OpenIDEO is an open innovation platform. Join our global community to solve big challenges for social good. Sign Up / Login or Learn more

No food produced goes wasted!

Using Indigenous Knowledge in Food Processing and Preservation for Achieving Food Security in Rural Sudan and Eliminating Food Losses.

Photo of Ethar Y. Ahmed
1 1

Written by

Lead Applicant Organization Name

360 E-Commerce

Lead Applicant Organization Type

  • Youth Organisation (between 18 - 30 years old)

How long have you / your team been working on this Vision?

  • Under 1 year

Lead Applicant: In what city or town are you located?


Lead Applicant: In what country are you located?


Your Selected Place: what’s the name of the Place you’re developing a Vision for?


What country is your selected Place located in?


Describe your relationship to the place you’ve selected.

Around Kassala town an area of approximately 40,000 feddans (16,800 Ha) is dedicated to the production of fruits and vegetables. Products that affect our daily lives! My first introduction to the town was in the form of internal tourism, while I was working as an environmental program manager for a local startup! Since then I visited the town several times, the time I spent there got me hitched to the town, and it's productive culture! I was brought up in a similar agricultural, productive, and conservative community in Gazira state. Coming from that background, and having spent time living in the town, studying it, got me connected to a robust network of youth actors through youth led local development bodies. these network connect us to the entire Kassala community.

Describe the People and Place: Provide information that would be helpful for an outsider who has never been there and may have no context about this Place to better understand the area.

The combination of ethnic groups are the Sudanese Arab which consists of descendants of migrants from the Arabian Peninsula like the Rashaida who are now living in Kassala State, as well as arabized ethnic groups of Nubians, and Beja nomads. These groups joined with refugees mostly form the Kassala community. Hence the language, traditions and food are a rich mix of all these cultures, resulting in strong colors, flavors, and smells of food and even more colorful fashion and dialogs.

 Although the food culture is a productive one, and the agriculture sector is on a contentious growth, but a big amount of food goes to waste before reaching the market; resulting in hunger and an unbalanced diet in best cases.  

All of these along with the conservative, gender sensitive and diverse nature of Kassala makes it a tricky, strong, and promising inclusive food hub for east Africa.

What is the approximate size of your Place, in square kilometers? (New question, not required)


What is the estimated population (current 2020) in your Place?


Challenges: Describe the current (2020) and the future (2050) challenges that your food system faces.

The agricultural production especially horticultural crops has a strong seasonal character, hence local and regional markets are flooded on season. As a result prices during this periods are low and growers find it hard to sell their produce to the traders/ middlemen who commonly will exploit the situation to their benefit. Which is a result of environment, economic and policy challenges and it's expected to be the case unless some changes accrue; and that can happen with the simple use of Technology if the cultural resistance to it is to be addresses in proper way that starts with awareness and ends with policies.

Both, production and consumption of fresh fruits and vegetables are increasing in Sudan due to increased urbanization, awareness of their nutritive value and relatively high returns. The increase in horticultural production, however, is rather horizontal; the production area increases, but productivity remains low as there is only little increase in yields. This indicates that there is a high potential for improvement.  An improvement that would continue to be threatened by climatic changes, and the lack of infrastructure and agro-logistics which is also connected to policy, culture and economic.

Address the Challenges: Describe how your Vision will address the challenges described in the previous question.

Processing of the surplus production can be a way to take out a major part of the surplus production, and therefore contribute to higher prices on the market for the remaining fresh produce. At the same time value is added to a part of the harvest which otherwise would be turned to waste. 

In rural Sudan women are often responsible for food processing and storage, to increase its availability. They are able to manage available resources using indigenous techniques such as drying or fermentation to secure food supplies.

Looking to the current state of the regional economy and local investment capacity, food processing should be at costs as low as possible. indigenous techniques can be such low cost solution. Moreover it's a cultural one! 

Same as farmers associations, indigenous knowledge associations can contribute to diversify the diet of rural people in normal times and are crucial to their survival during times of food shortage. Combining indigenous knowledge and inherent capabilities, with practical training and scientific knowledge transfer; results in resilient bodies that's capable of solving challenges that may face them.

Those associations are problem solving bodies, that bear within it key cultural actors, influencers, environmentalists, economists, dietitians and policy makers. they are the community's defense system! They would be facing current and futuristic Environment, Diets, Economics, Culture, Technology, and Policy challenges.

High Level Vision: With these challenges addressed, now provide a high level description of how the Place and the lives of its People will be different than they are now.

The obvious change is in the structuring of the community leadership.The community members will be experienced and innovative in organizing the production, harvesting , post-harvest handling, distribution and sales/marketing of agricultural products in agro-logistic parks.They would be the leaders in sorting, packaging, processing and storing solutions and technologies for food products especially horticultural crops. 

They would be the hub for food innovation and sustainable rural development in East Africa. Provoking a from the community to the community movements all over Africa. 

All of that would result in a hygienic, healthier, unified nurturing and caring community. An inclusive community based food system that's cooperates in solving systematic problem.


Full Vision: How do you describe your Vision for a regenerative and nourishing food future for your Place and People for 2050?

   Small-scale food enterprises (indigenous processors) as an organized body for employment creation, add value and extend the shelf life of goods.

  Wholesale markets as an organized place and bodies for trading of Agri-producats with certain rules and standards for hygiene and quality, post-harvest handling facilities (sorting, packaging, conditioned storage) with high-quality control. 

The development of such organized market places combined with organized supplies of products by growers (through cooperatives or associations) and processors (through cooperatives or associations) are the reason for development of the food and agriculture sector in the region. 

 Scientific research institutes as organized bodies for indigenous farming and processing techniques development and quality control.

Cooperation among currently isolated food institutes for sustainable development of the food system, and strong ability in managing all challenges.

How did you hear about the Food System Vision Prize?

  • Prize partners

1 comment

Join the conversation:

Photo of Kehinde Fashua

Hi Ethar Y. Ahmed welcome to the Food System Vision Prize Community!
It's great to see you draft a vision on the use of local knowledge to ensure food security in Kassala.
Even as we begin the countdown, please make sure you have reviewed your final submission through the Pocket Guide to support you through the final hours of wrapping up your submission. This will give you the most important bullet points to keep in mind to successfully submit your Vision. Here is the link to the pocket guide:
Look forward to seeing your submission finalized by 31st January, 5:00 pm EST.