Capability Building for Research and Development in Traditional Fermented Processing in West Africa


Start date: 30 June, 2008 End date: 29 September, 2012 Project type: Larger strategic projects - ENRECA (prior to 2008) Project code: 1101-Life2 Countries: Benin Burkina Faso Ghana Thematic areas: Agricultural production, Food security and safety, Lead institution: University of Copenhagen (UCPH), Denmark Project coordinator: Mogens Jakobsen Total grant: 3,218,139 DKK

Project summary


The project aims through research, education, training, and other forms of logistical support to build capability in selected institutions in West Africa to contribute to national development by carrying out value-added research on traditional food products. For the three African Partners from Benin, Ghana and Burkina Faso, the major project activities include upgrading and improved management of laboratories for analytical work and research; collaborative research in food fermentation, food safety and quality assurance with special attention to the poorer parts of the countries and use of new or less explored raw materials; training and exchange of staff ; dissemination of results to local producers and networking activities with other African food scientists and technologists. Research and development and dissemination activities will extend to the point of potential commercial application by local producers and for possible export opportunities. During the current phase, activities will be undertaken to consolidate and sustain the capacity already built and to disseminate results obtained during the previous phases of the project.



Project Completion Report:

The actual achieved results are largely according to what was described in the project document and more. Four (4) PhD students were planned to be trained in the framework of this project. All four PhD students have completed their PhD studies. Furthermore, two other PhD students (Agbobatinkpo Pelagie and Anna Greppi) have benefitted of the facilities of the laboratories in Benin and in Denmark to complete their PhD, working on the Beninese fermented foods as focused in the projects and strengthening the previous results obtained by the other PhD students. Furthermore, 6 PhD students and more than 50 Msc Students from DNSA/FSA, but also from other High school (EPAC) or Faculty of UAC, working in the framework of other projects (Aires-Sud, Malto-sorgho, INSTAPA, AFTER, UAC funding project) have used the specific microbiology facilities provided by the project for their research activities. The DNSA/FSA is established and recognized as a leading team for fermented foods research in Benin.


More than 30 scientific papers have been published by teams of DNSA on fermented foods, some of them being part of the research carried out using the facilities provided by the project. A lot of communi-cations have been presented at local, regional and international conferences. Good laboratory practices have been developed in the laboratory following the recommendations of Dr. M. Halm during her visit in 2007. It has become a tradition in the laboratory to train new students allowed to work in the laboratory in GLP. Also, knowledge gained through research has been used to train food processing workers and GMP and HACCP introduced in food processing enterprises.


The scientists involved in the project have gained experience in the methods of molecular biology for the identification and characterization of microorganisms. The collaboration with partners of Copenhagen university is very instructive in terms of knowledge acquisition, scientific development for project writing, assessment, scientific paper writing, international cooperation and personal relationship. Our main concern for the future is the preservation of the microbial strains for the continuation of our research activities with the objective to assist local food processors to upgrade the fermented food processing and improve the quality of their products for local and regional food security and international markets.

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