Sorghum and finger millet have been essential staple foods in the semi-arid tropics of Africa for centuries. In eastern Africa, they form an important part of diets of people in Ethiopia, southern Sudan, northern Kenya and Uganda. More
Cassava, potato and sweet potato are three important cash and food crops, which can provide food security and climate change adaptation in the sub-Saharan Africa region. These crops have common productivity challenges and key among them is the lack of an efficient seed system to deliver, to the smallholder farmers, clean planting materials that are drought and disease resistant and adaptable to specific agro-ecological zones. More
Change in consumer lifestyle and preferences has changed over time with a growing middle class in the region that is demanding a wider range of canned bean products, and preference for fast cooking products. More
As African countries strive to shift from primarily agrarian economies to industrial based bio-economies as the engine for growth, underpinned by value addition, environmental management will be key for sustainable development.
In the eastern Africa region agriculture and industrial processing are viewed as the main drivers of economic growth. However, these sectors are associated with environmental degradation due to the unsustainable utilization of land and water resources, discharge of untreated or partially treated waste water to the environment, greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, and consequently climate change.
Sorghum and finger millet are two traditional crops that are deeply rooted in agricultural and food systems of the people of eastern Africa. They are among the major cereals grown in Tanzania, Ethiopia and Uganda.
These grains are known to be nutritionally superior to other mainstream cereals like maize and wheat with substantial amounts of iron, calcium and zinc. In addition, the two crops can withstand semi-arid conditions and require relatively low inputs, which partly make their production attractive to farmers. Being drought tolerant crops, they have been recommended to farmers as strategic crops to address the adverse impact of climate change. However the production of these crops is still very low due to a number of reasons among them the lack of market for the grains.
Traditional processing of sorghum and millet to produce various products is one of the sources of household income. Commercialization of these traditional products has however been limited due to poor quality, safety and short shelf life. Applying appropriate bio-enrichment technologies leading to diversification and commercialization of products is envisaged to create a market and demand for these cereals benefiting the key players in the sorghum and finger millet value chain particularly the smallholder farmer and consuming public.
This project strives to generate value added technologies for sorghum and finger millet and diffuse these innovations and products to the market place through commercialization in partnership with the private sector.
Developing sorghum-based health/snack bar, instant sorghum porridge mixes and malt beverages, which are excellent source of nutrition. These product concepts are compelling, providing indigenous versions of popular products and safe urban versions of rural favorites.