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Sustainable spirulina super-food for nutrition and climate resilience in Africa

Produce the world’s most nutritious superfood/spirulina to curb malnutrition of the Africa population while trapping excess CO2 from the air

Photo of STEPHEN YORMASAH
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Lead Applicant Organization Name

Nutrition Optima, Ghana Africa

Lead Applicant Organization Type

  • Other

If part of a multi-stakeholder entity (i.e. team), provide the names of other organizations and types of stakeholders collaborating with you.

Antenna is a Swiss Foundation committed to the scientific research and dissemination of technological, health and economic solutions for the most disadvantaged. Antenna now has over 60 projects in over 20 countries. In collaboration with an international network of scientists. Antenna undertakes and participates in research projects in the fields of nutrition, safe water, agriculture, energy, medicine and microcredit. In Africa Nutrition Optima is one of the leading projects of Antenna aimed at improving the production of Spirulina to trap carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and improve nutrition as part of sustainable food systems approach to better health, nutrition and socioeconomic well-being of Africans. Antenna supports the creation of new social enterprises as well as the expansion of existing ones. These social enterprises create jobs, improve access to products and increase the income of the community.

Website of Legally Registered Entity

https://www.nutritionoptima.org

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

  • 1-3 years

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

Akosombo in the Eastern Region

Lead Applicant: In what country are you located?

Ghana

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

Greater Accra, volta and Eastern Regions of Ghana, located in West Africa with a total area of 52,000 square kilometers.

What country is your selected Place located in?

Ghana

Describe your relationship to the place you’ve selected.

Nutrition Optima is established in the Eastern Region bordering the Volta and greater Accra Regions of Ghana, where most staff working in the organization hail from. 

Current initiative involves cultivating the worlds most acclaimed super-food through a new technology that ensures efficiency and sustainability by capturing Carbon from the atmosphere 

Nutrition Optima was established solely for the purpose of promoting the healthy living of individuals in Ghana and Africa at large where malnutrition and other dieting problems are very predominant. With a team of renowned nutritional scientists and researchers Nutrition Optima is burnt on producing and distributing spirulina products throughout the borders of Ghana and beyond as an alternate source of food nutrients to the malnourished population at a reduced price.

Coupled with this our production team and researchers are working around innovative ways of combining spirulina and other nutraceuticals or medicinal plant extracts, so that our products would not only resolve malnutrition but also be solutions to specific health problems.

As a firm that is not only interested in profit making, Nutrition Optima is set to embark on providing malnourished children in the Northern Sector of Ghana with spirulina for free. 

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.

Akosombo is a small town in the south of the Asuogyaman District in the EasternRegion of Ghana with notable street names of some African Countries in the sub-region like Ghana, Congo, Namibia, Lagos-town,Freetown etc. It is preoccupied by people of diverse ethnic background like the Akans, Ewe, Krobo and other ethic groups. It is close to the Adome Bridge of Atimpoku which is about a 3 to 5 min drive. Whilst ecological impacts are an important issue around the construction of dams, the social impacts particularly resettlement, livelihood and food security concerns are the immediate impacts that affected people in and around Akosombo. The Akosombo Hydro-power Project affected 78,000 people in 756 villages in the flooded area. They were resettled in 52 newly created settlements along the newly formed lake. In the 52 resettlement villages, 13,000 houses were constructed, 6 wells and 34 mechanical and 23 hand pumps were installed. Also, about 500 miles of roads were built, and approximately 100,000 ha of farmland established

The original agricultural resettlement program for the people around the Volta river on the Akosombo stretch provided for modern mechanized farming on 430,000 acres, on a co-operative basis. In spite of pilot testing, these plans failed due to the difficulties encountered in implementing the program such as the inability to achieve clearing targets, delays in assembly of agricultural equipment and in delivery of farming inputs like seeds, fertilizers and insecticides. Another factor was the lack of familiarity with new farming practices, and the absence of motivated extension workers with resources, technical skills and logistics to support the farmers. The program had to change its approach to individual allocation (1.21 ha), for subsistence farming using traditional methods, plus an allowance of double that per family, pooled together for developing commercial farms.

Witha rising trend in overweight, obesity and related non-communicable diseases, people living in Akosombo from the three regions (Eastern,Greater Accra and Volta Regions) of Ghana are now carrying a triple burden of malnutrition – under-nutrition, over-nutrition and micro-nutrient deficiencies often referred to as hidden hunger.

In Ghana, a significant 18% of children under the age of 5 are stunted and 13% of children below 5 years of age are underweight and 7% are wasted (MICS, 2018). 

In view of malnutrition as a burden, Government in Africa through the 2014 Malabo Declarations committed to end hunger and reduce stunting to 10% by 2025. Food production in Akosombo is deemed inadequate to feed its population. Even though the three regions are home to a wide variety of indigenous crops, which contain essential nutrients that contribute to healthy and productive lives, most vulnerable populations are not able to meet their nutrient requirements from these foods. Increasing the consumption of single cell protein (such as spirulina) as an alternate source of food nutrients would boost the nutritional requirements of children and women in these regions of Ghana.

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

52000

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

8000000

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

 

NutritionOptima is established in the Eastern Region bordering the Volta andgreater Accra Regions of Ghana, where most staff working in theorganization hail from. 

Currentinitiative involves cultivating the worlds most acclaimed superfoodthrough a new technology that ensures efficiency and sustainabilityby capturuing Carbon from the atmosphere 

NutritionOptima was established solely for the purpose of promoting thehealthy living of individuals in Ghana and Africa at large wheremalnutrition and other dieting problems are very predominant. With ateam of renowned nutritional scientists and researchers NutritionOptima is burnt on producing and distributing spirulina productsthroughout the borders of Ghana and beyond as an alternate source offood nutrients to the malnourished population at a reduced price.

Coupledwith this our production team and researchers are working aroundinnovative ways of combining spirulina and other nutraceuticals ormedicinal plant extracts, so that our products would not only resolvemalnutrition but also be solutions to specific health problems.

As a firm that is not only interested in profit making, Nutrition Optimais set to embark on providing malnourished children in the Northern Sector of Ghana with spirulina for free. 


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

Since its inception in the year 2017, Nutrition Optima has been on a rigorous campaign against malnutrition and other nutritional problems through the promotion of healthy balance diets and other nutraceuticals. This preventive approach has resonated well with the Ghanaian populace as it offers timely intervention to the nutritional and health crises of some population groups and individuals. 

Currently, spirulina production is ongoing and there is need to expand in training more producers in the technology. Taking young unemployed youth through training and capacity building to understand the technology of producing spirulina to be marketed to generate income while reducing green house gas emission and improving nutrition of people in Ghana in particular in the three regions targeted for this initiative, the Greater Accra, Eastern and Volta Regions of Ghana. Training will focus on cultivating, harvesting, filtration, drying and packaging systems of spirulina at the Nutrition Optima head-quarters in Akosombo. With the support of Rockefeller Foundation, Nutrition Optima could procure equipment for the various unit production operations and training of at least 20 in the next one year who could train 200 youth in the second year for a multiplier effect to scale up the production and marketing of spirulina. Some of the spirulina can also be used in aquaculture fish farming and for incorporated into various food products. This will greatly ensure sustainable nutrition sensitive food systems approaches to climate resilience and nutrition in Ghana. 

There is no doubt that spirulina contains powerful antioxidants and enriched with essential nutrients. Spirulina is globally recognized as one of the most powerful super-foods on this planet and is able to contribute to improving nutrition outcomes. Ghana and the three regions has high demand for spirulina, and Nutrition Optima is determined to scale up the production and marketing of spirulina while creating jobs for the youth and ensuring greener economies and nutrition.

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.

This project will contribute to improving nutrition among the various population groups in the three regions and in Ghana at large through production and commercialization of diverse innovative products from spirulina while socially supporting vulnerable children and women to have better nutrition outcomes. The reduction in greenhouse gas emission will mitigate against climate while ensuring better adaptation by farmers and agriculture sector workers in the three regions of Ghana. The initiative will create sustainable jobs for over 220 youth in the three regions in the next two years through this initial support by the Rockefeller Foundation. The generation of employment for the youth, improved nutrition and positive climatic impact of this initiative will improve the socio-economic livelihoods of the people in Akosombo and the three regions of Ghana. 

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

Environment: Spirulina will absorb green house gas carbon dioxide from the air and transform it through photosynthesis to produce spirulina. This will improve air quality and improve the climate for agriculture productivity.  

Diets: Spirulina will be consumed directly as part of food. It will be incorporated into natural fruit juices, smoothies and can be combined with other nutraceuticals to promote good nutrition and health. This will improve nutrition, prevent cancer, reinforce immune system and boost energy levels for higher productivity. 

Economics:The training of 220 in the production of spirulina will create jobs for the youth in the three regions and provide sustainable income.The consumption of spirulina will lead to improve nutrition which will translate to higher productivity of the population and reduce health care cost. 

Culture: Spirulina will become one of the traditional super food of the three regions and become part of the food culture combined with traditional foods of the people living in these regions. 

Technology: Spirulina production technology will be disseminated and production systems computerized with social media leveraged for the marketing,communication, and behavior change for improving nutrition outcomes. 

 Policy:Support will be provided to create healthy food environments to reduce consumption of sugar, salt, fat and monotonous diets with policy to promote the consumption of spirulina, bio-fortified foods, fruits and vegetables and mainstreaming of nutrition education into curricula of teachers training, schools, colleges and tertiary education to create awareness on nutrition sensitive climate resilient food systems by local governments as well as central governments. 

How did you hear about the Food System Vision Prize?

  • Website

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2 comments

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Spam
Photo of michael akande
Team

Hi Stephen,
I like your vision as it is a scientific approach that directly addresses the problem of malnutrition that currently ravages many communities in Africa. It will be good to know the long term effects of this source of protein. Keep up the good work and best of luck.

Spam
Photo of STEPHEN YORMASAH
Team

Hi Michael,
Thanks a lot for the comment. Extensive research have been done in regard to spirulina. It’s established that taking 2g of spirulina a day has hypoglycemic effect on the body. This means that daily intake of spirulina can help reduce diabetes which is so common among the African population. Besides, spirulina is proven to be a good natural remedy to heart related issues, lowering of high blood pressure and bad cholesterol.
My team and I have done thorough work on this blue green algae and are cooperating with renowned researchers from the University of Ghana medical school to help come out with more innovative products of combining spirulina without other neutraceutical so as to curb predominant health challenges and malnutrition in our country