‘ProGrOV’ reconnects consumers with the complex systems producing their food

Tanzanian student from ICROFS project took up the challenge from the Danish Minister of Environment and Food in the Case Competition during the World Food Summit in Copenhagen in August together with three other students from USA, Belgium and Denmark.

2017.10.02 | Helene Kristensen

When PhD student Adolf Saria from Sokoine Unversity of Agriculture in Tanzania in 2011 applied for a MSc scholarship in the project ‘Productivity and Growth in Organic Value Chains’ (ProGrOv) he did not imagine that he six years later would find himself in the same room as Ministers of Agriculture and decision makers from international organisations presenting ideas on how to use gastronomy to reconnect consumers with the complex systems producing their food and using it as a tool for building a more sustainable and just world.

Nevertheless, it became a reality when Adolf as part of a group of 29 students took up the challenge of the ‘Case Competition’ organized by the Danish Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Fisheries during the World Food Summit 2017, 23-25 August in Copenhagen, by developing project ideas that they were invited to present at a special forum during the summit.

Interview with Adolf Saria

Adolf Started in ProGrOV as MSc student and is now a ProGROV PhD student. He is studying green manure for soil fertility and weed management in organic farming systems at Sokoine University of Agriculture in Tanzania, and had the opportunity to participate in the above-mentioned Case Competition at the World Food Summit during a study tour to Denmark to work on his PhD with his external supervisor from DTU.

In the Case Competition, Adolf worked in a group of four with students from Denmark, USA and Belgium. They developed a concept of community cooking that based on food waste from supermarkets also addressed issues such as involving youth in learning how to cook better food and giving people with limited resources access to better food and at the same time creating a sphere for social interactions in the local community. 

In this video, you can watch an interview with Adolf Saria where he describes how his group addressed the questions of the case competition, what the key recommendations were and how he connected the challenge with his research topic, research experience and the knowledge gained from working with organic value chains during his studies.

Productivity and Growth in Organic Value Chains (ProGrOV)

ProGrOv is a research and development project financed by the Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs. It is a collaboration between universities in Denmark, Tanzania, Kenya and Uganda, coordinated by ICROFS. The project partners have furthermore collaborated closely with the organic movements in the three participating countries who have facilitated the stakeholder orientation

The project is based on a value chains approach where all studies somehow inform the development of the productivity and growth of existing value chains in East Africa, with the value chains being either organic pineapples for export, high value organic vegetable for the domestic high value market in the cities or in the tourism sector.

The value change approach developed by the project involves identifying product qualities and values as perceive by stakeholders in the value chains in a participatory process; and thereafter ‘translating’ the challenges or the needs for improvements into research questions and implementing research activities in a process that invites feed-back from key stakeholders. This means that the research and development of more specific aspects of organic value chains must take into consideration the complexities of the food producing system and the connection with for example consumers.

In the project 9 PhD students and 7 MSc students from Sokoine University of Agriculture (Tanzania), University of Nairobi (Kenya), and Makerere University (Uganda) were recruited to undertake research projects on various aspects of organic value chains: soil and pest management, livestock integration and governance of value chains with support from external supervisors from Aarhus University, University of Copenhagen and Technical University of Denmark.

Interesting new knowledge has been generated during the implementation of the research projects on the specific research questions as well as more general experiences from implementation of research in a collaborative manner with farmers and organisations.

New ProGrOV website

In ProGrOV we would like to contribute to the development of a research platform that can support organic value chains in East Africa by sharing the results and experiences gained in the project as well as we would like to provide recommendations on how research can support the development of organic value chains.

We have established a new project website with particular focus on the individual studies as well as the lessons learned in Tanzania, Kenya and Uganda. The project will be completed by the end of 2017. By then the website will be fully developed. In the meantime – please visit the ProGrOV website  - to get more information about the project and its research activities.

Agriculture and food
Tags: ProGrOV, Danida, ICROFS, Organic farming systems