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

The challenge

  • 1.3 billion tonnes of food is lost or wasted each year at different stages of the food value chain
  • High post-harvest losses lead to economic losses and significant harm to natural resources
  • More than 2 billion people worldwide are suffering from micronutrient deficiencies
  • Women of reproductive age and children of 0–59 months are particularly susceptible to the severe consequences

Our approach

  • An innovative small-scale modular, decentralised postharvest food processing unit based on local materials and renewable energies
  • Utilisation of high-value underutilised species for the production of innovative and diverse nutrient-rich processed food products with extended shelf-life
  • Empowerment of women, especially those organized in groups, to prevent micronutrients deficiencies in children as well as improve the health status of pregnant and lactating women
  • Trained artisans who contribute towards rollout of the system in partner countries
  • Development of a mobile phone application to promote linkages between key value chain actors and support the development of a working maintenance and repair infrastructure

Expected results

  • Improve the diets among women, infants and young children in selected target regions
  • Creation of income generating opportunities for women’s groups in West Africa
  • Develop innovative small-scale modular, decentralised photovoltaic driven postharvest food processing units appropriate for local conditions
  • Empowerment of women in order to prevent micronutrient deficiencies in their communities
  • Stimulation of technology rollout through capacity development among local artisans to build and maintain systems
  • Training selected members of women’s groups to conduct trainings on processing of underutilised species (training of trainers)

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)

Project Coordinator: Dr. Habil. Barbara Sturm

Project Management Team: Bastian Lange and Sharvari Raut

» Website at the Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering Section, University of Kassel