Annual meeting of the RELOAD research network

Annual meetingThe 2nd annual meeting of the RELOAD research network took place at Witzenhausen, Germany, from 29th September to 2nd October, 2014. 


The main purpose of the meeting was to evaluate the work done so far, to plan for the next phase and to strengthen the communication and cooperation within the network. One of the important resumes was that RELOAD is no longer a project in its starting phase — it has become a project operating at full capacity to fulfill its goals.

RELOAD research activities are now underway in all four countries: Ethiopia, Kenya, Uganda and Germany. PhD and master students have started their field work, and first results have been presented at scientific conferences. The main activity during the meeting was, therefore, to jointly plan for the next steps, and particularly to coordinate efforts within and across the seven subprojects.

A lively interest was expressed by many participants in the technical solutions for solar cooling that were presented by the Department of Agricultural Engineering, University of Kassel, along with their private sector partner ‘Simply Solar’. Test and demonstration plants will be established at several locations together with the African project partners in the coming year.

A further highlight was an evening presentation held by Dr Matthias Jäger, CIAT/Colombia, on holistic value chain development. He shared his experience with building value chains for native chili pepper varieties from Bolivia and Peru, using multi-stakeholder platforms as a tool to improve coordination and develop shared goals.

One day was reserved for field trips. A part of the group visited the UNESCO Biosphere Reserve Rhön in order to share experiences with establishing a brand for regional products and promoting value chains for beef and lamb from extensively managed pastures of the mid-altitude mountain region Rhön. A second group visited ‘Upländer Bauernmolkerei’, a dairy enterprise founded and managed by farmers.