2018 UpgradePlus

Decentralised postharvest processing of underutilised species into innovative value added products for improved food and nutrition security in West Africa

Rural societies in SSA countries often suffer from a lack of access to balanced diets and “feast or famine” due to the seasonality of many agricultural products, limited means of preservation, transportation and lack of appropriate small-scale storage facilities. Current measures to address malnutrition involve micronutrient supplementation, fortification of staple foods and bio fortification. Earlier attempts to address the need to fortify foods in small and medium scale food processing units failed as they lacked a scalable technology solution and a sustainable business model to support target beneficiaries. Due to the preceding, resource-constrained rural people often rely on traditional food processing techniques such as manual peeling, chopping and grinding as well as sun drying to process food for household consumption and local markets. Thus emphasising the need for an innovative, user-friendly, low-cost, low maintenance and environmentally friendly processing machinery for targeted beneficiaries in rural areas.

The UPGRADE Plus project aims to develop a scientifically grounded modular, decentralised solar driven food processing unit (peeling, chopping, drying, grinding) and improve the diets of women, infants and young children while at the same time creating income generating opportunities for women’s self-help groups in West Africa and reducing post-harvest losses in underutilized agricultural produce. Specifically, the project seeks to:

i)       develop innovative small-scale modular, decentralised photovoltaic driven post-harvest food processing units suitable for local conditions,

ii)     utilise high-value underutilised species for the production of innovative and diverse nutrient-rich processed food products with extended shelf-life,

iii)   to empower women, especially those in self-help groups, in order to prevent  micronutrient deficiencies in children as well as increase the health status of pregnant and lactating women,

iv)    stimulate the rollout of the technologies and processes through training of local artisans who will build the systems using mainly locally available materials and selected members of women groups who will train new users.

The UPGRADE Plus project commenced in October 2017 and will continue for the period of 3 years. The project is supported with 1.1 Mio Euros by the Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture Germany (BMEL) and executed through theFederal Office for Agriculture and Food Germany (BLE).


UPGRADE Plus consortium consists of six partners from 4 different countries. These include University of Kassel (Germany) as the Project Coordinator, German Institute for Tropical and Sub-Tropical Agriculture (DITSL) (Germany), Innotech Ingenieursgesellschaft mbH (Germany), University for Development Studies (Ghana), Njala University (Sierra Leone), National Horticultural Research Institute (Nigeria)


UPGRADE Plus - Mehr und bessere Lebensmittel [publik MAGAZIN 04/18] 


Project Management  – Dr. Sharvari Raut