A PhD Doctorate Defence on Kilichi in Cameroon

A PhD Doctorate Defence on Kilichi in Cameroon

N Melo
by N Melo
June 1, 2022 0

A PhD Doctorate Defence on Kilichi in Cameroon

The work of Dr. Ndih Baba was judged of high quality last May 26 at the National School of Agro-Industrial Sciences (Ensai) of the University of Ngaoundéré. The now Doctor Ndih Aimé Christian, better known as Ndih Baba, has therefore well deserved his very honorable mention of the jury chaired by Professor Carl Mbofung. “You know the history of Ensai which is a figure of agro-industrial science; it was built to support the Cameroonian agro-industry. And we are in a region where cattle and meat are produced.

To enhance the value of cattle products, we decided to conduct research on how to improve the process and the quality of the meat that comes from these cattle. I would say that everyone knows the kilichi, but with the contribution of Ensai, this product will now follow the process that the new doctor has set up. It is a product appreciated by all and the touch he brings will make it international; we will be able to export it from now on”, he said, the former director of Ensai too.

The thesis on Kilichi production techniques in the savannahs of North Cameroon, co-directed by Professors Robert Ndjouenkeu and François-Xavier Etoa, will certainly revolutionize the manufacturing process of this age-old foodstuff. But more than that, it will give a boost to the process of labeling this product.
“Indeed, the labeling of kilichi is underway; the process is even very advanced. Therefore, the work of Dr. Ndih will give a further boost so that we can finalize the process that was initiated a few years ago,” said Professor Carole Edima, member of the jury. The kilichi, thanks to this thesis, will go further to conquer the world, as Dr. Ndih Baba wants. But the modern manufacturing process, well beyond banishing traditional tricks, well improve them. “To reduce the risks on the safety of the operator and the productivity of the Kilichi, we considered two approaches.

The first is to generate a practice of unrolling that is no longer from the inside to the outside, but rather from the inside of the piece of meat in successive sections. To reduce the risks and offer a better quality product, we said that we must mature the meat, because the tenderness is built during its maturation, “said Dr. Ndih Baba. It remains to be seen whether kilichi producers will adopt this innovative method, as for some, it is a priori expensive.
Dr. Ndih Baba, teacher-researcher, Kilichi expert
“Our thesis can facilitate the labeling of the Cameroon kilichi”.
What inspired you to write a thesis on kilichi?

The theme of our work is “Kilichi production techniques in the savannahs of North Cameroon”. By focusing on the practice of peeling, which consists of obtaining thin strips of meat, we realized, after diagnosis, that it is the most constraining operation. This was perceived by almost all the actors. It was therefore necessary to see how to reduce this constraint, because next to it, there is also the risk for the safety of the operator. Sometimes, when he unrolls the meat, he gets injured; this can also affect the hygienic quality of the product. However, Kilichi is a product with a long-standing identity for the nomadic populations of the Sahel. This also has a financial impact. However, it is possible to improve this product and sell it. We therefore set out to improve the current practice of peeling.

In fact, the operators were unrolling the meat from the inside to the outside of the piece. We asked ourselves, “Why not unroll in a different way? So, to reduce the risks to operator safety and Kilichi productivity, we considered two approaches.
The first one is to generate an unrolling practice that is no longer to unroll from the inside to the outside, but rather from the inside of the piece of meat in successive sections. This means that we now take the meat, divide it up to the desired thickness and unroll it by sections; it is easier and faster. Of course, the contact between the knife and the hand is greatly reduced. Now, we take a cutting board on which we unroll the meat by sections, on one side as well as on the other.

The risk of injury is greatly reduced, but not totally eliminated. We said to ourselves: why not get to zero risk? In relation to this, we thought that it is technically possible to reconstitute the meat strips by grinding them. As the meat is destructured after this grinding, we can consolidate this phase by testing different food binders that allow stabilizing the phase.

N Melo
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