Simoné van Niekerk
Consumer scientist, CFAM Technologies.
Malnutrition and reduced brain function
Malnutrition is a regular occurrence in children and adults in developing countries. It entails so much more than ‘hunger’. The long-term impact is a suppressed immune system, delayed growth and development. To develop a healthy brain, enough of the right food types are needed. The reality is that malnutrition over a long period of time can result in a lowered cognitive level of an entire community.
Often developing countries’ staple foods consist of crops that are high in carbohydrates. It fills the tummy, but doesn’t contain enough nutrients, especially proteins, healthy fats and amino acids. The result is lower cognition and educational achievements because of poor brain development, as well as the possibility of the diagnosis of a series of diet-related chronic illnesses. An unhealthy lifestyle is therefore established, in which generation after generation can get caught up and ultimately result in the creation of an unproductive, intellectual-poor nation.
However, it is a fact that most of these countries are caught up in poverty and cannot afford to produce or import healthy, nutritional foods for everyone. A carb-dense diet is often the only thing that these countries have to their disposal.
The plant-based meat revolution
More and more consumers are looking at meat analogues, or plant-based products that simulate the properties of traditional meat products in order to reduce their meat consumption. Vegetarian and vegan products are a growing trend due to health, animal welfare and sustainability concerns. Modern meat analogue products can offer roughly the same composition of nutrients as traditional meat products.
Cereal production through extrusion
Food extrusion plays a vital part in food security since it allows companies in the food sector to create affordable, nutrient-dense products from locally produced agricultural ingredients. It uses food extruder technology like twin-screw extruders to combine food ingredients such as maize, wheat, soy, sorghum, and many others with heating and mixing application to formulate nutrient-packed cooked food.
In addition to mass food production, food extruder technology also offers flexibility in terms of the raw material selection and the variety of food products that the system can design. These aspects have caught the attention of commercial food processing industries as they work to create sustainable food products with long shelf life, especially for third-world countries.
Why South Africa needs food extrusion
The coronavirus pandemic has exacerbated global concerns over food shortage, leaving the world in an unprecedented hunger crisis. The United Nations World Food Program’s (WFP) director warned in January 2020 that “the worst is yet to come”, as over 260 million people are at the brink of starvation and expect to face multiple famines “of biblical proportions” in the coming months.
Sub-Saharan Africa particularly at risk.
The pandemic, compounded by widespread flooding, droughts, and economic disarray has left people vulnerable in the 16-nation Southern African Development Community.
See below for a summary of the benefits of five product offerings developed by the National Treasury and South African Revenue Services in conjunction with the Department of Finance and the Department of Trade and Industry, and with the support of the Industrial Development Corporation and the South African National Energy Development Institute.
This might help to reduce your energy investment costs in actioning your business plans and expand, thereby stimulating economic growth and generating employment.
12I Tax Allowance – when you do a Greenfield investment in a new industrial project that utilises only new and unused manufacturing assets, or when you do a Brownfield investment to expand or upgrade an existing industrial project. Alternatively, when you start-up or expand your business on the basis of adhering to a culture of energy productivity.
APSS (Agro Processing Support Scheme Grant) - when you start a new agro-processing or agro-beneficiation business or expand/improve an existing agro-processing or beneficiation business.
CIP (Critical Infrastructure Programme) Grant – when you build critical infrastructure that will open up and support investment opportunities or enable investments to fully deliver on their potential.
ADEP (Aquaculture Development and Enhancement Programme) Grant - available to South African registered entities engaged in primary, secondary and ancillary aquaculture activities in both marine and freshwater environments.
Disclaimer: The information provided on the listed tax allowances, grants and facilities is, at best, of a general nature and cannot substitute for the advice of a specialist. You are advised to contact a suitable professional to obtain the latest information and who can apply the information to the particular circumstances of your case. ExtruAfrica can not take responsibility for the results or consequences of any attempt to use or adopt the information presented herein.
How to stimulate innovation
Most new companies fail within five years
More than 90% of all new companies do not survive the first five years! Since nobody in a successful company want to become part of these statistics, the tendency is to build in checks and balances to prevent this from happening, especially in larger companies.
Companies do realise the importance of research and innovation to stay ahead with local and international competition. Internal research and innovation units or divisions are therefore often created to stimulate research and innovation. These are also seen as key aspects of revitalising the South African economy and to create jobs. Unfortunately, most of the time they are not very successful despite the fact that numerous programmes and initiatives developed by government also support these initiatives.
dti THRIP programme assisted to develop world-class companies
The THRIP programme currently administered by the dti has been one of the most successful grant programmes that funded research and innovation. The North-West University have been quite successful in commercialising research and innovation that were supported by THRIP. The establishment of Jonker Sailplanes and CFAM Technologies are two examples of companies that started initially as Masters degree studies and developed into companies that are competing with the best in the world.
Why do we not grow new businesses?
Nurturing new entrepreneurs and entrepreneurial companies is seen as one of the key aspects of revitalising the South African economy. Numerous programmes and initiatives developed by government and private institutions aim to achieve this. Students and youth are encouraged to start their own businesses to become entrepreneurs. These initiatives are mainly driven by development agencies and business schools at universities and other tertiary institutions.
Despite these initiatives, we do not seem able to achieve the required results in developing new entrepreneurial businesses. What are the reasons for this? It is well accepted that research forms the fundamental base for innovation and subsequent commercialisation. However, in South Africa we are often unable to turn research into commercially viable entrepreneurial businesses.
In the USA, it is common to learn of businesses that started in a "garage" and have subsequently grown into mega-businesses. In most cases, research and innovation are the recipe for success. These companies' sustainable competitive advantage is therefore encapsulated in new technology-based products or services that challenge the status quo and provide new value streams or opportunities. Some examples are Uber, Airbnb, Tesla and SpaceX, to name but a few. One could argue that Tesla and SpaceX did not start in a garage. Fact is, Elon Musk started his first businesses, which he eventually sold to become PayPal, in a garage. He then used the same principles to develop Tesla and SpaceX.
Cereal foods constitute a backbone of human diet all over the world and are typically the most important sources of energy and dietary fiber intake. Cereals typically contribute about 50% of dietary fiber intake in western countries. A high whole grain (WG) intake has been consistently associated with reduced risk of developing type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, and colorectal cancer, mainly based on evidence from observational studies [1, 2]. A major challenge in this area of research is that the active components and the underlying mechanism have not been fully explored. Dietary fiber has been reported to be responsible for the health effects of WG consumption. Evidence from in vitro and rodent studies is emerging that, in addition to dietary fiber, the unique phytochemicals in WGs may in part contribute to these health-promoting effects. WGs are rich sources of various bioactive phytochemicals, which are structurally diverse secondary metabolites synthesized by plants. Different WGs may have different phytochemicals. The chemical profiles of the major WGs are still largely unknown. A major group of phenolic compounds in WG wheat and rye is the 5-n-alkylresorcinols (ARs). Among commonly consumed foods, ARs are present in high amounts only in the outer layer of wheat and rye. Avenanthramides (AVAs) and avenacosides A and B are phytochemicals unique to WG oats. To improve the understanding of WG foods for human health, there is a need to further study the roles of specific phytochemicals in WGs for chronic disease prevention.