Makerere University's College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences (CAES), the National Agricultural Research Organisation (NARO), Volunteer Efforts for Development Concerns (VEDCO) and Nutreal Ltd along with other African and European partners are participating are undertaking research to boost the nutrition performance of local food systems in Africa.
The research project has received 7 million euros (about Shs30 billion) in funding from the European Commission.
Dubbed FoodLAND (Food and Local, Agricultural and Nutritional Diversity), the project kicked off with an online meeting on September 30.
The FoodLAND project, which is led by Alma Mater Studiorum – University of Bologna (Italy), is committed to developing a range of innovations for local agriculture and aquaculture development, as well as to nudging consumers towards healthier eating behavior in six African countries: Morocco, Tunisia, Ethiopia, Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania.
The overall project is aiming to strengthen agrobiodiversity and food diversity, along with a diversity of healthy diets to combat the major forms of malnutrition in Africa, officials say.
The project will create a network of 14 local Food Hubs paired with 14 separate cities in countries that will mobilize relevant actors in rural, urban and peri-urban communities and serve as injection points for testing and introducing the innovations.
The 28 partners that comprise the FoodLAND consortium (18 of them are African institutions while the other 10 are European) will work together to develop, implement and validate 12 technological innovations; which include organizational and technological innovations for both vegetable and fish farming and food processing systems, together with 17 novel local food products, ranging from fresh, dried and processed vegetables and fish to composite flours and therapeutic foods.
Uganda’s project team includes Prof. John Muyonga, Prof. Noble Banadda and Prof. Johnny Mugisha, Dr. Cassius Aruho, Dr. Puline Nakyewa, Dr. Margaret Masette, Dr. Getrude Atukunda and Dr. Justus Rutaisire from NARO; Henry Nsereko from VEDCO and Prof. Dorothy Nakimbugwe from Nutreal.