Dr Bernard Chove (1997 Commonwealth Scholar, PhD Food Engineering, University of Reading), Associate Professor at Sokoine University of Agriculture, Tanzania, is working on a Danish government funded project to facilitate food security and entrepreneurship in the region. The project trains people in food-drying techniques and business management skills so that they can set up their own companies. Initially running as a pilot programme from 2009 – 2012, those undertaking training range from young people looking to build a career to farmers keen to diversify their businesses.
Due to the hot climate and widespread lack of refrigerated storage, much of the fresh fruit in Tanzania is in danger of becoming rotten before consumption, leading to high levels of food wastage. By drying fruits such as mangoes, pineapples, and bananas, food can be provided out of season – even in remote rural communities. By providing out-of-season food, the producers are also able to charge a premium for their product, which enhances the profit levels for their business.
As part of the project two PhD students are training in business management and quality assurance in Denmark, to assist with the business training on the project at Sokoine. Two Masters students are being funded at Sokoine in food-processing techniques, to help with the food production training at Sokoine.
The food processing centre at Sokoine has been awarded DFID funding to improve facilities to enhance its commercial viability. In addition to his work on this project, Dr Chove is collaborating with his former host institution, the University of Reading, on future joint projects.