The ASEAN region is facing double burden malnutrition with under-nutrition and over-nutrition occurring simultaneously. On one hand, some people suffer hunger, characterized by the lack of macro- and/or micro-nutrients intake, while a portion of the population are under the risk of many non-communicable diseases and cognitive impairments due to over-nutrition (UNICEF, WB, WHO 2014). Both types of malnutrition highly influence the overall performance of the nation.
On the other hand, majority of the ASEAN countries lie in the tropical belt with high exposure to sun, humidity, and rainfall. These climate conditions support ASEAN countries to have multiple and diverse crops during the year, up to three rotations per year especially in good soil condition (OECD 2012; FAOSTAT 2014). In addition, the agriculture sector, which contributes about 18% of the Gross Domestic Product (FAOSTAT 2014), is considered to be the strength of the ASEAN region. Both conditions can provide valuable contributions in alleviating many polemic society problems, particularly that of nutritional and health issues.
As such the project entitled “Indigenous Crops-Food Production, Food Safety, and Process Development of Indigenous Crops to Strengthen Food and Nutrition Security” was developed in order to utilize local/indigenous crops in response to malnutrition in the ASEAN region. The project officially started in January 2015 and will run until December 2016, with the Institut Pertanian Bogor (IPB), as the lead implementing institution. Project activities will be carried out in partnership with members of the Southeast Asian University Consortium for Graduate Education in Agriculture and Natural Resources (University Consortium).
The project focuses initially on developing underutilized local/indigenous crops especially roots/tuber fortified with protein rich legumes to alleviate the plight of specific population groups experiencing malnutrition in the ASEAN region. Specifically, the project aims to:
- Define and understand the food pattern, food diversity, food preferences and eating behavior of target population (s);
- Develop suitable product and applicable process technology for intervention such as artificial rice utilizing indigenous/underutilized root/tuber crops fortified with additional nutritional requirements such as legume-derived proteins;
- Assess the impact of intervention product in alleviating nutritional concerns in target population(s); and
- Assess the implementation of technology replication in other countries in regions (among the ASEAN Members States).
Activity 1: Survey food pattern, food diversity, food preferences and eating behavior of the target population
- Critical information on food pattern, food diversity, food preferences and eating behavior of target population;
- Information and data analysis of general and/or specific nutrient requirements of target population; and
- Identification of pilot testing area.
The initial target is the Indonesian people with the aim of implementing a strategy for primary prevention of type-2 diabetes. To date, the project team is currently conducting the survey as well as the intervention product development.
Activity 2: Product development
- Process technology (including formulation) to produce artificial rice with nutritional requirements for intervention;
- Intervention product data on nutritional, safety, and sensory characteristics;
- Optimized process technology;
- One scientific article for publication; and
- Intellectual property/patent.
Activity 3: Intervention study
- Data on intervention effectiveness; and
- One scientific article for publication
The impact assessment may be expanded to take into account other aspects such as the improvement of economic welfare. Studies under activities 3 and 4 will be conducted in the second year.
Activity 4: Process technology replication study
- Data on process technology replication viability.
Activity 1 – (i) Critical Information on food pattern, food diversity, food preferences and eating behavior of target population; (ii) Information and data analysis of general and/or specific nutrient requirements of target population; and (iii) Identification of pilot testing area/target demographic.
Activity 2 – (i) Process technology (including formulation) to produce artificial rice fulfilling nutritional requirements for intervention; (ii) Intervention product data on nutritional, safety, and sensory characteristics; (iii) Optimized process technology; (iv) One scientific article for publication; and (iv) Intellectual property/patent.
Activity 3 – (i) Data on intervention effectiveness, and (ii) One scientific article for publication.