Sokoine University Graduate Entrepreneurs Cooperative (SUGECO) Tanzania is becoming a centre of excellence for processing and value addition of biofortified crops (especially the orange-fleshed sweetpotato-OFSP). The institution is developing and marketing exciting biofortified crops products that are nutritious, competitive in the market and can easily be integrated into daily diets of communities. SUGECO’s story serves well to demonstrate the impact of the Building Nutritious Food Baskets (BNFB ) capacity development efforts in Tanzania.
BNFB partnered with SUGECO and over time developed their institutional capacity on agribusiness, processing and value addition of biofortified crops. OFSP products are more popular in the Tanzania market. SUGECO has therefore taken advantage of current opportunities and is utilizing OFSP puree as an ingredient for value addition – especially in culinary, baking and the meat industry. SUGECO is now cascading this knowledge and skills to many other institutions and communities all over Tanzania including small-scale agro-processors, bakery owners, and non-governmental organisations.
SUGECO’s story and the partnership with BNFB has been published in the Guardian newspaper, Tanzania’s local daily dated 23rd October 2018. Read the story below:
SOKOINE University Graduate Entrepreneurs Cooperative (SUGECO) with support from Building Nutritious Food Baskets project (BNFB) which is led by the International Potato Centre (CIP) has embarked on addressing hidden hunger in Tanzania by processing and preaching biofortified crops.
Some incubated companies and food processors have benefited and have started integrating the crops in their existing products while developing new products that can be easily consumed on daily meals. Our Correspondent Gerald Kitabu caught up with SUGECO’s nutritionist Jolenta Joseph and here she sheds light on how the BNFB projecthas helped build capacity for SUGECO to manage its activities particularly production and promotion of bio fortified crops: Excerpts:
QUESTION: Explain how BNFB has help SUGECO in managing your activities particularly production and promotion of bio fortified crops?
ANSWER: The Building Nutritious Food Basket (BNFB) has helped in institutional capacity building mainly on how to use OFSP puree to make different bakery products. This is very useful technology because nutrients loss are minimized, also products are produced at minimal costs (reduced production costs by 45 percent). We have also benefited from different training manuals on biofortified crops that helps us be able to run training using the materials.
Q: What are the biofortified crops you are producing and promoting and what has been the impact on the people you are targeting?
A: As i said earlier on, they are OFSP, pro vitamin A maize and high iron and zinc beans.
Q: From your knowledge and experience, what are the values added products that you think Tanzanians should consume regularly?
A: They are Orange Fleshed Sweet Potatoes composite flour, OFSP Juice, PVA Maize Four and high iron and zinc beans recipes in meals. This is because they can be made easily and are nutrition dense, households can opt for these crops in their daily meals and this will help to end hidden hunger at a minimum cost and in a very easy way. Every household can afford this and can make it easily available throughout the year by increasing production
Q: What are the achievements registered so far?
A: On processing, we are able to produce different products and sell in different supermarkets, local market shops and whole sells at SUGECO incubator lab. Example, we are able to produce 1,000 boxes of biscuits per week, 500kg OFSP flour per week , 1,000 liters of OFSP fresh juice per week, 100kg high iron and zinc beans flour , 200kg PVA maize with cassava flour, 10 women are currently employed to support OFSP processing and preparation. Many customers are highly attracted by the quality of our products and constant supply because all products are available throughout the year with similar quality. Furthermore, we are also supplying up to 3tones OFSP fresh roots to supermarkets in Dar es Salaam and Morogoro. Biofortified products are also available in local restaurants that increase consumption of the nutritious food by 80 percent. We have reduced production cost of bakery products by 45 per cent – puree technology. It maximizes the profit because all fresh roots are well utilized. Selling the fresh roots gives up to 50 percent profit and the rest are taken to the processing line both flour and bakery products
Q: What about at community level ?
A: Production of OFSP has increased by 60 percent and increased income up to 530,637 and 171,428 households for OFSP and PVA Maize respectively. Most of households are now consuming biofortified due to Increase in knowledge 75 percent of food preparation methods to retain nutrient value amongst family members.
Continue reading this story by Gerald Kitabu on IPP Media.