the BiomassWeb project and the Center for Development Research (ZEF) of the University of Bonn are co-editing a special issue in the MDPI journal Sustainability on ‘Advances in food and non-food biomass production, processing and use in Sub-Saharan Africa: Towards a basis for a regional bioeconomy’.
The rising global demand for biomass as a source of food, feed, industrial raw materials and energy is increasing pressure on the agricultural sector. The situation is particularly severe in Sub-Saharan Africa where many countries struggle to attain food security while facing emerging alternative demands for biomass.
Therefore, it is crucial to safeguard food security and at the same time set the foundation for a prospective African bioeconomy. This will only be possible by harnessing productivity and efficiency gains throughout the entire biomass-producing, processing and trading system(s).
We are interested in manuscripts that highlight approaches to using common as well as neglected and underutilized African crop species as sources of food and non-food biomass, coupling and cascading uses of biomass, recycling of biomass and the use of biomass waste. Studies focusing on developing, modeling, and implementing land use systems, and bioeconomy strategies for Sub-Saharan Africa are also encouraged. Disciplinary as well as inter- and transdisciplinary studies are welcome.
We look forward to your contributions.
Daniel Callo-Concha, Manfred Denich, Hannah Jaenicke and Christine B. Schmitt
On December 8, 2017, the BiomassWeb project held a Science-Policy workshop at the Forum for Agricultural Research in Africa (FARA) in Accra, Ghana. The workshop was an opportunity for BiomassWeb to disseminate its findings on advances in research in agriculture and food security in Ghana and their implications.
The Forum for Agricultural Research in Africa (FARA) hosted a network and launch meeting of the interactive online platform BiomassNet on December 7, 2017 in Accra, Ghana.
The meeting gathered about 50 participants from relevant disciplines and sectors that address food and non-food biomass issues in Africa, such as scientists and experts from government and non-governmental organizations, development agencies, farmers and the private sector.
African and German researchers launched the first pan-African expert network for food and non-food biomass in Bonn, Germany, on 12 July 2017. The network aims at ensuring that food security and environmental sustainability are not compromised in the development of new biomass uses. It will thus help to strengthen the emerging African bioeconomies. Biomass is any degradable substance that is derived from plants or animals and is thus renewable.
In July 1, 2017, the BiomassWeb project started the Young Post-Doc Program (YPDP). The objective of this program is to accompany young African scientists in gaining expertise on issues and topics in the field of biomass for a whole year.
”Africa is rising, the story is changing and the future of African Agriculture is getting brighter…”
These were the words of Dr. Wole Fatunbi, Lead Specialist Innovation Systems and Partnerships at the opening session of the BiomassWeb partners meeting at the Secretariat of the Forum for Agricultural Research in Africa (FARA) in Accra, Ghana on 30th November 2016. The meeting was held in the framework of a joint field visit by PD Dr. Christine Schmitt, Senior Scientist and Project Coordinator BiomassWeb, from the Center for Development Research (ZEF) University of Bonn, Germany, and Mr. Dady Demby, Ag. Africa BiomassWeb project coordinator, FARA.
In October 2016, the BiomassWeb project launched six demand-driven research and development (DDRD) projects in Ghana, Nigeria and Ethiopia. The projects will run for a period of six months and enable local stakeholders to investigate improvements in the value webs of cassava, bamboo, maize, plantain, and banana. Read more
Outcome of cooperation of BiomassWeb with ESSZert on certification of bioenergy published in award-winning Elsevier article on “As Bioenergy Booms, Certification Schemes Must Consider Food Security”
Each month, Atlas’s advisory board selects a research article for the Atlas Award, based on suggestions from the publishers of Elsevier’s 1,800 journals. The awarded article is one of 12 articles selected out of 35,000.
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.
Members of BiomassWeb contributed two book chapters to the newly published book “Technological and Institutional Innovation for Marginalized Smallholders in Agricultural Development. Springer International Publishing” by Franz W. Gatzweiler, and Joachim von Braun, 2016.
In course of the BiomassWeb Science Meeting in Nigeria on February 23-26, 2016, members of BiomassWeb took part in an excursion to IITA, Nigeria, to visit important research sites, such as the IITA Cassava Processing Facility or the Business Incubation Platform (BIP).
IITA now published the visit in its Bulletin, which you can download here
On February 23-26, 2016, a BiomassWeb Science Meeting was held at the University of Ibadan in Nigeria. Project members from all three partner countries with 10 different nationalities participated in the meeting and presented their research.
During the meeting, the new direction of the project was discussed and different work packages presented their work activities and achievements. In group activities, the participants discussed target outputs of each work package, with the realization that some group activities could be merged.
Hence, the meeting had the goal to intensify the collaboration and interchange between different BiomassWeb work packages. For this purpose four priority areas were put together, each of them representing a special field of research represented by several work packages.
The priority areas and their fields of research are:
Food and nutrition security:
Finding pathways to increase food availability and nutrition security via production and processing of food biomass
The contribution of food and non-food biomass to income generation within the value web
Policies/decision support: Supporting evidence-based policy and decision-making within an African bioeconomy
Innovation systems and Transition management:
Opportunities and challenges with a focus on African biomass-based value webs
Furthermore, the online presence of BiomassWeb research will be more visible through the BiomassWeb Dgroup and BiomassNet. The BiomassNet concept was presented and discussed during the meeting. Including the important feedback from the participants, BiomassNet will be ready to launch in November, 2016.
On the last day of the meeting, the participants took part in an excursion to IITA, Nigeria, to visit important research sites, such as the IITA Cassava Processing Facility or the Business Incubation Platform (BIP).
A two-day workshop on ‘Qualitative Modeling’ was held at the University of Ibadan in Nigeria from February 29, 2016 to March 01, 2016.
Members of BiomassWeb and the workpackage 3.3 ‘Systems Modeling’ presented the development of descriptive and explorative models of biomass-based value webs of different crops with the software iMODELER, developed by CONSIDEO.
iMODELER develops generalized models of biomass chains, such as cassava, maize or plantain, while looking for synergies between the crops as well as synergies with other crop with explorative qualitative cause and effect modeling.
The workshop had the goal to find potential measures for explorative modeling and reflect on how to initiate change as well as identify the obstacles on the way to learn the systemic methodology of Explorative Qualitative Modeling.
Participants of the workshop on ‘Qualitative Modeling’ in Nigeria
TRANSFORMING THE BIOECONOMY: BEHAVIOR, INNOVATION AND SCIENCE
Since its founding in 1996 as a forum to assess emerging issues in biodiversity and agricultural biotechnology, the annual ICABR conference has evolved to include research on a wide range of socioeconomic aspects of the bioeconomy.
To celebrate its XX anniversary, ICABR will convene a conference in Ravello in June 2016 on the theme Transforming the Bioeconomy: Behavior, Innovation and Science.
The Keynote Speaker will be Dan Ariely, the James B. Duke Professor of Psychology and Behavioral Economics at Duke University on the topic “Irrational behavior in science and technology communication: truth and dishonesty” Read more
Innovative macropropagation techniques of plantain (Musa AAB), applicable to small scale farmers
John Opata, Paul Melichar, Martin Hegele, Beloved Mensah Dzomeku, Jens Wünsche
John Opata gave an oral presentation on “Innovative macropropagation techniques of plantain (Musa AAB), applicable to small scale farmer”. The presentation was held at the ELLS Scientific Student Conference in Prag, Czech Republic on November 13 – 14, 2015 Read more
The 17th “Tropentag” Conference on “Management of land use systems for enhanced food security: conflicts, controversies and resolutions”
Several BiomassWeb members have participated in the 17th “Tropentag” Conference on “Management of land use systems for enhanced food security: conflicts, controversies and resolutions” taking place at the Humboldt University in Berlin, Germany, on September 16-18, 2015 Read more
Developing a prototype microgasifier stove for improving household energy systems in rural Ethiopia
By Kiatkamjon Intani, Sajid Latif, and Joachim Müller
Most of the households in Ethiopia still rely on traditional use of biomass for their energy needs. Traditional three-stone stoves are widely used in Ethiopia. This type of cooking device has a low fuel efficiency and high emission, which leads to indoor air pollution. Indoor air pollution causes chronic eye illness and respiratory disease in women and children, resulting in about 60,000 deaths per year. This study by Kiatkamjon Intani, Sajid Latif, and Joachim Müller developed a prototype microgasifier stove (TLUD-Pyro) to serve as cooking device and miniature charcoal kilns, producing biochar and bio-oil as valuable byproducts. Read more
From science to practice: transdisciplinary approaches for promoting balanced land use systems in sub-Saharan Africa
Christine B. Schmitt, Tina Beuchelt, Dady Demby, Arnmin Kuhn and Manfred Denich
The poster “From science to practice: transdisciplinary approaches for promoting balanced land use systems in sub-Saharan Africa” was presented by Christine Schmitt at the “Annual conference of the Ecological Society of Germany, Austria and Switzerland” on August 30 – September 3, 2015 in Göttingen, Germany. Read more
With the emerging bio-economies in Europe, more biomass is imported. Sustainability concerns led to the development of EU regulations esp. regarding bioenergy. Hence, private certification standards for biomass proliferate but with major differences regarding environmental and social criteria. Read more
BiomassWeb is aiming to develop a stakeholder network – BiomassNet – to promote biomass production, processing and trading in African countries in order to enhance food security and support the emerging bio-economies.
We are happy to announce that we have moved one step ahead in creating this network. Read more
How to increase resource efficiency in an emerging bio-economy: Moving from Value Chains to Biomass-Based Value Webs.
Detlef Virchow, Tina Beuchelt, Arnim Kuhn and Manfred Denich
The presentation on “How to increase resource efficiency in an emerging bio-economy: Moving from value chains to biomass-based value webs” was held by Tina Beuchelt at the “23rd European Biomass Conference and Exhibition”, Europe’s largest international conference on biomass. It is a highly-respected international scientific conference with an industrial exhibition while gathering participants from research, industry, policy and business of biomass and took place on June 1-4, 2015 in Vienna, Austria. Read more
Our research is structured around the analysis of biomass demand, supply and related value webs, research innovations, and implementation including capacity and network building.