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Doctoral thesis, 2019

Value chain and nutritional analyses of warqe food products in relation to post-harvest losses

Tuffa, Ashenafi Chaka


Food losses and waste are global problems, but are particularly critical in food-insecure countries. Losses from root and tuber crops are known to be high in developing countries, where much of the population is dependent on these crops. For example, warqe (Ensete ventricosum) is used as a staple food for millions of Ethiopians, mainly in the form of kocho and bulla foods. Despite its widespread use, there is no adequate information about the magnitude of food losses in the supply chain for warqe, the nutrient content of warqe foods and the microbial dynamics of kocho fermentation enhancer (gammaa). Therefore this thesis examined the nutritional content, value chain and post-harvest losses of kocho and bulla foods along the supply chain, based on three surveys and two laboratory studies conducted in Ethiopia and Sweden between 2013 and 2018. Laboratory analyses showed that warqe foods are rich in starch (75 g/100g DM in kocho and 89 g/100g DM in bulla) and a good source of major micronutrients, such as K, Ca, P and Mg. However, both were found to be low in total fat (0.20 g/100g DM in kocho and 0.10 g/100g DM in bulla), protein (1.67 g/100g DM in kocho and 0.45 g/100g DM in bulla) and total dietary fibre (3.40 g/100g DM in kocho and 0.64 g/100g DM in bulla). Field surveys revealed that warqe foods reach the final consumer through different suppliers in complex chains involving six principal value chain actors, with farmers and bulla processors being the main actors. Significant amounts of warqe foods are wasted throughout the supply chain, with highest losses of kocho (24%) occurring at retailer level and of bulla (29%) at processor level. Lack of appropriate processing technologies at producer and processor level, use of inferior packaging materials and improper handling in the market are the leading causes of losses. Microbiota analysis showed that Lactobacillus species from lactic acid bacteria isolates and Enterobacteriaceae from aerobic mesophilic bacteria isolates are the most abundant and dominant microorganisms in gammaa fermentation. Overall, the results indicate a need for better communication to enable effective information transfer in the supply chain, appropriate packaging and storage to reduce losses and upgrading of the nutritional content of warqe foods to provide an adequate staple diet for consumers.


bulla, ensete ventricosum, Ethiopia, kocho, nutrient profile, post-harvest losses, value chain

Published in

Acta Universitatis Agriculturae Sueciae
2019, number: 2019:1
ISBN: 978-91-7760-278-1, eISBN: 978-91-7760-279-8
Publisher: Department of Energy and Technology, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences

Authors' information

Tuffa, Ashenafi Chaka
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Energy and Technology

UKÄ Subject classification

Food Science

URI (permanent link to this page)