One of the greatest global challenges at present is to provide the world's growing population with healthy food in such a way that future generations have sufficient resources to meet their own needs. It is a fact that worldwide the proportion of those who do not have sufficient food has declined significantly in recent decades. However, particularly in Sub-Saharan Africa, the number of people suffering from hunger dropped less than in other regions. Recently, these figures have risen again due to war and conflicts. Remarkably, the growth of the world's population is particularly pronounced where many people are already starving.
In addition to the 'energetic' supply of food, the question of a balanced and healthy diet is now more important than ever before. The figures of the World Health Organization show that, in addition to a lack of vital minerals and vitamins (hidden hunger), obesity and associated diseases are on the rise. This development is taking place against the background of a - due to soil degradation - declining production area, decreasing water reserves and frequent occurrence of droughts. In order to address these challenges, the development of value chains must take into account whether and to what extent particularly disadvantaged population groups are adequately served, rather than following a purely economic perspective.
In addition to a significant increase in the production of plant and animal foodstuffs, it is also important to improve all processes after production considerably, e. g. post-harvest treatment, processing, transport and marketing, in order to reduce losses and preserve the valuable ingredients. Regionally adapted and well-coordinated strategies must be developed in order to improve the value chains from the perspective of food security, ecological sustainability, food safety and a healthy diet. In order to ensure a needs-based supply, it is also necessary to take into account consumers' preferences with regard to their food and to improve knowledge about the composition and preparation of healthy food. The research of the FoodAfrica consortium addresses these aspects of food security with a focus on Sub-Saharan Africa.
Existing expertise: Value Chain Management, Sustainable Agricultural Production, Post-Harvest Management, Nutritional Sciences, Governance, control of infectious diseases (Malaria, Parasites of humans and animals).