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Food Science And Nutrition Research Directorate Introduced A 10 Year Strategy

Food science and nutrition research directorate launched 10 years research strategy on May 12, 2013 E.C at Hiruy Conference Hall, EIAR.

Scientific research backed by laboratory equipment that has been playing key role in innovation and economic development at the early stagy of industrial revolution. Parts of natural science such as chemistry, nutrition and microbiology without the support of laboratory research where stagnated in the vicious circle of trial and error.

Dr Kassaye Tolessa, Director of Food science and nutrition research delivered an opening speech and offers a brief explanation about the objectives and the necessity of a research strategy. The research strategy has three phases as short, medium and long-term program and the role of this road map for guiding the research in the coming ten years.

Why Food science and nutrition research is needed?

Food Science is the discipline in which biology, physical sciences, and engineering are used to

study the nature of foods, the causes of their deterioration, and the principles underlying food processing. According to World Health Organization (WHO) Nutrition is a fundamental pillar of human life, health and development across the entire life span. From the earliest stages of fetus development, at the time of birth, through infancy, childhood, adolescence and old age. Proper food and good nutrition are essential for survival, physical growth, mental development, performance and productivity, health and well-being. It is an essential foundation for human development. Healthy eating in childhood and adolescence is important for proper growth and development and to prevent various health conditions.

Malnutrition and Food insecurity continue to be a major challenge and main agenda in our country and the continent as well. Rates of undernourishment and micronutrient malnutrition remain high. in addition Ethiopia faces diet related non communicable diseases such as cancer, obesity, diabetes, blood pressure and cardiovascular diseases as emerging challenges   particularly among the urban population due to poor consumption behavior. As of 2019, the national prevalence of stunting is 37%, which is greater than the developing country average of 25 %, 7% wasted and 21% underweight among under-five children. The problem is even worse in rural areas.

 Limited availability of nutritious food such as animal sources, fruit and vegetables, high postharvest loses, lack of awareness on nutritious and healthy diets and food safety concerns could explain the increasing trend multiple forms of malnutrition.

To overcome the malnutrition problem and enhance livelihood Food science and Nutrition Research Directorate of EIAR designed three national research programs and work adequately on the area. Thus, Food Processing Technology, Food Quality and Nutrition and Food Safety that will enable the directorate to contribute for efforts being undertaken in addressing the identified gaps.

Food Processing Technology: - Under this program three research thematic area were identified: Product development, Useful Microbes and enzymes and by product utilization.  Time and energy saving technologies and Nutrient loss reduction during processing analysis were included on this protocol.

Food Quality and Nutrition: - This program also aimed to address three thematic areas: Food Characterization, Fortification and functional food and Innovative analytical methods

Food Safety: - Under this program postharvest technologies for quality & safety improvement, chemical and microbial contaminants and Shelf-life improvement will addressed

 

Dr Chilot Yirga, DDG for Administration and Capacity Building of EIAR in his closing remark explained the importance of the workshop in delivering significant knowledge on food and nutrition in research delivery process. He further said that as the workshop deliberated in detail on the way forward, all researchers, stakeholders and policymakers should play their part in the area of food science and nutrition Research.

Finally, Dr. Kassaye addressed the complex and long procurement procedures of government to purchase chemical and reagents for the laboratory analysis the core problem that delay their research activities to be done as planned. We are very open to NGOs and other stake holders for joining us and work-in together for the future’ she added.