AMU bags ETB 3.96 Million project to ‘innovate’ Enset technologies

Arba Minch University and its Principal Investigator has signed a tripartite agreement with The Ethiopian Biotechnology Institute (EBTI) to embark on biotechnology project - ‘Innovative Enset Technology for Gentle Processing, Value-added Products, Safe Storage and Longer Shelf-life’ that will last three years; the project will incur ETB 3,962,398, which is funded by EBTI.  

This project is the part of National Biotechnology Grand Program started by Ministry of Science and Technology; it was inked by EBTI Director General, Dr Kassahun Tesfaye, AMU President, Dr Damtew Darza and AMU’s Principal Investigator, Addisu Fekadu Andeta.

Project is aimed at evolving practical applications in the form of proof-of-concept, field tests, clinical trials, prototype development or scaling up of manufacturing to promote institutional ties and multi-sector partnerships in product development and linking research to industry and services.

Its prime objective is to introduce innovative Enset technologies for gentle processing; value added products, safe storage and longer shelf-life. It will co-design pseudo-stem scrapping, bulla processing and corm milling machines and prototypes that will cater to the needs of local community.

It’s expected to manufacture fermentation safe storage equipment from locally available materials in different sizes, identify starter culture for southern, south-western and central ecological zones and further standardize the formation, processing and packaging of the starter cultures.

As stipulated by agreement’s terms and conditions, designated PI, Addisu Fekadu, will have to submit findings at EBTI’s grant workshop while latter will monitor, evaluate the implementation and give suggestions on technical and financial matters. It also bears the right to take unilateral decision such as suspending the project for a specified time or its termination.

AMU, Host Institute (HI) responsibly administering allocated funds will be accountable with regard to fund disbursement, utilization, ensure internal control and adequate documentation. EBTI will assign technical team of experts to follow-up and supervise the project.

The 1st tranche of 30% (ETB 1,188,719.40) fund has already been released by EBTI, which expects HI to justify minimum 30% of the scope of the planned activities for the period, then 2nd tranche for second round of research will be released.

The agreement states that EBTI, investigators and HI shall be the owners of the research results that will be directly used for the promotion and development of the welfare of public. And in agreement with PI, any of intellectual property owners can multiply and distribute research outputs to the public.

The newly introduced advanced Enset processing machines and equipment will facilitate better fermentation, safe storage for different Enset products; it will accelerate pseudo-stem scrapping, ‘bulla’ processing and corm decertification processes and identify best bacterial strains needed to prepare quality starter culture that will liberate women folks from unwanted hardship.

Until recently, an inefficiently unhygienic processing and dicey storage practices performed with obsolete technology by women used to churn out substandard products that have minimal market price. These advanced techniques and devices will also help refine, standardize and increase utilization of Enset plants and advanced technologies will forthwith commercialized by the interested parties.

(Corporate Communication Directorate)