By Opeyemi Babalola
For innovating food solutions from fava bean and barley to alleviate child malnutrition and improper dietary practices, four pharmacy students from Addis Ababa University (AAU) College of Health Sciences (CHS) have received international recognition.
The nutritionists, Kirubel Engidawork, Mussie Abraham, Naod Adugna and Yosef Taricu, are fourth year pharmacy students from AAU College of Health Sciences.
Naod Adugna, one of the nutritionists, said that their observation of many children prone to stunting and other problems due to protein deficiency initiated the innovation.
They said the way people eat barley and beans in Ethiopia does not help to get the most out of the nutrients, however, this new project will make a great change on that.
“In our country, stunting and similar problems are common in children due to protein deficiencies which cause many deaths and our main goal is to solve this problem,” he explained.
Citing the high cost of nutritious foods, Naod said another purpose of their activity is to offer the ‘FaBarley’ biscuits at affordable prices.
“We competed in various competitions and won. We also headed to Denmark to showcase our products in a laboratory; it has now reached the prototype stage,” Naod concluded.
Also speaking, Mussie Abraham said, “We are exhilarated upon hearing our victory in this competition. We have gained more knowledge and are extremely proud to be a part of this amazing programme. We believe that winning this amazing competition doesn’t mean we are perfect, but means, we need to work harder, and strive to achieve more.”
According to the information from Naod, being a pharmacist and spending a lot of time in the laboratory, gave them the opportunity to put this idea into practice.
As stated by Naod, with the aim of providing safe and affordable food at a low cost, the innovators are trying a wide range of processes including getting quality assurance, to produce and avail in the market.
Naod mentioned that they have done a lot of research to improve the cracker, working with the World Food Program (WFP) and Technology University of Denmark (DTU) as well as local educational institutions to spread this biscuit widely in Ethiopia.