After three years of extensive research on various indigenous South African edible plants, Nestlé South Africa, the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) and the Agricultural Research Council (ARC) have announced that their collaborative research agreement has resulted in the development of an innovative commercial product, the new Maggi Two-Minute Noodles with real Morogo.
The announcement was made at the fifth CSIR Conference under the theme “70 years of Ideas that Work” where the CSIR was celebrating its 70th anniversary.
The development of this product is a result of a collaborative research agreement between Nestlé, Department of Science and Technology (DST), CSIR and the ARC, after the partners undertook to research South Africa’s biodiversity to confirm their health benefits and potential nutraceutical and functional food applications.
The Minister of Science and Technology Naledi Pandor says: “The local knowledge that has been passed on orally from generation to generation is a vital part of a nation’s heritage. In South Africa indigenous knowledge has massive potential for research, development, and innovation. The Department is proud of this key milestone where we successfully translated academic research into an innovative commercial product which will be enjoyed by South African consumers.”
For 70 years, the CSIR has ensured that its technologies and know how have socio-economic impact that will benefit the country at large.
CSIR Group Executive for Strategic Alliances and Communication, Dr Rachel Chikwamba, says: “We provided our expertise in the processing of indigenous products to jointly develop this innovative product with Nestlé that will benefit the people of our country.  Working with the ARC, production of the vegetable ingredients will provide an opportunity for small scale farmers and support implementation of the AgriParks model.
“Our partnership with Nestlé is a great example of how public and private institutions can work together to address problems that are facing our country such as unemployment. These types of partnerships play a critical role in ensuring that the CSIR and industry support the implementation of the Bio-economy strategy in its objective to have the Bio-economy to contribute to the National GDP by 2030,” says Chikwamba.
Various leafy green vegetables, including Cleome, Cow Pea and Amaranthus (popularly known as Morogo) were screened to assess nutrient bioavailability during digestion.
After conducting thorough research and consumer studies, Amaranthus was ultimately chosen because of its proven health benefits – particularly the presence of Beta Carotene, minerals and protein. Morogo refers to a group of at least three different dark green leafy vegetables found throughout Southern Africa and harvested for human consumption.
Commenting on their involvement in the partnership, CEO of the Agricultural Research Council, Dr ShadrackMoephuli, says: “Through this partnership, we were able to develop the best agronomic practices and farming guidelines for morogo. We also evaluated the commercial viability of producing African Leafy Vegetables in a sustainable manner for commercial and smallholder farmers under irrigated conditions.
“The launch of this product fits within the ARC’s objective to broaden the food base in order to achieve food and nutrition security through food science and technology development for improved product quality and yield,” adds Moephuli.