Prof Julius Kewir Tangka
Laureate of the First Africa Post harvest & Innovation Challenge 2017
Dschang SIC/UDs-01/06/17.The Director of infrastructure, planning and development of the University of Dschang, Prof Julius Kewir Tangka is one of the top twenty laureates of the All-Africa Postharvest Technologies & Innovations Challenge, 2017, from March 28-31st 2017. Organised by the World Food Preservation Centre (WFPC) in conjunction with the University of Nairobi with a consortium of universities, research & development institutions in Africa, to foster innovative ways of post-harvest food preservation, this initiative witnessed about 150 applicants. Twenty prototypes were considered scalable for subsequent financing, amongst which Professor Julius K. Tangka’s multi-energy source powered versatile drier for fruits, grains, vegetables and meat was at the 12th position. This innovative piece according to him is motivated by his observation of the rudimentary drying methods widely used in some parts of Cameroon that exposes food to contamination. According to the DIPD/UDs, there is urgent need for drying means to save not only the population from frequent avoidable food contamination but more particularly the drop in demand of Cameroon cocoa on the world market due to allegations that it smells of fuel. Proudly explaining the serviceability of his innovative idea, Prof Tangka says it is meant to serve people across the board, irrespective of locality where there is no electricity since it uses sources such as biogas, solar energy and also electrical power. It is worth noting that dispite his position as the Director, he is a consultant in renewable energy and holds a Ph.D in Energy and Machinery./ VM.
Interview with Professor Julius K. Tanka
SIC: Realising a multi-purpose prototype like this, would not have been an easy task in terms of resources. So how did you wade through with the challenges to come out with this wonderful piece?
Prof. Julius K. Tangka: Obviously, it must be understood that this work is not that of a single individual. It may have been conceived by a single mind but its realisation could not be limited just to a single person. It was teamwork, given that it was a university project, sponsored by the Ministry of Mines and Technological Development.
SIC: how soon do you think this wonderful initiative would be a reality and how accessible would it be to the common man?
Prof Tangka: An innovation like this requires enormous resources to push it through. Our success in this postharvest technologies and Innovations Challenge provides a window of opportunities for its materialisation. The projects selected will be sponsored for further development and production so we are living in expectation that it will happen soon. In terms of accessibility, we ensured that it should be accessible to users at all levels because it uses alternative energy sources. Now in terms of purchasing power, the smaller size machine could cost approximately five hundred thousand francs and we hope that farmers’ cooperatives can afford it. Generally, its durability determines the price.
SIC: can you just briefly explain the impact of this innovation on the University of Dschang Community and the country at large?
Prof. Tangka: This is a major project in the pipeline that will not only project the image of the university and change the lives of members of the university community for the better after harvest . This innovation constitutes one of the forces to propel Cameroon to emergence.
SIC: thanks prof for granting us this interview
Prof. Tangka: the pleasure is mine.
Interview conducted by VM