Global Challenges Research Fund Workshop

5-9th February 2018, University of Pretoria (ZA)

In partnership with other leading European organisations, EuroFIR AISBL is supporting a workshop that aims to help researchers from across Africa exploit local food composition data for improved health.

Hosted by the University of Pretoria, the workshop has brought together 35 scientists, nutritionists and policy-makers from 10 African countries (South Africa, Burkina Faso, Nigeria, Tanzania, Zimbabwe, Kenya, Madagascar, Botswana, Ghana, Ethiopia) to share best practice in generating reliable, standardised data on the composition of foods, and set up networks to share data online.

These data, and the tools to access and exploit it, provided through EuroFIR membership for 13 African countries (South Africa, Burkina Faso, Nigeria, Tanzania, Zimbabwe, Kenya, Madagascar, Botswana, Ghana and Ethiopia plus Senegal, Cameroon, Tunisia), will underpin the development and implementation of local food and nutrition policies, regulatory measures, labelling and health advice.

Researchers from the Quadram Institute (UK), Wageningen University (NL) and the University of Pretoria (ZA) are contributing to this event, which was funded through the RCUK Global Challenges Research Fund.

Over the course of the five-day workshop, participants will receive expert training in designing sampling protocols, calculating nutrient values, assessing data quality, and using appropriate tools for data compilation, management and data sharing. However, by working closely with regional networks, including the FAO International Network of Food Data Systems’ AFROFOODS, the wider community of African nations’ public health researchers will benefit through further training and capacity building, as well as access to the EuroFIR online resources, including e-learning, and facilitation of exchanges with European food composition data compiler organisations.

“We hope that this workshop will help to build local capacity in food composition data management, that will benefit countries across Africa” said Paul Finglas, President and Managing Director of EurFIR AISBL. By giving researchers the knowledge and tools to generate data that matches shared standards, we can get more up-to-date data online and searchable so that it can provide a sound basis for nutrition and public health advice.”

Hettie Schönfeldt, director of the new ARUA CoE for Food Security led by the University of Pretoria (ZA), in collaboration with the University of Ghana (Legon, GH) and the University of Nairobi (KE) “targeted approaches to facilitate agricultural and food system transformation are as essential as partnerships in research and innovation in order to attain sustainable food security and nutrition in Africa and elsewhere”.

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