Kondar, Chebika Food Hub´s specialization will be the agriculture technique of biodegradable mulching. Located in Sousse, Tunisia, this Food Hub will work around products such as fresh vegetables, legumes, composite flours (cereals, legumes, vegetables), snacks and baby food. The final result will be passed by milling and baking processing techniques.
Innovative mulching systems will be tested, specifically, highly renewable, innovative, biodegradable, compostable material, suitable for being converted into mulch films. The system will be implemented and tested by local SME and provided to about 150 smallholder farmers in Kondar/Chebika Food Hub.
In the case of milling processes, the aim is twofold. Firstly, these are implemented and tested to produce composite flours that combine food raw materials. For instance, introducing legumes into the complementary diet has the potential to improve childhood growth. Secondly, the work aims to optimize the particle size distribution so as to add value to the final blended flours. These will be formulated together with the SME partners taking care of nutritional and functional aspects to obtain healthy novel food products especially for children.
The extrusion, as a continuous process with high versatility and productivity, represents a good means of incorporating different types of the locally available materials (legumes, sorghum, and soy) into ready-to-eat snacks. The use of grain legumes and sorghum in snack foods may help to increase their nutritional appeal. Thus, new extrusion technologies and processes will be tested in collaboration with SME partners to produce high quality nutrient dense snacks (novel products) that enhance diversity of diets. Moreover, extrusion represents a suitable pre-treatment to baking. Most baked products consumed in Africa are based on refined (mostly imported) wheat and are low in nutritional value. In order to address this situation, the subtask aims at running laboratory tests to optimize baking technologies and methods to produce local shelf-stable nutrition-responsive products so as to add value.