In the frame of the BLE-funded project:

Decentralized postharvest processing of underutilized species into innovative value added products for improved food and nutrition security in West Africa

DITSL leads the workpackage 6

Development of innovative capacity building strategies to support women’s group processing businesses.

Photos by Tomi Ojo, Nigeria (l), Solomon Chikpah Kofi, Ghana (r), 2018

Empowerment of women, especially of self-help women’s groups to process under-utilized species, is core to UPGRADE Plus because of their primary roles in childcare and household food production. Strengthening women’s income generating opportunities leads to more food availability for households and particularly for children. The German Institute for Tropical and Subtropical Agriculture leads WP6 and aims to build capacity with women’s groups by guiding them through a collaborative learning process to develop their own processing businesses using locally available materials and renewable energies. Transdisciplinary research conducted with participating women’s groups will assess the situation, arrive at a joint problem-definition, test the processing units, and finally, monitor and evaluate the processes to fine-tune their business model for greater sustainability. This will contribute to food security in Sierra Leone, Ghana and Nigeria by extending the shelf-life of under-utilized species, thereby increasing the availability of nutritious foods through new and diversified value chains. To share the lessons learnt, outreach materials will be co-developed with the women’s groups so that others can gain motivation and inspiration to process under-utilized species into nutritious food products, improve their livelihoods and create change in their regions.

Photos by Solomon Chikpah Kofi, Ghana and Margareta Lelea, Nigeria, 2018

UPGRADE Plus consortium consists of six partners from 4 different countries. These include University of Kassel (Germany) as the Project Coordinator, German Institute for Tropical and Sub-Tropical Agriculture (DITSL) (Germany), Innotech Ingenieursgesellschaft mbH (Germany), University for Development Studies (Ghana), Njala University (Sierra Leone), National Horticultural Research Institute (Nigeria)


Prof. Dr. Oliver Hensel and Dr. habil. Barbara Sturm, Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering, Faculty of Organic Agricultural Sciences, University of Kassel

Team members:
Prof. Dr. Brigitte Kaufmann – WP6 Co-Leader
Dr. Margareta Amy Lelea – WP6 Co-Leader
Dr. Simon Adekunle Oyegbile – Research staff in Nigeria
Mrs. Rashida Chantima Ziblila – Research staff in Ghana
Ms. Lydia Madintin Konlan – MSc student with fieldwork in Ghana
Ms. Kayfe Rosaire Nwosu – MSc student with fieldwork in Nigeria
Mrs. Ugochi Geraldine Akalonu – MSc student with fieldwork in Nigeria
Ms. Oluwakemi Omowaye - Research staff in Nigeria