According to FAO, some 54 percent of Africa's work force relies on the agricultural sector for livelihoods, income and employment, especially in family farming. Its however, characterized by low productivity due to numerous constraints in production that include among others climate change, pests and diseases, declining soil fertility, low quality inputs and inadequate extension services.
This condition is made worse by the rapidly increasing population. Africa will need to feed over 2 billion people by 2050 while coping with unprecedented demographic, socio-economic, environmental, climatic and health transitions. Meanwhile, undernourishment is still on the rise, affecting almost 20% of its population now.
Bio4Africa’s contribution to Africa’s bioeconomy is critical at this time to ensuring Africa’s food security imperative. BIO4AFRICA sets off to support the deployment of the bioeconomy in rural Africa via the development of bio-based solutions and value chains with a circular approach to drive the cascading use of local resources and diversify the income of farmers.
The projects focus is on transferring simple, small-scale and robust bio-based technologies adapted to local biomass, needs and contexts.
In this regard, KRC Uganda is partnering with the European Union in the Bio4Africa consortium to establish a green biorefinery in Fort Portal, Uganda. Together with other partners in the European Union and Africa, Bio4Africa aims to empower farmers to sustainably produce a variety of higher value bio-based products and energy, including animal feed, fertilizer, pollutant absorbents, construction materials, packaging, solid fuel for cooking and catalysts for biogas production.
It’s envisaged that this products menu will significantly improve the environmental, economic and social performance of forage agri-food systems.
KRC Uganda will among other roles produce protein concentrate, liquid whey, and press cake from forage species and grasses selected according to their percentage protein content, percentage dry matter yield under optimal agronomic condition and conduct feed trials on cattle, pigs and poultry. These products are expected to improve voluntary feed intake, milk yield and milk composition in cattle; egg quality and production in poultry and; average daily weight gain, feed conversion efficiency in pigs.
KRC Uganda will also produce soil conditioners using manure generated from the feed trials. The manure will undergo Hydrothermal Carbonization (HTC) to produce biochar that will be used in soil improvement trials.
It is therefore my shared belief that along the way, the balanced mix of 13 African and 12 EU partners participating in the BIO4AFRICA project engaging in solid multi-actor collaboration with rural communities and government, will develop novel sustainable value chains driven by circular business models and supporting deployment in other areas, while safeguarding agronomic, environmental, social and economic sustainability.