By Boaz Liesdek, consultant agribusiness Q-Point
One of the three outcomes of the project is to build organisational capacity at Hawassa University to deliver services to the community and industry in a sustainable and efficient manner. This is realised by setting up community service pilot projects focused on nutrition, production and value addition enhancement. This goes hand in hand with developing capacity at Hawassa University (HU) to deliver consultancy and tailored training courses in the region.
TAILOR-MADE TRAINING VALUE CHAIN MANAGEMENT
The kick-off of this activity was a tailor-made training on value chain management focused on capacity building in the concepts and theories of value chain management and analysis (18-20 February 2020). Twenty HU staff members attended the training week. Potential value chains in the region were selected and analysed, namely the avocado, honey and coffee value chain.
STAKEHOLDERS AND NEEDS
Key stakeholders were identified and interviewed by the groups to understand their problems regarding nutrition, production and value addition. Stakeholders included producing and processing associations for coffee and honey, the SUNVADO avocado processing factory and the Yirgalem Integrated Agri-Industrial Park (IAIP). Specific needs and opportunities for value chain improvements have been identified and serve as a starting point for the three pilot projects that HU staff will be supporting in the coming period with support from the project consortium.
The project-based learning approach involving stakeholders ultimately aims to enhance the learning of HU staff and students in real-time problem-solving activities and create win-win situations, thereby strengthening collaboration efforts.
YIRGALEM INTEGRATED AGRI-INDUSTRIAL PARK
The Yirgalem IAIP was recently established and is going to host more than 150 enterprises on an area of 294 hectares, with a focus on export enhancement. The IAIP expects industries that are part of a wide variety of value chains, such as milk, coffee, honey, papaya, egg, spices, banana, pineapple, ginger, passion fruit, macadamia and nuts. The IAIP is designed to maintain international food safety and quality standards and will collaborate with HU to make use of its well-equipped and accredited nutrition laboratory. Link to project Yirgalem IAIP
Several food science and technology graduates from HU are currently employed by companies in the IAIP. Additional opportunities for collaboration with HU include tailor-made training for IAIP staff, companies and farmers; exchange of staff; research collaborations; consultancy services; supporting start-ups of HU graduates; providing internship opportunities and strengthening linkages with ATVETs.
PILOT PROJECT SUNVADO – HU
The SUNVADO factory is located in the IAIP and produces avocado oil for cosmetics and nutrition products. The factory was established in 2018, is currently processing more than 52,000 kg of avocados daily and exports its products. The supply of avocados, the feedstock, comes from 22 cooperatives representing more than 70.000 farmers.
We learned that there are 5 food science graduates from the Hawassa University Food Science programme already working in the SUNVADO industry. These graduates work in laboratory technician and production quality control positions. The company indicates that they currently use only 15% of the raw material, resulting in large amounts of waste. The pilot project with HU is looking at these waste streams, how to prevent waste and how to realise maximum added value.