A landmark collaboration between the American Oil Chemist’s Society (AOCS), Cultivating New Frontiers in Agriculture (CNFA), the Soybean Innovation Lab (SIL), Makerere University, and the National Agriculture Research Laboratory (NARL) of Uganda has culminated in a transformative oilseed processing course, enriching regional expertise and capabilities.  

Grant Mitchell, PE, Managing Principal at Salas O’Brien and AOCS President, traveled to Kampala, Uganda with a team of five volunteer facilitators to deliver the course, titled “Optimizing Edible Oil Processing,” to 22 local professors and processors from four countries in Africa. The primary objective being to train the professors to deliver the program in the future, providing a sustainable format for education while addressing the unique challenges encountered by many Sub-Saharan African processors.

The impact of this course and the opportunity to collaborate and share expertise across geographies is really quite incredible. Achieving an extra 1% of oil out of an oilseed, whether sunflower or soybean, would enhance profitability for these processors almost $150,000 a year—life changing for the people living in Sub-Saharan Africa. It was amazing to see the level of engagement among the group, the questions being asked, and the desire to leverage this knowledge to bring meaningful change to their region.”
Grant MitchellManaging Principal, Salas O’Brien

More about the impact:

  • Optimizing oilseed processing across Sub-Saharan Africa will lead to direct socio-economic benefits.
  • Soybeans, specifically, are utilized as a core source of protein in meals and an important ingredient in animal feeds.
  • Global demand for soybeans is increasing, opening economic potential for growers and processors across SSA.

More about the course:

  • Designed to elevate Sub-Saharan Africa’s oilseed processing industry. 
  • Held over 2.5 intensive days (February 28 to March 1, 2024) at the NARL and Makerere food processing incubation laboratories. 
  • Welcomed participants from Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, and the host country, Uganda. 
  • Leveraged AOCS content from industry and academic members, delivering world-class expertise to a cadre of regional processors.  
  • Included a Training of Trainers (TOT) session, where AOCS and Ugandan facilitating teams collaborated to sustainably disseminate the latest industry technical expertise. 
  • Inaugural course offered by Soy360, a regional center of excellence for larger African oilseed processors.  
  • Supported by the Processor-to-Processor (P2P) program, an initiative with AOCS, CNFA and SIL that brings one-on-one technical expertise to processors under the umbrella of USAID’s Farmer-to-Farmer (F2F) program, implemented by CNFA in Southern Africa.

The success of the course stands as a testament to the transformative potential of collaborative initiatives in addressing critical industry challenges and driving meaningful progress across Sub-Saharan Africa.