Scientists, researchers discuss new solutions to food system challenges

Ghana is exploring strategies to use inedible parts of tilapia fish for alternative protein and oil sources for consumption and industrial usage.

This forms part of efforts to reduce food losses, poor nutrition and poor methods of fish preservation which causes environmental degradation and waste.

A study on the strategies is being undertaken by the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) through its Food Research Institute (CSIR-FRI) and Water Research Institute (CSIR-FRI), under the HealthyFoodAfrica project.

The HealthyFoodAfrica is a research and innovation project aimed at creating more sustainable, equitable and resilient food systems in 10 African cities.

The project is a collaborative effort by 18 partners in Europe and Africa, funded by the European Union (EU) Horizon 2020 programme.

At a meeting in Accra yesterday to discuss the various initiatives by all the partners, Dr Seth Koranteng Agyakwah, Food System Lab (FSL) Lead of CSIR, said Ghana’s project was focused on developing the right systems to promote fish preservation and unearth other uses for unused fish parts.

This, he noted, would help address post-harvest losses and ensure the country’s food systems were not affected by happenings in other parts of the world.

Currently, he said improper fish handling, lack of ready market for some fish types, transportation difficulties, among others, affect the returns on investments of fish farmers, hence the need to explore various sustainable and safe means of preservation.

Also, Dr Agyakwah noted that improved post-harvest technologies was critical in ensuring food nutrition and reduce food waste.

Among other things, he said, the project would train Ghanaian fish farmers on how to undertake profitable fish production through resilient and nutritious agri-food chains.

Dr Amy Atter, FSL Co-Lead of CSIR, said that studies done so far also indicated that Tilapia scales and guts valorization could be used to create jobs, contribute to economic growth and reduce the environmental problems they create.

Prof. Paul Pinnock Bosu, Director-General of CSIR, said Ghana and other African countries were facing challenges with the availability of healthy foods.

He noted that it was critical that researchers and scientists contribute towards ensuring healthy foods, good nutrition and healthy living for the populace.

Amit Ashkenazy, HealthyFoodAfrica Project Lead, said the initiative was to create the platform for scientists and researchers to share ideas on creating new solutions to food system challenges.

Also, such engagements, he indicated, was necessary to develop safe and healthy food products from varieties and unused fishes harvested.

As part of efforts to improve the various value chains, he said, the project would provide support to farmers through extension officers to implement new technologies.


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