The company is joining forces with the Natural Resources Institute (NRI) and other organisations to set up the Gratitude (Gains from Losses of Roots and Tuber Crops) project.

This will research solutions to reduce waste from post-harvest losses of root and tuber crops such as cassava and yam, and turn unavoidable waste into value-added products such as snack foods, mushrooms or animal feed.

Cassava and yam are important food security crops for approximately 700 million people. However, losses after harvesting and during processing can be as high as 30% for cassava.

SABMiller’s role will be to work in conjunction with the School of Biotechnology & Food Technology (SBFT) of Hanoi University of Science and Technology to take by-products of cassava processing and dramatically increase their economic value.

The company first began brewing with cassava in Africa in 2011 and, as part of its research, identified the potential of spent cassava as a source of fibre and minerals.

SBFT is one of Asia’s leading institutions in the field of biological engineering and food technology with rich experience in cassava product development.

Technologies and systems developed as part of the initiative will particularly benefit small-holder households, support small and medium scale enterprises to increase profitability, create new jobs and develop links to large-scale industries.

In the long term the project will help improve the livelihoods of people on low incomes and enhance the role that these crops play in food and income security.

Dr Wolfgang Tosch from SABMiller said: “Our ultimate aim is for brewing to be a zero waste industry and many of our by-products already have valuable uses such as animal feed, yeast extract and fertiliser.

“As brewing innovation develops, so do the opportunities for creating even more value-adding products and the spent cassava research has the potential to benefit smallholder communities and, in the long term, improve their food security.”

The project has secured a €2.8m grant from the EU, as part of a total investment of €3.7m.

Maxine Perella

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