A Canadian-Ethiopian Multidisciplinary Research Partnership
The overall goal of this research partnership is to develop innovative food assistance (IFA) products, using pulse and cereal flours that are fortified with vitamins and minerals and/or other bioactive constituents (e.g., omega-3 rich oils), that could be used to treat moderately acute malnutrition within high risk communities. The project partners with Mekelle University located in Northern Ethiopia’s Tigray Region to reach nutritionally vulnerable communities as a case study. All IFA products will be designed based on World Food Program (WFP) specifications, will be shelf stable for a prolonged duration, will be economically and commercially viable, and will be culturally acceptable. However, in contrast to other IFA products, those developed will be free of GMOs and common allergens (i.e., soy or corn), and include raw materials grown locally in Saskatchewan and Ethiopia (e.g., barley, pea, lentil, chickpea, etc). Products will include a medium and high density cereal that could be used directly (mixed with water to make porridge) or used as an ingredient in traditional food formulations, and a lipid-based ready-to-eat nutritional supplement. The project will also investigate some of the socioeconomic and institutional challenges that impede the use of food aid products in addressing food security, and will examine the structure of food aid supply chains for producing and delivering food aid, and pathways to the development of new supply chain relationships for food assistance products. The multi-disciplinary team will work with NGOs, industry, institutions (e.g., Mekelle University) and the World Food Program to ensure that technology transfer occurs to high risk communities/regions, in order to promote sustainable food security solutions.