Mak Commissions Orange Fleshed Sweet Potato Puree Processing Unit

Makerere University College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences (CAES), represented by Dr. Richard Miiro, from the Department of Extension and Innovation Studies on 6th April 2022 commissioned a Vitamin A rich Orange Fleshed Sweet Potato (OFSP) Puree Processing Unit at Lishe Products Limited in Kasangati, Wakiso District. With support from BioInnovate Africa Programme Phase II Initiative, the College received funding for a project titled: OFSP Puree for Bakery Applications in East Africa for Nutrition, Post-harvest Loss Management, and Youth & Women Economic Empowerment, to work with a private sector entity to operationalize a processing unit that makes bakery and fried foods ingredient from Vitamin A rich OFSP.

 

Lishe Products Limited was the private sector partner selected to host the processing unit after competitive scrutiny, although Makerere University takes responsibility for the technical assistance, research and training components in the project. Partner companies/institutions included: Euro Ingredients Kenya – PI; International Potato Centre Kenya – Co-PI, Hawassa University Ethiopia, Makerere University Uganda, and Women’s Bakery – Rwanda. The OFSP Puree product will be on sale after  Uganda Bureau of Standards (UNBS)’ approval around the second week of May 2022.

OFSP Puree

The OFSP Puree project started in 2018 and ended on 30th March 2022. The overall goal of the project was to contribute to improved nutrition and incomes in Uganda, Ethiopia, Tanzania, Rwanda and Kenya (consortium countries) through a profitable and vibrant OFSP-based food value chain, and to promote the commercialization of Orange-fleshed Sweet potato (OFSP) puree products through demand creation, value addition and processing in baked and fried bakery products.

Specific objectives included:

  • Increasing the productivity and production of OFSP among smallholder farmers linked to the processing activities in select regions of consortium countries
  • Establishing OFSP puree processing factories in Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda, and Ethiopia
  • Developing market chains for OFSP-puree based bakery food products in consortium countries
  • Piloting shelf-stable (12-24 months) OFSP puree for use in bakeries, culinary (coffee shops, hotels and restaurants) and ready to eat food formulations in Kenya using hot fill thermal processing technology

In his remarks, Dr. Richard Miiro, the Country Project Team Leader appreciated BioInnovate Africa for funding the project. He expressed gratitude to Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe, Vice Chancellor of Makerere University and the entire CAES leadership for trusting them with the project, and Lishe and other partners for the job well done during the project implementation process. According to Dr. Miiro, the main aim of the OFSP project was to promote commercialization of the Orange fleshed potatoes developed by Ugandan scientists as well as establishing a Puree processing factory. OFSP Puree is a solution to Bakery Applications in East Africa: For Nutrition, Post-harvest loss management and youth & women Economic Empowerment. “Sweet Potato Puree is an ingredient used in chapati, bread, cakes and can be used in juice making to reduce the cost of production and enhance quality,” he said.

Dr. Richard Miiro, OFSP Puree Project Team Leader during the commissioning of the Puree processing unit

The Chief Guest, His Worship Muwonge Tom, Mayor Kasangati Town Council congratulated Makerere University, partners and Lishe Products Limited upon the achievement. He appreciated BioInnovate Africa and Makerere University for considering them and promised to team up with residents in the bakery business to promote puree. The Chief Guest was accompanied by other council members including his deputy to the Puree commissioning event.

His Worship Muwonge Tom (R), Mayor Kasangati Town Council, Dr. Richard Miiro (C) and Mr. Kabagambe Stephen (L), Uganda Chamber of Commerce, during the commissioning of the OFSP Puree Processing Unit

The Principal College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences was represented by Dr. Okello Ongom, Director Makerere University Agricultural Research Institute Kabanyolo (MUARIK) who extended appreciation to BioInnovate Africa for funding the research initiative, and the Puree project team for the innovation. He also acknowledged the contribution of the project team towards transforming Makerere into a research-led University as per the 2020-2030 Strategic Plan.

Dr. Okello Ongom, Director MUARIK

In her remarks, Ms. Sonia Mwandime, Director Lishe Products Limited thanked BioInnovate Africa and Makerere University for giving her the opportunity to host the Processing Unit at her business premises. “Without the support of Makerere University, we wouldn’t get this,” she said. In collaboration with Makerere University, Lishe Products Limited produces 250kgs of puree per week. Puree is a gluten-free product used in Chapati, bread, porridge, food, juice and fried products. You do not have to add sugar since the potatoes are already sweet. 700 grams of puree when added to 1 kg of wheat flour can yield 45 chapati as compared to 35 chapati got without adding puree.

Ms. Sonia Mwandime, Director Lishe Products Limited and Bio Fresh, giving her remarks during the commissioning of OFSP Puree processing unit

The Danish Church  AiD (DCA) Country Manager was represented by Mr. Agaba Anthony, and DCA was credited for introducing OFSP roots to Lishe. The Regional PI and Managing Director Euro Ingredients Mr. Magnaghi Antonio was applauded for his great team work skills exhibited during the course of the project. Harvest Plus was represented by  Mr. Jude Asiimwe, Marketing Specialist, who congratulated Makerere University upon the Puree innovation and noted the need for more import substitution given that Ukrain, the major exporter of wheat is at war. Mr. Asiimwe also appreciated Harvest Plus for its plans to link Lishe to other bakeries. Also present at the Puree commissioning event was Mr. Kashu Stephen Tumwesige, a representative  of the Food Processing Unit of National Agricultural Research Laboratories of NARO, who appreciated Makerere University for engaging in input substitution and noted the need to have more initiatives in that regard, “This not only increase production but also market and are beneficial healthwise”, he said.

Mr. Kabagambe Stephen from Uganda Chamber of Commerce applauded Makerere University for championing business incubation in the country. “Puree innovation is in line with the current government priority programmes under the National Development Plan (NDP III) and its associated with the Parish Development Model,” he noted. According to Mr. Kabagambe, prices of wheat are already high and with these substitutes, it will not only increase production but also address the market challenges. He cited the health benefits of puree and the need for Uganda Chamber of Commerce together with quality assurance bodies to assist such business initiatives to grow.

Mr. Kabagambe Stephen, Uganda Chamber of Commerce, giving his remarks during the commissioning of OFSP Puree processing unit

Mr. Segawa Jimmy, Jonisa Bakery noted that there are significant improvements in bakery products when mixed with puree. “Puree changes the physical appearance of Bakery products & increases profits. It increases profit margins compared to the products baked without puree.” Mr. Segawa commended Makerere University for the partnerships geared towards improving livelihoods.

According to Mr. Kwikiriza Norman, CIP Nairobi, Puree is a good substitute for wheat, promotes food security, and nutritious with Vitamin A.

Participants touring the chapati stalls making use of OFSP Puree

Phases of project Implementation

Phase 1: Developing a commercially viable prototype. EIL (Euro Ingredient Limited) has OFSP puree products prototypes and equipment designs ready to be piloted in East Africa

 Phase 2: Preparatory period. EIL will work in Ethiopia, Rwanda, Tanzania, and Uganda with partners to identify key OFSP puree products for their markets. EIL will work on equipment, factory design, and food product development. CIP and university partners will conduct consumer acceptance and willingness to pay, as well as gender and nutrition impact studies.

Phase 3: Start-up period. The puree factories will be established in Ethiopia, Tanzania, Uganda, and Rwanda by OFSP farmers engaged in CIP projects and start producing OFSP varieties. OFSP puree bakery products will be launched and promoted in consortium countries for rapid uptake.

Phase 4: Shelf-Stable OFSP puree trials in Kenya: In Kenya, the OFSP puree bread value chain has been successfully operating over the past three years with the involvement of CIP, Organi Limited, Euro-Ingredients, and Tuskys supermarkets. An OFSP puree processor in Homa Bay county (Organi Limited) makes puree and supplies frozen puree to Tuskys and Naivas Supermarket bakeries in Nairobi.

Products from OFSP Puree showcased

OFSP Puree Project Beneficiaries

The direct beneficiaries of the project are to be mostly OFSP smallholder women farmers (15,000 targeted) in consortium countries, since most of the sweet potato production is carried out by women. They, and their families will benefit in the following ways:

  • OFSP women smallholder farmers in consortium countries will directly benefit through creation of markets for the OFSP fresh roots and hence income.
  • Smallholder farmers’ post-harvest losses from OFSP will be significantly reduced because of increased marketing opportunities from OFSP puree processors.
  • Youths and women in Ethiopia, Rwanda, Uganda and Tanzania will be economically empowered.
  • Street vendors, informal bakers, rural bakeries, food outlets, restaurants will have access to a shelf-stable, nutritious, affordable and versatile ingredient and a steady income for their families.
  • In addition, indirect beneficiaries will be the urban and rural consumers who will have access to nutritious and healthier bakery products compared.
OFSP Puree processing by one of the operators at Lishe Products Limited

OFSP Puree Project Key Outputs

  1. Over the project period the key output has been producing OFSP puree at pilot level starting the month of September 2021.
  2. Prior to this, a pilot survey of “Consumer and market survey of bakery ingredients, products and fried foods in Kampala was carried out.
  3. Staff at Lishe received training on business readiness and they developed a business model canvas.
  4. A business acceleration coaching has also been provided by Growth Africa to staff of Lishe products Ltd.
  5. Conducted a laboratory study to determine the best way to preserve OFSP Puree using chemical preservatives
  6. Worked out a procedure for industrial scale application of preservatives into OFSP puree.
  7. Initiated on HACCP training for Lishe Staff
  8. Initiated and have guidance from UNBS in the process of getting the Q mark
Lishe production team showcasing some of the OFSP puree products
Orange Fleshed Sweet Potato cleaning machine
Steaming machine for OFSP

 

Some of the Machines at the OFSP Puree processing unit

Article Compiled by Kasemiire Mariam, Web Administrator, CAES



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