Student - June 11, 2009


Four Wageningen students have won the first prize in a competition run by the Student Association of the American Institute of Food Technologists. Their idea was to use termite porridge to tackle hunger. The jury thought this was an interesting and original idea, and praised the small-scale approach and the simple technology involved.

The Wageningen student team did not expect to win, says Harmke Klunder in an email from California, where she and Sami Sa¬hin, Yadira Tejeda and Aneta Cholewinska presented their plan for tackling hunger in Zimbabwe. ‘We were kind of surprised by the approach of the other teams. Most of the ideas were quite complicated and large scale, considering they were meant for developing countries. Our idea is quite simple and basic.’

Moreover, their competitors had been able to actually implement their projects, as they were working on them full time. ‘That made us insecure’, says Harmke.
The ‘SOR-MITE team’, named for the mixture of sorghum and termites they propose to develop, wins 3,500 dollars and an article in Food Technology. The students are very happy. ‘We have been working hard and it was exciting right up to the end.’ Back in Wageningen they are hoping to find support to put their idea into practice.