CSIR outdoors Agbenududu
The Council for Scientific and Industrial Research-Food Research Institute (CSIR-FRI) as part of efforts to ensure food security in Ghana, has introduced a new variety of the popular local beverage “Burkina”.
The new variety dubbed “Agbenududu” to wit food of life, is an indigenous Ghanaian beverage made from soymilk and millet.
It is to compliment Burkina, a beverage made from fermented diary milk and millet.
At a dissemination workshop, Professor Charles Tortoe, Director CSIR-FRIsaid the innovation was borne out of the institute’s core mandate to ensure food security and help promote good nutrition among the citizenry.
He noted that the innovation would help in preventing post-harvest losses of millet and create a demand for soya beans by diversifying their uses for the commercial production of diverse dishes.
Prof Tortoe stated that globally, maternal and child health were becoming an issue of great concern due to the increasing mortalities resulting from anaemia and malnutrition in those living in the poorest regions of the world, despite the numerous interventions and progress of work.
“Although highly nutritious, most Ghanaian foods are not being widely patronised, especially by young people due to the mode of preparation and presentation so integrating tradition and technology will help change perceptions, and encourage more people to accept the dishes,” he stressed.
Dr Richard L.K. Glover,Scientific Director of the African Science Technology and Policy Institute,giving an overview of the project, explained that it was part of the Grand Challenge on Integrating Tradition and Technology for Fermented Foods for Maternal Nutrition, a programme funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
The Grand Challenge, he intimated, was a family of initiatives fostering innovation to solve key problems in global health and development for vulnerable groups and the project would be implemented by the CSIR-FRI, University of Health and Allied Sciences, Ho, and Noguchi Memorial Institute for Medical Research, University of Ghana.
Dr Glover observed that the project among other issues, assessed microbiological quality of soymilk-burkina, and built a database for future use, and “if successful, will influence policy, enhance nutrition education, encourage consumption of local diets by the younger generation.
Dr Mary Glover-Amengor, a Nutritionist at CSIR-FRI, and a Co-implementor of the project, reiterated that the benefit of soymilk was cheaper, high in protein and minerals, ensured proper growth.
She said the proposal investigated the effect of the intake of soymilk-burkina on the gut microbiome and nutritional status of women of the reproductive age of 15 and 49 years living in the Volta and Oti Regions of Ghana.
“Among the participants are 30 pregnant women, who were put on a random trial to test the effect of daily consumption of soymilk, monthly blood and faecal samples are also collected during the trial to analyse nutritional status , inflammation biomarkers and parasite,” Dr Glover-Amengor disclosed.
BY BENEDICTA GYIMAAH FOLLEY