Alternative protein products from local crops in Rwanda (phase 1)

One Acre Fund (OAF) and Wageningen Food & Biobased Research partner up to set the first steps of building a value-chain in Rwanda for smallholder-sourced, locally produced plant-based high protein products.

The project aims to bring together proven technologies and local crops to create optimal formulations for plant-based high protein products. Important characteristics of the products are that it has to be ambient stable, produced from smallholder-sourced, climate-resilient, and nature-positive crops that are cultivated in Rwanda. In addition, the technology should be available/applicable in Rwanda.

The project focusses on the application of current knowledge to plant-based high protein products made from local crops. The following existing knowledge and proven technologies will be applied in the context of this project towards local crops and technologies:

  • Insights in protein functionalities, interaction with other components and ingredients, effects of processing
  • Technologies for functionalization of protein crops towards ingredients for plant-based high protein products
  • Technologies for structuring protein ingredients towards a plant-based meat alternative: extrusion (high and low moisture), pre- and postprocessing

Foreseen concepts of plant-based high protein products are:

  • Textured vegetable protein (TVP) via extrusion
  • Tempeh made of local beans, via fermentation and sterilisation to make it ambient stable
  • Tofu like product made of oil rich seeds, and sterilisation to make it ambient stable

The ultimate goal of the project is to increase the consumption of a safe, affordable source of protein and key micronutrients, improving smallholders income through new value chains and diversification of income streams and improvement of soils through the planting of nitrogen-fixing legumes.