Research results on your dinner table? November 12, 2010

When it comes to agro-food research, “results must make it to the dinner table,” insists Philippe Thonart, professor of bio industries in Belgium. But that is not so easy, because “it may cost 1 franc to make a scientific discovery, such as isolating a microbe useful in food fermentation processes, but 100 francs to valorize the research finding,” according to Ababacar Ndoye, director of the Food Technology Institute (ITA) in Dakar, Senegal.

These sorts of questions were discussed in November 2010 at the Agro-food Forum at ITA. Marie Therese Basse, ITA director in the 1960s, attended the Forum and praised her colleagues for the significant progress in drawing inspiration for research from everyday life needs and for taking research from laboratories to the fields of farmers and to businesses and households.

Scientific research, whether fundamental or applied, is not a solitary exercise but requires synergistic partnerships. As Thonart reminds us, research requires “dialogue, work and imagination. And to have a marketable product, a sense of economics… If industry is accustomed to this, university folk are not.”*

[ Download the article in pdf format ]

For additional information:

African Researchers and Decision-makers: Building Synergy for Development (2009), by the International Development Research Centre (IDRC) with CODESRIA,

Two interviews in French (2010) with Ababacar Ndoye, Director of the Food Technology Institute (ITA), Dakar, Senegal:

La souveraineté alimentaire, une priorité pour tout pays,

Des chercheurs sénégalais redonnent vie à l’arachide locale,

And other documents in French:

La production du bissap (Hibiscus sabdariffa L.) au Sénégal (2008). Cisse, M., Dornier, M., Sakho, M., Diop, C. M., Reynes, M., & Sock, O. CIRAD.; Photos :

*Les bioindustries fertilisent la valorisation (2001), par Philippe Thonart,

Valorisation des résultats de recherche et des innovations au Burkina Faso,

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