Research Nugget

For the Love of Bread: Shifting Towards Climate-Resilient Crops for Healthy Diets and Food Security in Sub-Saharan Africa

Urbanisation, increased disposable income, and consumption of refined wheat breads have changed diets and lifestyle in sub-Saharan Africa. As a result, the population in the region is becoming increasingly vulnerable to the double burden of malnutrition and obesity. This, combined with the increasing pressure to produce sufficient food and provide employment for this growing population together with the threat of climate change-induced declining crop yields, requires urgent sustainable solutions.

Research partly funded by the NRF found that the replacement of refined, mostly imported wheat in attractive bread products with climate-resilient crops could:

Climate-resilient crops are widely grown in Sub Saharan Africa and include food crops classified as cereals (e.g., sorghum, fonio, teff and finger millet), pseudocereals (amaranth), roots and tubers (cassava and sweet potato), pulses (Phaseolus beans, cowpeas, chickpeas, pigeon peas and Bambara groundnuts), and oilseed legumes (soya beans and peanuts).

To overcome challenges and obstacles to increasing the availability, affordability, and uptake of climate resilient crops, the research recommends improving the agronomic yield of climate-resilient crops, food product technology, raising consumer awareness, and directing policies.

The full paper has been published in the in January 2022 edition of the international open access journal Foods and can be accessed here