Dr Eric Tutu Tchao

Dr Eric Tutu Tchao

Ghana

Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Ghana

Computer Engineering

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Work and Research

Dr Eric Tutu Tchao is a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Computer Engineering at Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST), Ghana and a Fellow of University of Pretoria. He is also a DFG Scholar, a Post-Doctoral Research Fellow of the World Academy of Science (TWAS) and the Partnership Coordinator for the Responsible AI Lab. His interest in globalization and technology transfer has resulted in assisting the development of undergraduate and postgraduate programmes in the Computer Engineering Department. His research interests cover Optimizations in Blockchain and Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) Networks, and Artificial Intelligence For Development (AI4D).

Fields Of Expertise

Blockchain, Internet of Things, Artificial Intelligence

OPEN-SOURCE TOOLBOX FOR SAFE FOOD MONITORING

The food production and processing environment in many sub-Saharan countries are deteriorating. In Ghana rapid urbanization has led to urban, peri-urban and, increasingly, rural households becoming more reliant on unhealthy, ultra-processed food from the formal food and retail system. This in turn has led to an increase in the associated effects of unhealthy foods such as obesity and non-communicable diseases (NCDs) – the latter being reported as the cause of more than 50% of all reported adult deaths in the area.

 

Ghana has published a national NCD prevention policy and -strategy, which recognize interventions to promote healthy foods as crucial. Local policymakers have indicated that tackling unhealthy food production and improving food processing would be the most effective tools to address the issue.

But NCD prevention is hampered by scarce resources, lack of data from the value chain for decision-making, lack of appropriate technological interventions and lack of monitoring in the country. Value chain monitoring – if available – is either by governmental agencies or by the sales channels like large retail chains, often with proprietary and closed solutions.

 

Headline-grabbing incidents, some of them resulting in the death of customers, have changed how consumers look at food – they now put a tremendous emphasis on food traceability.

Dr Eric Tchao of the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology will be addressing this issue during his FAR-LeaF research project, titled Development of an Open Toolbox for Safe Food Monitoring (DOTbox).

 

DOTbox aims to create a new toolbox for processing, tracking, and tracing agricultural and food products that will lower the friction of the implementation of a blockchain into the existing platforms and systems. We hope to introduce companies to the blockchain and increase the number of businesses leveraging the advantages of blockchains to add value to consumers in Ghana and sub-Saharan Africa.

 

Dr Tchao plans to build, pilot, and showcase his open-source cost-effective toolbox, test and teach it in real-life use – and evaluate the whole system. He foresees the solutions developed in this project will make farmers and other producers of agriculture-related products more control over how they want their products to be digitalized without spending enormous amounts of money developing their solutions.

 

We will explore possibilities for integrating Distribute Ledger technologies in the area, and evaluate technologies and solutions to integrate low-complexity devices such as old-generation smartphones into a blockchain to attain deep integration into the production processes. To ensure that no wrong or manipulated information is put into the blockchain, controls and plausibility checks need to be embedded into the features of the input devices. We need to conceptualize, implement, and validate prototypes for the integration of food production elements into the Distributed Ledger solutions and evaluate the performances and possible trade-offs of deploying the developed prototypes into the Ghanaian food industry.