by Clifford Spencer
The M4L (Milling4Life) team has just returned from the IAOM event in Ethiopia, where I am happy to report that our initial launch activity went smoothly, and more importantly, we have started to build interest in a potential project to address our objectives on improving human nutrition on the African continent.
Developing African states, in particular Ethiopia in Sub-Saharan Africa, is home to some of the most nutritionally insecure people in the world.
Protein-energy malnutrition is observed most frequently in developing countries such as Ethiopia. During our visit to the IAOM we had interesting discussions with the Ethiopian Millers Association and benefited from the skilled input of their vice-President on a proposal to boost the use of a successful Ethiopian crop (Beans) as a protein source for direct human nutrition and also as a protein based feed for domestic fish production for the population of Ethiopia.
Aquaculture has the potential of producing large quantities of lower-cost, protein rich food; whilst at the same time contributing to the livelihoods of the rural poor because it generates food of high value.
Aquaculture therefore is the most important source of growth in fish supply for human consumption.
However in Ethiopia fish protein accounts for 0.1 percent of protein in the diet, and nearly all is sourced from fisheries as opposed to aquaculture, which is a nascent industry in Ethiopia.
The skill of the miller
What ensued was a prime example of the skill of the miller being brought to bear on the most significant problem facing the 100 million strong Ethiopian population i.e. feeding themselves with a healthy life giving diet.
The regular provision of high quality protein is essential for human life and especially for pregnant women and in particular their children in the important formative first few years of their life.
Helpfully Ethiopia is the second largest producer of Faba beans globally but there is much to do to make them suitable for various forms of human consumption. Firstly Faba beans have an anti-nutritional compound in their shell so its removal is a key process for the miller.
Also pin-milling of faba bean seeds, either whole or de-hulled, produces flours that contain two distinct populations of particles of size and density. Using air-classification separation techniques produces a protein concentrate (the light fraction) and a starchy flour (the heavy fraction).
Helpfully the application of air-classification techniques to grain legume processing has relatively low capital requirements and removes the need for costly effluent disposal operations. As a guide the composition of the protein “light” fraction and starch “heavy” fraction obtained by passing the seeds through the pin-mill and air classifier is given in the table below.
We can then by example, through the skill of the miller, use the bean flour as the basis for producing a pelleted fish feed that is nutritionally balanced (with the required additional inputs) in tailored rations.
This is to provide the desired rapid growth in the fish being fed. We will need to see the establishment of complimentary fish feeding trials in Ethiopia to provide experience and data to allow a successful industrial development.
However in this respect and through the Ethiopian government we are already in conversation with the United Nations Industrial Development Organisation program manager for aquaculture development in Ethiopia.
We are also currently in discussions with UK and EU funders for this programme and an Ethiopian miller is a potential recipient of funding for the milling side of this development.
Read the full article HERE.
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