Integrated chia and Oyster mushroom system for Sustainable food value chain in Africa

Scientific abstract
CHIAM project (Integrated CHIA and oyster Mushroom system for sustainable food value chain for Africa) aims to create a complex agro system, which will result novel functional foods and use their by-products to feed animals and create energy in a biogas plant.

Enhancing food and nutrition security in Africa is essential to improved livelihoods and life opportunities for resource-poor individuals and households. The efficiency of the primary production of African farms has to be improved, and additionally, it is urgent to put more emphasize on the sustainability of farming systems. This means a significant challenge for the local agricultural communities, therefore showcasing good practices can help in spreading the lacking knowledge and turn it into practice. Developing biomass-based farm operations in Africa can promote the sustainable utilization of the available and new feedstock creating value for local society and protecting the environment with sustainable high-quality solutions. Both chia seeds (Salvia hispanica L.) and Oyster mushroom (Pleurotus spp.) are considered as functional foods that provide health benefits, when they are consumed at efficacious levels as part of a varied diet on a regular basis.

During the project, chia seeds production will be improved through breeding. The effectiveness and acceptability of the use of chia seeds and oyster mushrooms for fortification of local products will be examined. In order to create the circularity of farming, waste of chia production will be evaluated for utilization as substrate for oyster mushroom production. Spent mushroom substrate as animal feed will be examined, while the biogas production based on manure will be optimized. Creating an integrated system of chia and oyster mushrooms can improve the carbon nutrient circle and utilize the lignocellulosic by-products, wastes in a more efficient way, and promote fortification of local foods and in Africa to improve household nutrition and economic status.