GreenGrowth : Preserving African Food Microorganisms for Green Growth

Project identifier 73-GREENGROWTH
Project Status finished
Start date 2014-01-01
End date 2018-12-31
Roadmap Theme
  • Agriculture and food systems for nutrition: Improved food value chains
  • Agriculture and food systems for nutrition: Improved nutritional value
  • Expansion and improvement of agricultural markets and trade: Global value chains and markets
  • Type of Project Applied research project
    Type of Project Institutional capacity building project
    Keyword Fermentation; Food value chains; bio-banks; lactic acid bacteria; yeast strains
    Location Ghana; Burkina Faso; Benin
    Budget 1 336 438
    Main Funder Danida
    Coordinator University of Copenhagen
  • Technical University of Denmark (DTU)
  • Chr. Hansen
  • Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR-Ghana)
  • University for Development Studies (UDS)
  • Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique et Technologique (CNRST)
  • University Abomey-Calavi
  • Project Web Site
    Documents Policy brief


    Brief abstract:

    The main purpose of the GreenGrowth project was to turn the food sector in West Africa into a driver of sustainable growth by upgrading food products ensuring quality, safety and marketability. A major part of traditional West African foods are fermented, hence being produced by the activity of microorganisms. In this project, identification of food value chains with potential for green growth formed the basis for selection of fermented foods to upgrade. Microorganisms driving the food fermentations were identified and their relevant technological properties characterized, which formed the basis for development of microbial starter cultures

    Completion report:

    The establishment of bio-banks in Ghana, Burkina Faso and Benin opened up new opportunities for research on fermented foods ensuring the West African microbial heritage. The bio-banks provide strains for research work for enhancing quality and safety of traditional fermented foods. Further, they offer the West African partner institutions the possibility to produce starter cultures for the West African food industry and offer inherent West African cultures for research in all sectors. The appointed staff in charge of the bio-banks at FRI, DTA and UAC were trained in culture-collection management at the commercial culture-collection “Belgian Coordinated Collection of Microorganisms”.

    A large number of lactic acid bacteria and yeast strains have been isolated from fura, nunu, lait caillé and mawè. Relevant technological properties including acidification and aroma formation have been determined for the microorganisms and further the probiotic potential of some yeasts isolated from nunu, lait caillé and mawè was determined. These results formed the basis for development of multifunctional starter cultures, especially designed for fura, nunu, lait caillé and mawè with microorganisms originating from the respective products to upgrade the West African food sector from spontaneous to controlled fermentation, ensuring safer food products. The implementation of starter culture at the SMEs has been highly appreciated and approved, due to the improved quality of the obtained products. The bio-banks and equipment (fermenter, freeze-dryer) established during the project, forms an important basis for implementation of microbial starter cultures at the SME level.

    The knowledge of conducting value chain analyses and business models of the food products being investigated for process upgrading was an important part of the training and education of researchers. It provided them with an understanding of the wider setting into which their scientific results will be applied and the framework conditions for successful research results uptake by industry. It also enabled researchers to map the various actors that were involved in the process at various intervention points. In this project, this was achieved through the establishment of national stakeholder platforms on which SMEs, governmental and regulatory agencies was involved. Value chains for the fermented food products fura and nunu from Ghana, lait caillé from Burkina Faso and mawè from Benin were identified as having a strong potential for green growth.

    The selected SMEs in each partner country were trained in the use of the business model canvas to identify and build relations within their value chain in order to control quality and maximise their profits. The workshop gave practical hands on training, enabling all partners to develop their business models.

    Training of PhDs and master students together with exchange visits built the capacity at institutional level.