Competition aims to boost safe local food in two countries

Competition aims to boost safe local food in two countries

by Sue Jones
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EatSafe has launched a challenge to improve food safety in Ethiopia and Nigeria.

Evidence and Action Towards Safe, Nutritious Food (EatSafe) is a five-year program led by the Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN) and funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).

In 2019, 33 percent of surveyed Ethiopians and 20 percent of Nigerians said they had experienced serious harm from food and water, leading to illness, malnutrition and stunting in children.

The challenge call is open to students, researchers and entrepreneurs passionate about food safety and nutrition, to share their ideas on how existing innovations can be adapted and applied in traditional food markets and along value chains to resolve upstream food safety issues, which would increase the amount of safe food reaching local markets, where hundreds of thousands of people buy food.

Applicants based in Ethiopia or Nigeria will be asked to select one of seven innovation categories and develop a concept of how it can be adapted in a local food market.

These categories are food waste technology; peer-learning platforms; platforms for supply chain management; processing; retailing and packaging; sensors for food safety assessment and urban-rural linkages; and food logistics.

Making local food safer
Richard Pluke, chief of party at EatSafe, said: “With the EatSafe Innovation Challenge, we are trying to get national talent to contribute to making their fellow citizens healthier through safer food. Anyone passionate about food safety and/or nutrition can apply and we highly encourage women and young people to take part in what will undoubtedly be a highly rewarding adventure.”

Solutions will help to tackle issues such as a lack of consumer awareness around safe and nutritious food; lack of knowledge on food origins; food perishability; undetected harmful substances; and food loss.

A selection committee of food safety experts will rate entries on a scale of 1 to 5, with 1 being the lowest and 5 the highest. The five selection criteria are food safety and nutritional benefit, feasibility, adaptability in low-and-middle-income countries, scalability, and environmental sensitivity.

Following workshops and mentoring from May to August, two out of five shortlisted finalists for each country will be selected.

Four winners from the national EatSafe challenges will be chosen to participate in the global finals in Denmark in October 2022 and have a chance of winning $10,000. The deadline to apply is April 30.

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