Workshop on Sustainable Food Systems Held

                                  Group photograph of participants at the workshop 

A team of researchers from the University of Ghana led by the Pro Vice-Chancellor, Research, Innovation and Development, Prof. Felix Ankomah Asante and researchers from the University of Bonn (UoB), Germany led by Prof. Matin Qaim held a workshop to deliberate on the establishment of a Collaborative Research Centre (CRC) between UG and UoB to conduct research on Sustainable Food Systems dubbed FoodDiverse.

The workshop which took place at the West Africa Centre for Crop Improvement (WACCI) was organised to explore diversification at various levels of the food system and examine its effects on human wellbeing and planetary health. The objective of the workshop involving researchers in the food system value chain is to;

  • Develop research ideas and concepts.
  • Consolidate research team and counterparts.
  • Develop a draft proposal for the FoodDiverse CRC to the German Research Foundation (DFG)

The multi-disciplinary research collaboration will involve and integrate all research work in the food system value chain, learn from best practices and compare the food system diversification for sustainable nutrition activities between the global north and the global south (Germany-Ghana). The collaboration is also intended to build the capacity of researchers and graduate students through joint supervision of research work and exchange programmes.  

Welcoming participants to the workshop, Prof. Asante iterated that the purpose of the gathering was to brainstorm and share ideas for developing a proposal on FoodDiverse.  He stated that the comprehensive nature of the proposed research resulted in the careful selection of researchers in the food system value chain i.e., production, markets, and consumption. He noted that research in the food system value chain especially at UG is limited to specific areas, hence the need to integrate, collaborate and inter-connect all the research to involve a wide range of expertise.

Prof. Asante presented participants with on ongoing research in the food system value chain at UG to buttress the need to bring all research related to the food system value chain under one umbrella. He highlighted the potential value of Ghana’s food system value chain and indicated that factors such as climate change and other challenges could be potential barriers.


                       Prof. Felix Ankomah Asante delivering a presentation

Prof. Qaim stated that there is the need to put in place systems that promote equitable access to nutritious food while protecting the environment and consumers. He identified a lack of collaboration and integration between experts in the food system value chain, resulting in shortfalls in research findings in food systems. He noted that the purpose of the workshop is to ascertain the capacity of the two research universities to carry out effective research and analysis in the food system value chain. He proposed the formation of Work Packages (WP) to deal with the various sectors of the food systems value chain. These WP include;

  • WP 1 – FoodDiverse: Research Ideas Related to Agricultural Production:
  • WP 2 – FoodDiverse: Research Ideas Related to Markets and Institutions
  • WP 3 – FoodDiverse: Research Ideas Related to Nutrition and Health
  • WP 4 – FoodDiverse: Research Ideas Related to Consumer Behaviours


                                      Prof. Matin Qaim delivering a presentation 

Representatives from Bonn led presentations and discussions on the contents and format of the proposed work packages. Participants suggested the formation of thematic work packages from the broad work packages outlined for an extensive and comprehensive research.

Prof. Qaim presented practical steps involved in the data collection process of the research in relation to the work packages. The presentation provided details on the procedures, processes, requirements, laboratory experiments, analysis, and the capacity to undertake the data collection.

The delegation from UoB took the opportunity to inspect the laboratory and other facilities available at the West Africa Centre for Crop Improvement (WACCI), Biotechnology Centre, Noguchi Memorial Institute for Medical Research (NMIMR) and Food Process Engineering to familiarize themselves with facilities which will be central to the research process.



        Delegation from UoB Inspecting laboratory facilities at selected units at UG