Project develops nutritious food products from traditional and resilient African crops, aims to tackle worsening food security in Africa resulting from increasing population and declining agricultural production and supports the launch of diverse and healthy foods from African farms to local and export markets
The InnoFoodAfrica (IFA) Project kicked off its activities in August 2020 in all partner countries and institutions. The project goal is to explore climate smart African cereal, pulse and root crops to develop healthy ingredients and demonstrate their huge potential to combat malnutrition in children, pregnant women, adults under risk of obesity and food security. The Project will increase the diversity of affordable, nutrient-dense and healthy food products based on local crops, and educate people to eat more wholesomely.
The project supports business creation to launch diverse and healthy foods from African farms to local and export markets. This three-year African-European collaboration project is designed by a strong multidisciplinary consortium of 18 partners, dominated by 13 African organisations from all the four focus countries with deep understanding of local needs and supported by 5 European partners with thorough knowledge on up-to-date food and packaging technologies and nutrition.
IFA country partners in Africa include Kenya, Ethiopia, Uganda and South Africa. The European countries participating are Finland, Norway, Belgium and France.
The project will also develop and demonstrate optimal solutions for cultivation practices, processing and productization towards new food products, business solutions and value chains.
The targeted impact of IFA is also aimed at tackling the fundamental twin challenges of our time – that of increasing population and declining agricultural production which is resulting in worsening food security in Africa.
The VTT Technological Research Centre of Finland coordinated IFA is striving to fight against malnourishment by developing nutritious food products from traditional and resilient African crops. Generated side streams will be converted to food packaging materials.
“Crops like sorghum, finger millet, teff, amaranth, faba bean, orange fleshed sweet potato, bambara and cowpea have great nutritional value, but they are underutilized due to technological challenges in the preparation of food products and acceptable quality for urban consumers”, explains Raija Lantto the InnoFoodAfrica Project Coordinator from VTT.
IFA envisages deploying Afro-European co-creation power to start redefining the African food system with a focus on strengthening African plant-based food markets in Eastern and Southern Africa regions and in Europe. Novel African plant-based food stuffs will also reach the European markets as a result of new business models and value chains developed in the project.
The project’s goals will be enabled by working on strategic food crops in the partner countries, and developing climate-change resilient agrofood systems, including research, development and capacity building. The goal will be achieved by technology development combined with training and communication activities (with a focus on women engagement) in farming practices, nutrition, ingredient and food solutions, bio-based packaging to reduce food loss and waste, as well as related business creation.
The InnoFoodAfrica project will run for 42 months (August 2020 –January 2024), with a budget of €6.5 million.
All the four African countries have each held inception webinars for stakeholders to introduce them to the project.
Watch some of the inception webinar videos and read the proceedings here;