The Centre for Rural Research will participate together with Lund University and Eduardo Mondlane University in a communication project on solar food drying in Mozambique.
The aim of the communication project is to develop a video documentary affiliated to the Solar Food project financed by the Swedish Research Council (). The Solar Food project is coordinated by Ricardo Bernardo at Lund University. The main purpose of the research project is to contribute to sustainable food preservation in developing countries. More specifically, the research project consists of investigating, adapting and combining solar collector technology that produces solar heat with newly developed membrane pouches for drying and thus preserving and utilising fruits that would otherwise spoil. Such a technology could be particularly relevant for rural areas in developing countries where people still lack adequate small scale food processing and storage technologies. The project focuses on Inharrime district in Mozambique where large amounts of fruits that are produced in short periods of time spoil due to lacking fruit processing infrastructure, electricity and water. In addition, the area features high levels of solar radiation that makes it very suitable for solar fruit drying.
A successful technology outcome requires the collaboration of an interdisciplinary team of food scientists, engineers and social scientists in the project. The project crucially depends on the success of a joint technology development with two farmer associations in Inharrime.
Photo: Ricardo Bernardo
The video documentary
The video will focus on the testing and evaluation of first solar drying prototypes in Mozambique with the farmers. It will address multiple technical, economic and socio-cultural issues that become relevant for the technology development.
The video documentary will have a triple popular science communication impact of the project. First of all, it will disseminate the research findings to scholarly as well as non-scholarly audiences. It will give an important insight on what research can look like in developing countries, which is many times difficult to grasp for the general public. Secondly, it will provide insights into the practices of interdisciplinary work between natural, social scientists and engineers who follow different scientific cultures. Interdisciplinary research is widely advocated in the scientific community for solving complex real world problems. However, researchers often lack a comprehensive understanding of how interdisciplinary work is undertaken in practice. Thirdly, the video will contribute to intercultural communication by informing the general public about farmers’ lives and their livelihoods in rural Mozambique and will show another side of Africa than they are used to from the media.
By including excerpts of the group discussions and participatory exercises, and personal anecdotes by the farmers and researchers in Mozambique and Sweden, the video anchors the science content in a human context and enables emotional attachment. In addition, by focusing on intercultural communication between the researchers and farmers, the video will be also entertaining and engaging. It will also serve as an educational tool in future social science and engineering classes by providing students with practical insights to an applied science project. The video is planned to be communicated through a variety of dissemination channels including the broadcasting of the video at one international conference, public libraries and Lund and thematic cafés, as well as online dissemination channels such as YouTube and social media.