PAEPARD @ EDD2017: Processing food is the future of African jobs and innovation

  • 07th June 2017
  • by secretary
Michael Hailu (CTA), Patrice Sewade (Sojagnon),
Dr Kanayo F. Nwanze (former IFAD president),
Yemi Aknibamijo (FARA ED)

7 June 2017. In a boot at the European Development Days (EDD 2017) PAEPARD is show casing the successful project: Re-engineered Soybean “Afitin” and Soybean Milk processing technologies in South and Central Benin (ProSAM).

In 2011, an analysis made by the Benin soya consortium confirmed the low technical support to soybean processors and highlighted the lack of cooperation between researchers and processors, preventing the emergence of solutions to constraints faced by the processors.

The Faculty of Agricultural Sciences of the University of Abomey-Calavi (FSA /UAC) trusted a multi stakeholders’ approach, it would be easier to bring innovative products to the market as it brings together both researchers and users of research products in a consortium to work on the development constraints. By combining the expertise of different processors of both products with scientific expertise, the project can lead to good results and meet market demand at low cost.

According to the Representative of the Delegation of European Union in Benin there needed to be a market as quickly as possible for the development of soybean production. In this

framework women’s innovations and research could help remove one of the bottlenecks in the development of this sector. Soybean can help to greatly improve the food and nutritional situation where malnutrition rates are high.

The coordinator was the initiator of a knowledge sharing platform to facilitate discussion between researchers and processors to come up with appropriate local soybean processing technologies and increase knowledge on the biochemical and nutritive value of local soybean products. The three-year funding from the PAEPARD Competitive Research Fund (covering the period from September 30th, 2014 to August 29th, 2017) is coordinated by the SOJAGNON Association. The objective of the project is to increase the food security (quality and productivity of products) and the food safety through an improved food chain of soybean derived products: milk and afitin.

The coordinator facilitated the setting of the innovation agenda by experimenting with and learning from new processing techniques, and by enhancing organisational and institutional capacity and business skills. This broad view of his role as intermediary was key for building adaptive capacities of smallholder soya producer.

Main lessons in light of the PAEPARD goals and questions

  • The main beneficiaries of the project are female processors living in rural areas of six soybean production areas, namely Abomey-Calavi, Aplahoue, Bohicon, Bonou, Glazoue, Zogbodomey municipalities. Among these municipalities, four (Aplahoue, Bohicon, Glazoué, Zogbodomey) are located in regions were the prevalence of food insecurity and risk of food insecurity varies from 30 to 40% against 9-10% in the other areas (Abomey-calavi, Bonou). The project impacts on about 1,500 female processors in these different areas through the training of twelve women cooperatives that serve as a relay to reach other processors. 

  • Improving the quality and productivity of the soybean food products and linking processors to markets, enhances their capacity to generate more income. The availability of nutritious and safe soybean foods produced by them can benefits whole communities. 
  • The re-engineering of soybean foods through the development of improved technologies available for processors contributes to the alleviation of food insecurity among most vulnerable people of South and Central Benin. Availability of quality soybean products contributes to the reduction of the nutritional deficiency encountered by the population. Furthermore, all the processors are female. 
  • The project is a source of employment in the rural areas and the local economy is boosted. With regard to environmental sustainability, the development of equipment in the production workshops meets the standards required for small agricultural equipment and agri-food. In addition, the use of equipment generates no pollution neither environmental nor sound pollution. Waste and water from processing are directly recycled into animal feeding.