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  • EU-funded project helps feed the poor

    May 23, 2012
    by Angela Faloppa

    African woman processing cassava (Copyright sancara)

    A new food technology project led by the Natural Resources Institute will help millions of the world’s poorest people in some of the most deprived regions.

    The 3-years project brings together 16 partners from Ghana, the Netherlands, Nigeria, Portugal, Thailand, the United Kingdom and Vietnam and will receive about 3 million of funding from the EU’s Seventh Framework Programme(FP7).

    Partners aim to find new ways of reducing waste during the production of food crops vital to families in parts of Africa and Asia, to develop new products , and seek new markets.

    Cassava and yam are important food security crops for approximately 700 million people worldwide, and their post-harvest losses are significant. Physical losses are exceptionally high and occur throughout the food chain. Losses in economic value are also high, for example, cassava prices can be discounted by up to 85% within a couple of days of harvest.

    By reducing such losses, food and income security can be significantly enhanced.

    Researchers hope to meet this objective by implementing better storage and processing techniques to reduce waste and turn it into something of value.

    The project will also focus on improving how waste such as peels and liquid waste is used, so that higher value products can be produced for human consumption, including snack foods, mushrooms and animal feed.

    Best practices will be shared through digital links and it is hoped that the project will help small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) make connections with large-scale industry and lead to job creation.

    First pilot schemes to reduce waste will be launched in Nigeria, Ghana, Vietnam and Thailand.

    Another problem regarding the waste sector is the large waste export in EU. According to a recent European commission report, in fact, The countries member OECD
    exported around 5 million tonnes of paper waste, 4 million tonnes of
    metal waste and half a million tonnes of recovered plastics just in 2007.

    Donna africana lavora la manioca (Copyright sancara)

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