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Tropentag, September 20 - 22, 2017 in Bonn

"Future Agriculture: Social-ecological transitions and bio-cultural shifts"

Collaborative Product Development to Enhance Local Food Security and Livelihoods in Eastern Africa

Kathrin Meinhold1, Yahia Omar Adam Guma2, Joyce Chepngeno3, Munthali Chimuleke4, Esther Evang5, Jens Gebauer1, Tsige-Yohannes Habte5, Martin Hommels1, George Kinyua Kaimba3, Michael Krawinkel5, Florian Kugler1, Tarig Elsheikh Mahmoud6, Nyori Jeremiah Mbugua3, Kavoi Mutuku Muendo3, John Bosco Mukundi3, Anthony Maina Njiru7, Willis Omondi Owino3, Fredah Karambu Rimberia3, El Amin Sanjak2, Martin Schüring8, Muneer Elyas Siddig6, Arthur Stevens9, Mohamed El Nour Taha6, Andreas Triebel10, Dietrich Darr1

1Rhine-Waal University of Applied Sciences, Fac. of Life Sciences, Germany
2University of Khartoum, Forest Management, Sudan
3Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology, Kenya
4Mzuzu University, Faculty of Environmental Sciences, Malawi
5Justus-Liebig University Giessen, Inst. of Nutritional Sciences, Germany
6University of Kordofan, Gum Ararbic Research Center, Sudan
7Wild Living Resources, Kenya
8ttz Bremerhaven, Germany
9PhytoTrade Africa, United Kingdom
10Baobab Social Business gGmbH, Germany


Processing of primary agricultural and forestry food products by rural producers or community-based enterprises can considerably contribute to local food security, employment, alternative household income and improved livelihoods. The development and launching of new products by firms has key influence in achieving such objectives since it contributes to continuous business success and growth of the involved companies. The development of new, marketable products has primarily been approached from the perspective of the companies involved in production and sale of such products. However, it is increasingly recognised that successful product innovations is the outcome of a collective effort rather than the achievement of a single person or firm. Furthermore, it has been demonstrated that collaboration and stakeholder involvement in the new product development process has positive effects on its market success.
Such considerations are currently being addressed and put into practice within the BAOFOOD project. The project aims to promote the domestication, production, market development, processing and consumption of baobab for the improvement of food security, nutrition and rural livelihoods in Kenya and the Sudan. The project's ultimate goal is to establish a community-based processing unit to produce and supply highly nutritious baobab products for home consumption and local and regional markets. Local baobab producers and processors, often characterised by limited resources and expertise for product and business development, are given the opportunity to collaborate with a variety of stakeholders including members across the baobab value chain, research institutions, or regulatory bodies as well as benefit from the project and the insights it generates in customer needs and expectations, technology development and optimisation, or value chain setups. The development of marketable products requires local producers and processors to understand demand and consumer preferences at various markets, and mobilise the technical and economic expertise required to meet these demands in a competitive environment. This approach gives the opportunity to not only contribute to food security and improved livelihood objectives but also to help build local entrepreneurial skills and verify the applicability of this more unconventional product development pathway. The paper presents the approach in more detail as applied by the BAOFOOD project.

Keywords: Baobab (Adansonia digitata L.), food security, product development

Contact Address: Kathrin Meinhold, Rhine-Waal University of Applied Sciences, Fac. of Life Sciences, Kleve, Germany, e-mail: kathrin.meinhold@hochschule-rhein-waal.de

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