Projecttitel: Nutritional Support of Global Health by production of Bittergourd in Vietnam
Budget: € 50.000
Projectleider: Karin Senf
Kennisinstelling: Wageningen UR
Projectpartners: Arspro Pharma BV, Bakker Barendrecht BV, DQFS BV, Dutch Embassy Hanoi Vietnam, East-West Seed Hai Mui Ten Do, East-West Seed International BV, Fresh Studio BV, Fytagoras BV, Holisan Health Products BV, Marfo, OMFL.
Metabolic diseases are rapidly increasing in developing countries due to a switch in dietary lifestyle. More and more, traditional eating habits are replaced by a Western lifestyle including the intake of high caloric processed foods. Obesity, diabetes and cardiovascular diseases become a major threat for global health of the local population in South East Asia. Apart from general (proper) education of the local population on the benefits of a healthy dietary lifestyle on fitness and resilience towards disease, advantage can be taken of the local knowledge on traditional foods and the use of certain vegetables and plants to improve health. With respect to metabolic diseases, a south-east Asian plant called “Bittergourd” is known by the local population for its anti-diabetic effects.
Nowadays, Bittergourd is eaten as cooked vegetable in a variety of dishes but seems to become less popular as vegetable dish among the young generation who tend to favor foreign fast food more and more. Bittergourd tea and Bittergourd health supplements do become more popular.
Opportunity 1: To improve global health in Vietnam in a cost-effective manner. Advantage can be taken of the fact that there is a strong believe in traditional medicin and the beneficial effects of Bittergourd to improve metabolic health is widely accepted in Vietnam. Upscaling the production of certain Bittergourd varieties, characterized by strong anti-diabetic effects, would provide the general public in Vietnam with a cost-effective vegetable to improve health through dietary measures. Bittergourd can be eaten on a day to day basis.
Opportunity 2: Upscaling the production of Bittergourd varieties in a resource efficient way, without the use of pesticides, requires knowledge of sustainable agricultural production systems and the possibilities of preservation. This knowledge is available in The Netherlands. By improving taste and by increasing the variety of dishes and beverages containing Bittergourd, the popularity of this vegetable as basic food ingredient may further increase in Vietnam but also in The Netherlands.
Therefore, Vietnam must create an efficient, yet safe for the environment and sustainable Bittergourd sector. This requires know how of value chain management, more efficient production with high resource efficiency, mechanization and ICT supported automation for better plantage management and knowledge of various types of processing of Bittergourd, i.e. end-products like tasty vegetables and beverages, supplements containing the bioactive components of Bittergourd and non-edible parts of Bittergourd for the animal sector.
These are the challenges for Vietnam to address the processes of upgrading and also opportunities for businesses from The Netherlands which have more advanced knowledge and experience to offer throughout the Bittergourd production, processing, certification and export chain.
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