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UK - Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy

Formulating Value Chains for Orphan Crops in Africa

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Programme Data Last Updated: 23/03/2022

IATI Identifier: GB-GOV-13-FUND--GCRF-BB_P022537_1

Description

Cultivars that emerged during the Green Revolution focused on increasing yield, primarily of a few staple crops, that together with changes in farming systems (e.g. artificial fertilizer applications) did much to ensure adequate supply of affordable calories. This original strategy has, however, been at the expense of research into sustainable yield improvement and improved environmental resilience of orphan crops (e.g. teff, finger millet, yam, roots and tubers that are regionally important but not world traded and receive no attention from researchers). The current strategy regarding orphan crops is represented by the African Orphan Crops Consortium (AOCC) that focuses on genetic improvement to increase resilience to climate change and to improve productivity, under the assumption that increased diversity of crop species sown and harvested implies a greater diversity of consumption. However, this is not the case in rural or urban areas. The purpose of this project is to more effectively bridge current supply-side research on orphan crops with attitudes from consumers, to help have an impact on poverty, health, sustainable growth and food security in developing countries. This will be done by examining the entire supply chain and by multidisciplinary interaction of social, crop and food scientists who will seek to reformulate popular processed foods using orphan crop ingredients. Targeted orphan crops will be selected early on in the project based on existing demand and technical information as well as engagement and discussion with potential food processors. Research will be broken down into three interrelated work areas: (1)Supply chain analysis (including demand); (2)Options for development of new ingredients and foods based on orphan crops; and (3)Identification of solutions to production constraints of prioritised orphan crops. Supply chain analysis (including demand analysis) will:(1) contribute to the selection of the targeted orphan crops for other parts of the project by providing indicators that will rank crops according to their potential to make significant impact on local health and income;(2) analyse the role that orphan crops play in Sub-Saharan African diets using available household surveys;(3) analyse the use of orphan crops as ingredients in new products in Sub-Saharan African markets;(4) analyse the structure of particular supply chains associated with the products and ingredients of prioritised orphan crops; and (5) provide an ex-ante analysis of the impact that the creation of the value chains may have. The identification of new ingredients and the development of foods based on orphan crop analysis will proceed in two stages:(1) the project will link the Edinburgh Complex Fluids Partnership (ECFP) with food processing companies in Sub Saharan Africa . In discussion together with the results of the demand analysis- products that are suitable for reformulation selected orphan crops ingredients will be identified;(2) ECFP will perform experiments in its laboratories in Edinburgh to identify suitable recipes and processing methods to make food products, e.g. bread, using flours from orphan crops rather than from staples such as wheat. In parallel we will explore solutions to identified barriers to the efficient production of the selected orphan crops. A time-frame for screening crops for yield and quality improvements, including processing quality for food production, will also be published as a project technical note. The climatic and growing factors limiting production in these high potential orphan crops will be identified in order to integrate existing knowledge of how crop choice and agronomics affect grain quality for processing and end use. Also, evidence from local or other published sources on traits that maximise crop productivity and increase crop resilience to increasing climatic variability, including pests and diseases, will be sourced to complement other crop promotion effort.

Objectives

The main objective of the proposal is to bridge the gap between the supply and demand of orphan crops. The project will ensure that supply-side research will impact on consumption and nutrition through demand-led development of food products and ingredients. Sub-objectives by project component are: 1. Supply chain analysis (including demand) (a) To help crop and food scientists involved in the selection and utilisation of orphan crops by considering consumption patterns in the countries of study. (b) To examine the role that orphan crops play in the current diets of Sub-Saharan Africa consumers, e.g. whether they are being replaced by other products such that their pattern of substitution is complementarity or not with other elements in the diet. This will help to understand the most appropriate way of marketing and making available such products to consumers. (c) To analyse what current use is made of orphan crop products as ingredients in new foodstuffs launched in Sub-Saharan Africa markets (i.e. develop understanding of industrial use at present) and where there is the potential to introduce them to support farm production and diversification of diets. This will help understand the most appropriate way of marketing such products towards end-users or in the supply chain (e.g. to processors). (d) To study the structure of the particular supply chains associated with the products and ingredients to be investigated in the project in the studied countries. This will provide recommendations in terms of the development or improvement of orphan crop-related chains. (e) To formulate a mathematical simulation model based on the different elements generated in the project in order to produce an ex-ante evaluation of the impact of the creation of orphan crop value chains. Note that the evaluation is ex-ante as the duration of the project is two years. 2. New ingredients and foods based on orphan crops (a) To select, in discussion with social and food scientists, based on the overall aim of the project to support reformulation in food processing, the orphan crops to consider in the project. (b) To study the suitability of ingredients derived from these orphan crops for creating doughs with the physical properties required to withstand manufacturing processes and make good food products. (c) To recommend recipes and processing methods to make suitable food products, e.g. bread, using starches from orphan crops rather than from wheat, mindful of introducing processes that remove toxins that may be present in such crops. 3. Solutions to bottlenecks in the production of required orphan crops (a) To select, in discussion with social and food scientists and based on the overall aim of the project to support reformulation in food processing, a small number of orphan crops for agronomic research in the current project. (b) To establish strategies for improving yield and quality, including processing quality, in the selected orphan crops by inclusion of technical advances in crop management, dependant on local needs and resources. The factors limiting production in these high potential orphan crops will be identified in order to integrate existing knowledge of how crop choice and agronomics affect grain quality for processing and end use. In this way, research will complement other promotion efforts on the concerned crops. (c) To scope the crop ideotypes and specific traits that are expected to improve crop resilience to climate change. This will focus on identifying traits that confer consistent yield and quality in variable and extreme temperatures and under erratic and scare supply of water. The aim will be to develop strategies to identify locally adapted cultivars with improved tolerance to emerging threats and increased nutrient use efficiency. This will help the project identify desirable crop traits that could be more widely incorporated in breeding programmes including follow-up initiatives.

Status - Post-completion More information about Programme status
Programme Spend More information about Programme funding
Participating Organisation(s) More information about implementing organisation(s)

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