and diets tackling malnutrition of small children and obese adults. It targets the diversification of plant-based agrofood systems enabling nature-benefiting farming and production of African food, which forms a basis for a balanced diet. It develops safe and nutrient-dense food ingredients and foodstuffs, which fight back nutrient deficiencies and obesity, taken into account both infant and adult consumer segments. It focuses on increasing resource-efficiency by improved post-harvesting and storage practices, and developing packaging materials from crop side streams to replace fossil-based alternatives. InnoFoodAfrica supports establishment of a pan-African food RDI community via cooperation and creation of an open Innovation Platform, and it contributes to goals of the EU-Africa Research and Innovation Partnership within FNSSA and cooperation with ongoing projects in the subject area to share innovations, maximize communication and facilitate knowledge sharing.
InnoFoodAfrica has trained experts in consumer and sensory testing of food products. Training sessions are available on It has compiled a VC and market survey for the selected crops in Ethiopia, Kenya, South Africa and Uganda. It shows how food and bio-packaging products, services and their value are created and what are the barriers and opportunities to create successful market strategies for the new products. InnoFoodAfrica has compiled a food review in selected urban areas showing that undernutrition declines in many parts of SSA countries, but prevalence of adult overweight increases, both due to poor quality diets. InnoFoodAfrica has compiled a food consumption survey providing insight on what urban dwellers purchase, consume, and what drives their dietary choices. Food development has adapted low energy pretreatments to crop materials to enable year round availability, sufficient preservation time and nutrient content. Ingredients innovated are fat replacers, protein-rich/low GI/low antinutrient ingredients by mechanical, thermal or bioprocessing. Food innovations are snacks, porridges, pastas, extruded intermediates and baked goods. InnoFoodAfrica adapts technologies to valorise crop side streams to biomaterials. A survey of the chosen crop side streams in the 4 countries was compiled proving knowledge about the commercial potential of side streams for the packaging industry. The bedrock for the VCs for new foods and biomaterials is improved agriculture in the 4 countries. The farmer participatory research (FPR) activities are running. Maximizing the impact has focused on increasing the project visibility. The website, Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and LinkedIn channels are in active use and a number of other communication activities are constantly running. A significant communication activity has been intensive training of farmers, students, researchers and others, more than 200 trainings have been given to stakeholders. The EU-Africa Research and Innovation Partnership within FNSSA and cooperation with ongoing projects in the subject area has been enforced by planning joint efforts with the sister projects within LC-SFS-34-2019 Food Systems Africa as well as with LEAP4FNSSA.
An open access on-line toolbox (series of expert lectures) to train researchers and industrial experts in sensory and consumer testing has been created. An instrument for measuring food choice drivers and a guide booklet on consumer product testing across countries in Africa were completed. This work entity is seen to promote a culture of making sensory and consumer sciences an integral part of the whole food value system. The publishable crop VC and market survey supports developed food prototypes to enter domestic and export markets. The project has created a Food Review, a Food consumption survey and an Open Data Kit tool for dietary data collection to lay ground to food innovations with nutritive content needed for malnourished infants and overweight adults. So far prototypes of about 30 ingredients and 14 foods have been developed. Among these prototypes are such that are expected to be adopted by the African and European food industry. The project has developed an on-line application for collecting side stream data from VC actors. The open access survey tool and the database of manufacturers of packaging materials help providing updated information on potential biomass sources for African biomaterial and biopackaging industry. The project has created a stakeholder map, the purpose of which is to collect publicly available information of stakeholders potentially interested in the outcomes of the project and future collaboration. Training, both on-line and on-site, covering many project activities and several stakeholder groups has been intensive and has contributed efficiently to communicating project expertise broadly and making the project visible, particularly in participating African countries. Researchers of InnoFoodAfrica supervise more than 40 students, female majority, on different education levels.
Some of the Millet and Sorghum traders in Ngora District in Uganda after answering the survey