One of the smallest, oldest, and most robust forms of life on earth must be the protein deficiency in the diet of the Congolese people to go fix it. Spirulina has been the object of research, but that was earlier in the context of food for astronauts on mission to Mars.
Spirulina is particularly interesting for aerospace applications because the CO2 system, oxygen, produces, very resistant to (cosmic) radiation, and in addition, is suitable as a supplement to the daily diet of astronauts. It is for this last reason that the link with the Congo was laid.
In Bikoro, the region where the project started, the population in their daily diet very low in protein. Except 70 % of proteins are found in spirulina also iron and vitamin A, two other elements that are often lacking in malnutrition.
The belgian Nuclear research Centre (SCK-CEN) will now, in cooperation with Entrepreneurs, for Entrepreneurs and Congodorpen the population of some villages in the Congolese equatorial province to learn how spirulina can grow.
There will be training two landbouwhogescholen to the transfer of knowledge to local agronomists and, via the latter, to the population. “Spirulina cultivation can be relatively easy,” says SCK-project leader, Hamid Aït Abderrahim. Provisionally, the project is still in a pilot phase, in one village. Intention is, in time, expand to other villages and regions. Because of the involvement of Entrepreneurs for Ondenemers is also hoped to scale up through local entrepreneurs.
The spirulina is used as a flavor enhancer and supplement, and will be the ordinary diet so not replaced. Around the much more northern Tsjaadmeer is spirulina for generations, used as a dietary supplement. Also the Aztecs would have eaten. In the Congo, as was the food however, is not known. (Belga/EK)