FruVaSe - News

4th FruVaSe Hybrid-Workshop from 27th to 29th April 2022 in Nairobi, Kenya and via Zoom

Due to the improved Corona situation, the final FruVaSe meeting could be held this year as a hybrid workshop in Nairobi, Kenya. In addition to the FruVaSe team and the associated PhD and MSc students, farmers from the research districts Taita Taveta and Kitui in Kenya participated on the first day of the meeting via Zoom and gave valuable feedback to the project activities.

Through presentations of the different work packages, latest results were shared and future research questions and priority policy recommendations were discussed in groups. Furthermore, first results of the dissemination work were presented.

On the second day, the workshop also included a visit to the "University of Nairobi Innovation Week Exhibition" on the university campus. Here, the guava nectar with Moringa extract, developed by Duke Gekonge, PhD student within the FruVaSe project, was exhibited and awarded with a prize.

PhD student Duke Gekonge (second from the right) at his stall displaying guava products, together with his supervisor Dr. George Abong (left) and FruVaSe colleagues from Tanzania, Dr. Neema Kassim and Dr. Edna Makule (from the left).

Highlights of the presentations and discussions:
  • All FruVaSe fruit products are very promising and all make use of surplus fruits that otherwise rot in the field/ are lost for consumption; yet, fruits are mostly consumed fresh – strong marketing is required for new processed products.
  • Vegetable products retain important micronutrients, most are shelf-stable for at least 6 months and are acceptable by consumers.
  • Major challenges and limitations in fruit and vegetable processing
    • No high quality seeds/ seedlings available – genebanks need to extend to fruits and vegetables
    • No local biodegradable packaging material available, only few recycling systems for packaging – sustainable packaging solutions are needed
  • Future research questions for both fruit and vegetable (FV) processing include
    • to identify the synergies between technologies that can be used for the production of multiple foods so that equipment can be used throughout the year with different FVs being available during different seasons;
    • cost-benefit-analysis with more reliable data and optimisation of the costs for the whole processing process;
    • adapt technologies to local conditions at village level.
  • Policy recommendations include
    • tax relief for those who are engaged in processing of fruits and vegetables;
    • sensitise consumers as they will otherwise not adopt these partly new products;
    • allocate cheap credits for FV production, processing (equipment) and to provide (sustainable) energy, re-classification of processed foods;
    • organise water and energy issues at community levels – not at household levels.
  • Plan for the remaining time of the FruVaSe project
    • Establishment of a Fruit and Vegetable Processing (FVP) online platform
    • Joint publications
    • Commercial proof of concept of selected FruVaSe products (UoN, Kenya); incubation workshop at NM-AIST, Tanzania; knowledge exchange and knowledge dissemination (MUG, Uganda)
FruVaSe project team and guests during the first day of the 4th FruVaSe workshop.