The Association of African Universities and the International Union of Food Science and Technology (IUFoST) are in a partnership to strengthen Africa’s capacity to secure food for its citizens, in line with actualising the targets of the Sustainable Development Goals and spurring the continent’s economic growth.
A five-year Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed between AAU and IUFoST in the last quarter of year 2022, provides a shared blueprint for the engagement between the two parties and focuses on urgent actions to be undertaken in achieving the overall goals – including providing substantive support and capacity building in the thematic areas of Food Science, Food Safety and Technology, Agro-Food Production and Processing.
“Already, the AAU and IUFoST have far advanced in the development of a work plan for the duration of the MoU, which seeks to roll out critical interventions to reduce food losses and waste. The target is also to mitigate environmental effects through the promotion of innovative and new technologies; capacity building and education and training at all levels, aimed specifically to combat undernutrition, and ensure safe food for all within the continent” – said Prof. Olusola Bandele Oyewole, the Secretary General of the AAU, who also signed the MoU on behalf of the Association.
‘The International Union of Food Science and Technology (IUFoST) represents food scientists, technologists, and engineers globally, and has three main tenets
– Education, Food and Nutrition Security, and Food Safety. We are certain that a lot of impact will be made through this collaboration with the AAU, leveraging the strong commitment of our two institutions, and the support of all stakeholders in Africa’ – Aman Wirakartakusumah, President of IUFoST.
The terms of reference for the collaboration between the AAU and IUFoST include the a) sharing and development of needed expertise at local, regional, and international levels; b)Sharing such scientific expertise for the purposes of strengthening capacity building in Africa and expanding the model globally with regional inputs; c) Jointly developing training materials to be delivered through universities at undergraduate and graduate levels with international approvals through IUFoST and the associated academia; d) Sharing innovations, success stories of graduates and young researchers and training to catalyse additional funding in the AAU network; e) Working together to provide education for the consumer on food nutrition, security, safety and sustainability through the application of educational programming; and finally, f) Promoting a network of researchers and institutions in the areas of Food Science and Technology in African Universities.
In achieving the above terms of reference, the AAU and IUFoST have set out to jointly develop a Food Science Database which will serve as Africa’s powerhouse and one-stop-shop for important information on all African universities teaching Food Science and Technology; names, contacts, and expertise of lecturers teaching Food Science and Technology; and the research focus and specialities of these experts. The development of this database fits into the vision of the African Research Innovation and Development (AfRID) network.
The partners will also create platforms for the strengthening and capacity building of early career food scientists (graduates) in the region and implement initiatives to benchmark Food Science and Technology curricula in Universities within the region using IUFoST Curricula, focusing specifically on the Food Safety curricula.
Institutions with aligned visions of ensuring food security for Africa are invited to partner the AAU and the IUFoST in the implementation and roll-out of these exciting initiatives.