Member Hour: Circularity and a Global Food Supply

9/30/2021 1:00:00 PM (Eastern Standard Time) - 9/30/2021 2:00:00 PM (Eastern Standard Time) Zoom

When circularity becomes central to our global food security agenda: Concepts to implementation readiness in rice value chain.

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Rice is not only the most common cereal in the world, but it is also the staple food for about half the world’s population. Its production has grown over the years, however, the effective utilization and exploitation of its associated by-products (straw, husk, and bran), remains a challenge. Although fractions of the waste are used as animal feed and bedding, a large portion is burnt with serious economic and environmental implications (such as carbon emissions, air pollution, loss of soil moisture,). The production and consumption of cereals, including rice, have been predicted to increase significantly by the year 2050, with an estimated value of 3 billion tons. This will come with a corresponding increase in rice by-products, thus finding utilization pathways is very crucial. From a circularity viewpoint, there is an opportunity to make rice by-products use an integral part of the global food system and food security strategies. This is particularly essential in low resource settings because of the socioeconomic benefits. In this presentation, we will explore rice husk utilization as a pathway to drive circularity in food security strategies, demonstrating some of the successful concepts applied in low resource setting communities, and how they could be adapted for mainstreaming circularity in our current food system agenda. 

Dr. Ebenezer Miezah Kwofie is an assistant professor of food systems sustainability and resilience at the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville. He holds a joint appointment at the Biological and Agricultural Engineering, Chemical Engineering, and the Food Science Departments. He has PhD in Bioresource Engineering from McGill University, Canada. Prior to joining the University of Arkansas, he was a Research Associate at the Food and Bioprocess Research lab at Bioresource Engineering Department, McGill University, where he served as manager for International Food Systems Development projects, working in developing countries including Zambia, Malawi, Ethiopia, Bolivia, and Honduras. These projects were focused on enhancing food systems sustainability and strengthening capacity of stakeholders (farmers, farmer cooperatives, small-scale food enterprises, NGOs, and local government departments) 

Dr. Kwofie’s research explores the connectivity and dynamics of environmental, economic, and product- process efficiency to address food system sustainability and resilience. His research applies life cycle thinking to evaluate trade-offs of food process, nutritional quality, and environmental impact. Additionally, he focuses on industrial eco-efficiency optimization through techno-eco-environmental modelling and sustainability decision analysis of food and bioproducts across their value chains.