Supporting the development of processing technologies to improve nutrient-quality of products and perennial availability

Food and nutrition security is still one of the most pressing challenges to constantly growing populations in Sub-Saharan Africa. High-post harvest food losses – in quality and quantity – are major factors constraining food and nutrition security. Reasons for high food losses are mainly limited food preservation capacities which can be caused by a lack of adequate processing technologies, storage capacities and knowledge. Only slow progress in up-grading traditional food processing and preservation techniques has been achieved in some developing countries which could strongly contribute to food and nutrition security.

Vegi-Leg will operate in Tanzania (TZ) and Mozambique (MZ) in case study regions with highest nutritional needs where prevalence of stunting, anaemia and vitamin A deficiency in children under five years are above national averages. The main objective of our collaborative research project is to safeguard nutrition security for the local population in TZ and MZ by supporting the development of processing technologies to improve nutrient-quality of products and perennial availability.

Figure 1: Three phases of Vegi-Leg project activities

Figure 1: Three phases of Vegi-Leg project activities

Vegi-Leg will target outlined problems by a holistic participatory multi-actor approach using food value chains as analytical framework. Project activities are organized in three phases dealing with

  1. scoping and state of the art analysis,
  2. innovation development, piloting and implementation and
  3. capacity building and dissemination (figure 1).

The innovative project design was designed as key component to ensure a continuous supply of nutrient-dense plant foods trough improved processing. The combination of low cost technologies to guarantee basic nutritional needs together with investments in processing technologies to add value through market integration will be used to improve nutrition security. Vegi-Leg will focus on nutrient-dense plant foods rich in high quality protein (essential amino acids), micro-nutrients (iron) and secondary plant metabolites (pro-vitamin A carotenoids) and therefore selected pigeon peas (Cajanus cajan) (PP) and African indigenous vegetables (AIV) as food items for further processing.

Source: E. Gevorgyan / ZALF