After successfully passing the mid-term evaluation, BiomassWeb continues for a second phase of two years, starting in July 2016. The team members of BiomassWeb seized the opportunity to assess research results and further prioritize the research activities for the next two years of BiomassWeb.
To streamline disciplinary and interdisciplinary results from the different work packages and facilitate a more focused approach towards achieving the BiomassWeb objectives, four priority areas were identified. These priority areas are:
(1) Pathways to increase food availability and nutrition security via production and processing of food biomass.
Sufficient food availability is achieved by, for example, higher crop productivity and nutrient content as well as lower quantitative and qualitative losses during processing. This priority area synthesizes outcomes of various work packages that deal with technical and institutional innovations to improve food biomass production, processing and utilization including nutrition security.
(2) Contribution of food and non-food biomass to income generation within the value web.
Increasing income is the most straightforward way to improve access to food. Priority area two will provide answers to the question of how improved food and non-food biomass productivity and product innovations can be translated into increased income generation and better access to food.
(3) Supporting evidence-based policy and decision-making within an African bioeconomy.
In Sub-Saharan Africa, decision-making processes in agricultural research and development are often constrained by the lack of accurate, reliable and readily accessible information and data. Moreover, governance challenges continue to hinder the effective utilization of the biomass sector. The central research question of priority area three is how to support evidence-based policy and decision-making in the study regions.
(4) Innovation systems and transition management for food security: Opportunities and challenges with a focus on African biomass-based value webs.
Researchers in Sub-Saharan Africa have often faced the challenge that developed agricultural innovations are not taken up by smallholder farmers. Priority area four therefore investigates how the production, reproduction, use, and/or adaptation of innovations can be managed in Sub-Saharan Africa and what necessary transition conditions for using innovations are.
The priority areas strengthen cooperation between the work packages and highlight the overall focus of BiomassWeb. The first two priority areas make tangible contributions to improving food security in Sub-Saharan Africa through interdisciplinary analyses and application oriented recommendations based on economic models, field experiments and technical trials. Based on the findings from priority areas one and two, the priority areas three and four deliver recommendations for policy and decision-making and for facilitating innovation in the agricultural sector.
The second phase begins on July 1, 2016 and will run until June 30, 2018. The first phase of BiomassWeb started in June 2013.