Innovative approaches to value addition and commercialization of climate smart crops for enhanced food security and nutrition in Africa and beyond

Project consortium and fund         

Thematic and geographic area of the project:    

  • Sustainable food security
  • Nutritious value chain
  • Food Value chain

Project’s summary/abstract:                    

NUTRIFOODS seeks solutions on how to increase the use of Climate Smart Food Crops (CSFC) in baked products to provide nutritionally-rich food that meets consumer needs while favouring local economies. In Africa, rural communities traditionally prepare meals from locally grown crops like cassava, sorghum and pulses.  However, with fast population growth, massive urbanization, and increasing disposable incomes, consumption of wheat breads is increasing rapidly and displacing traditional meals. The bread products available to consumers, though tasty, are not nutritionally balanced.

A major economic and food security problem resulting from this transition is that Africa now imports nearly 60% of its wheat requirements. Hence, the baking industry in Africa requires functional, nutritious flour from locally available crops to replace wheat in breads. Conversely, in Europe, increased prevalence of coeliac disease, gluten-sensitivity and irritable bowel syndrome have created a growing demand for high quality gluten-free products. However, many current gluten-free products are low in dietary fiber, protein, micronutrients and phytochemicals and high in starches, sugars, fats and food additives

NUTRIFOODS will address the technological and human skills issues to enable the successful manufacture and uptake of nutritious, wheat-reduced and gluten-free breads in Africa and Europe.

Project’s main objective(s):                             

NUTRIFOODS aims to enhance food and nutrition security and improve livelihoods of stakeholders in the CSFC value chain.

Theory of Change and Impact Pathway

Summary ToC with assumptions                         

NUTRIFOODS purposes to build a value chain for the CSFC in SSA, (cassava, sorghum, finger millet, amaranth and cowpeas) that contributes to ending food and nutrition insecurity and improved livelihoods of local communities. This will be reached through a market-driven approach enabling demand for the locally produced CSFC. The key strategies to achieve this are: i) using CSFC to develop functional ingredients with properties that allow partial or total replacement of wheat in bread products; ii) understanding the supply and market chain of CSFC with the aim of addressing their limitations; iii) using markets as key incentivizing drivers of value chains; iv) engaging commercial partners to enhance technology uptake and commercialization. 

The focal point will be the development of commercially viable processes and systems to produce nutritionally-rich and functional ingredients from CSFC, for the partial or complete replacement of wheat in breads without compromising product sensory qualities. This will be based on a precise analysis of bottlenecks and business opportunities including the different consumer preferences. NUTRIFOODS has engaged several commercial partners in different partner countries to actively participate in and direct the project. The engagement of commercial partners will continue through piloting and commercialization of the project outputs.

Expected outcomes and impact:                          


  • Increased acceptance of gluten-free and wheat reduced breads from CSFC
  • Commercial production of functional bread ingredients from CSFC


  • Increased market opportunities for CSFC with benefits accruing to small holder farmers. 
  • Increased business and job opportunities in the CSFC value chain.
  • Effective and sustainable CSFC value chain that benefits the various stakeholders.