By Sam Elolu[1]

Cassava Project

Cassava is a key staple in Uganda and is increasingly gaining popularity as an income generating crop. The Regional Universities Forum for Capacity Building in Agriculture has engaged university-based research teams to generate innovations and solutions to constraints along the cassava value chain. This storyline features one of the graduate students working with a research team at Gulu University that is focusing on improving the protein and micro-nutrient content of gari (cassava meal) for primary school feeding in North and North Eastern Uganda. It also addresses value addition in cassava as both a food crop and income generating crop.

As a graduate student, my thesis research is based on the understanding that nutrition is key for the proper growth and development of children and pre-requisite for achievement of full human potential. To secure food security and nutritional sufficiency, there are many opportunities and avenues for fortification of staple crops such cassava. Recognising the importance of child nutrition, the Government of Uganda is encouraging provision of school meals (including breakfast for primary school pupils). The use of local foods to provide nutritious and affordable meals for the economically disadvantaged regions of the country is therefore a key intervention that will contribute to the increased school attendance, better nutrition and educational achievement.

The research seeks to optimise the formulation of gari using soy beans and mukene (silver fish) to improve its protein and micronutrient content, assess the acceptability of the nutritionally improved product among primary school children, and test the effect of fortification on the keeping quality of gari.

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MasterCardThe 2016 Innovation Competition is currently open. As in 2015, this competition requires proposals that seek to design, pilot, test and launch new financial products and services that can effectively meet the financing needs of people living in poverty in rural and agricultural areas.

To see the results of the 2015 Innovation Competition, kindly click here.

Is your idea innovative?

  • What is the potential for the proposed idea to change access to financial services in rural Africa?
  • In what way is the proposed idea new? Is it new to the financial services sector, new to the country, new to the continent? Perhaps it is even a first in the world?
  • To what extent does the proposed project reach financially underserved markets?

The Innovation Competition is open to project proposals where implementation will take place in the following countries:

  • Benin
  • Burkina Faso
  • Burundi
  • Cameroon
  • Côte d’Ivoire
  • Djibouti
  • DRC
  • Ethiopia
  • The Gambia
  • Ghana
  • Kenya
  • Liberia
  • Madagascar
  • Malawi
  • Mali
  • Mozambique
  • Niger
  • Rwanda
  • Senegal
  • Sierra Leone
  • Tanzania
  • Togo
  • Uganda
  • Zambia

The 2015 Innovation Competition ran from 20 January 2015 to 15 March 2015. The 2016 Innovation Competition runs from 1 February 2016 to 28 March 2016. Click here to read more.


The ISPC Science Forum 2016 will be held from 12-14 April 2016 in Addis Ababa addressing the topic of: “Agricultural research for rural prosperity: rethinking the pathways”.

Motivated early career scientists interested in receiving ISPC support to participate in the Forum in Addis Ababa can apply here: http://www.scienceforum2016.org/early-career-scientists/

There is no age limit to ECS, but the target is mainly for post-Docs although graduate students may also apply. “Early career” is defined as those who have the background and research experience, but do not have an established career or professional experience.

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