Millicent Yeboah-Awudzi joins the Borlaug LEAP Fellowship from her home country of Ghana. As a 2015 Fall Fellow, she will be working on obtaining a Master’s of Food Science and Technology degree from Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST). Her focus is on the utilization of under-valued crops to help increase the nutritional value of certain prepared foods. Her goal is to create a prepared food snack that will help boost the nutrient consumption of a targeted population while promoting local agriculture systems, reducing post-harvest loss, and creating a sustainable product. She will be working in particular with the Bambara groundnut, a local legume that is high in protein and other nutrients, and lower-grade milled rice. Millicent will work to identify the combination of ingredients that offer both the highest nutritional content along with the best flavor, all while focusing on local, sustainable, and non-imported ingredients.
Millicent has seen firsthand what donations and handouts have done for the community and is disillusioned with the culture of dependence it has created. She feels strongly that what the people of Ghana, and across Africa, need is not more donations, loans and other forms of “assistance”, but a greater emphasis on education and innovation. She is hoping to contribute to a movement towards self-reliance and self-determination, one project at a time. Her passion for food and science came together in her decision to pursue her degree in the food technology field and she hopes to use her findings to teach others and to help improve the field of nutrition in general. She would also like to be an example to girls interested in pursuing their degrees in higher education.
During her time as a Borlaug LEAP Fellow, she worked with two different mentors, one at a US institution and one at a CGIAR center. Dr. Joan King, a professor at the School of Nutrition and Food Sciences at Louisiana State University (LSU), helped Millicent to analyze her food products for nutrient content. Dr. King is currently working on ingredient development with sweet potatoes and rice and the oxidation products produced by processed and stored foods. She will also worked with Millicent to conduct studies on identifying the best tasting of all the samples. In addition, Millicent was mentored by Dr. John Manful, a Grain Quality Scientist and head of the Grain Quality, Nutrition and Post Harvest unit. His work is focused on the addition of value to local, lower quality rice by developing new food products. He assisted Millicent in creating her snack products in a way that is both nutritionally dense and relatively low-cost. She completed her degree in 2016 and will be pursuing a PhD in Food Science at LSU in fall 2017.