The overall aim of the project is to enable the West Africans to preserve and fully utilize their natural and economically valuable microbial resources, and to up-grade the food sector in a sustainable and environmentally friendly way ensuring the quality, safety and marketability of food products for income generation. The project focuses on up-grading the food sector in general taking into consideration the entire food value chain, technology transfer and consumer preferences. More specifically the project will focus on the following major objectives:

i) To identify food value chains with the strongest potential for green growth and development in the three West African countries based on investigations on local and regional trends, ethnic groups, urban and rural preferences, gender issues, consumer acceptability and marketability

ii) To enable the West African countries to fully utilize and preserve their own microbiological heritage and ensure the sustainable use of this biological diversity for commercialization within the food and biotechnological sectors

iii) To identify relevant technological properties of microorganisms to be used as starter cultures in the food chain focusing on prevention of loss of raw materials, optimization of fermentation processes, nutritional value, food safety, consumer needs, food spoilage and prolongation of shelf life

iv) To identify the requirements and obstacles for implementation of starter cultures at all levels in the West African food sector taking into consideration all identified aspects in the food value chain including technological challenges, packaging, distribution, commercial aspects and consumer preferences

v) To implement procedures, quality guidelines and business models for food innovation, green growth including prevention of loss of raw materials, reduced cooking times, sustainable packaging and commercialisation of products to increase competitiveness of SMEs

vi) To train and share scientific knowledge between the West African and Danish scientists within food microbiology, value chain analyses and business models, to ensure research capacity strengthening at the institutional level as well as dissemination and knowledge transfer to relevant stakeholders, in particular the West African food sector