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The 1st research centre on food technology in Africa created with the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona's collaboration

The UAB and Angola?s Universidade José Eduardo dos Santos have reached an agreement to build the first research and technological centre of the African continent focused on the agri-food sector, which aims to foster the Angolan and Sub-Saharan industry.

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08 July 2010 11:55 PM

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ACN
Barcelona (CNA).- The first African centre that will perform research and facilitate the transfer of technology in the agri-food industry will be built in Huambo, Angola thanks to the collaboration of the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (UAB). The project is expected to begin in 2011. The UAB’s Food Technology Special Research Centre and the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine will participate in the project which will train technicians who will apply this knowledge to develop Angola’s food industry, one severely affected by the armed conflicts the country has suffered. The first project is to map out all the traditional food resources in order to analyse their industrialisation possibilities.
The UAB and the Universidade José Eduardo dos Santos in Angola will work together to built what will become the first centre of its kind in the entire Sub-Saharan Africa. It will be a research centre specialised in agri-food technology and will be used to study nutrition properties of food as well as the processes which can be applied for industrialisation.

The director of the Food Technology Special Research Centre, Buenaventura Guamis, has stressed the importance of this collaboration, which will foster Angola’s food industry. He has explained that one of the first projects will be to map out all Angola’s traditional food and elaborate the respective nutritional table. This project will have the practical use to better know the components of Angola’s food, classifying it and standardising its production.

The final aim is to transfer the technology into becoming a knowledge platform at the service of the local food industry. Angola’s food industry is weak after many years of armed conflict. In fact, 80% of the food consumed in the Southern Africa country comes from abroad.

Another project, much more focused, will be to analyse the properties of “omavele”, a milk fermented inside of a pumpkin that some preliminary research associates to a longer life expectancy for the people who drink it.

The collaboration with both universities will also create a Masters course on Technology and Production, lasting 2 years, which will be taught by staff from the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine of the UAB and staff from the Faculty of Agrarian Sciences of Huambo.

In fact, the research centre will be located in a 1,600 square meter space next to the Huambo faculty. The centre will be split in two main parts: 1 lab specialised in microbiology and food chemistry and a pilot centre to develop industrial processes. The pilot centre will occupy most of the space and it will contain: a pasteurisation zone, an area to elaborate cheese and different types of fermented milk, climate-controlled rooms to mature, refrigerate and freeze food, a space to process vegetables, an area to pack food, another to process meat products and one for vegetable based milks. In addition, there will be a hall to host 15 researchers and post-doc students.

The UAB brings both human capital and knowledge to the project. The main funding comes from the Spanish Agency of International Cooperation, which brought in around 1.5 million euros for the project. The rest of the money is brought by UAB’s solidarity foundation, with 50,000 euros. Together with some Angolan institutions, they fund the project with a total of 65,000 euros.

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  • A researcher from UAB

  • A researcher from UAB