I am Maxwell Kodua, 28 years old, from Ghana. I hold a bachelor’s degree in Agro-processing from the University of Cape Coast, Ghana. Research and development of innovative and safe products is my passion and I hope for an opportunity in a Crossfield team to design healthy and nutritious products for people across the globe.
Food is exceedingly important in the life of every individual. As human population continue to grow, demand for both fresh and processed foods continue to increase. Increase in production as well as the use of high-power machineries during production and processing results in high impact on the environment. Hence my decision to enroll in this program. I chose this program in order to have a broad scope of sustainability related issues in the food industry while expanding my knowledge on ways of generating feasible and or alternative ideas to help counteract pre existing headaches within the Agro-food industry.
It will be a bit confusing for me to choose a favorite part as all the modules being taught in this master program are exceptionally relevant for equipping students with knowledge in food raw materials/procurement, management of food processing operations, preservation, packaging, safe food production and sustainable agriculture. The second Phase of the course opened my eyes to completely new phenomena which included Sustainability assessment, life cycle analysis, techno economic analysis, life cycle cost analysis, and mild processing methods which are useful methods in eliminating foodborne pathogens. All in all, this master program was a complete package!
In the course of the program, I was exposed to the latest thinking and research in a wide range of disciplines which foster food sustainability where I can efficiently implement my knowledge and skills to real-world challenges.
Firstly, the major skill for which I am grateful to have learned from this program is team building and communication skills. This helped me improve my presentation skills while helping me learn ways of building and articulating my ideas clearly to my audience. Working in groups provided an opportunity for me to integrate and interact properly with my team members on a personal level which improved on my critical thinking level, problem solving skills, communication and decision making.
Also, the project management course developed my skills for planning and controlling projects and understanding the relationship between team members that coerce successful project outcomes. With focus on production and processes, it examined the project management life cycle, project parameters, constraints, effective project management tools and techniques, and the role of a project manager. It equipped me with the skills necessary to manage teams, schedules, risks, and resources to produce a desired outcome.
Lastly, the problem-solving class improved my knowledge and understanding in using standard methods and tools such as 8-D problem solving approach and the pareto chart to solve problems with a hands-on approach from case studies in the food industry. It emphasized the importance of identifying and managing crises as a team or group rather than blaming others for their actions or inactions.
The conscious effort of individuals contributing to sustainability is a major step in fulfilling the sustainable development blueprint by the United Nations (UN). As a result, I make sure any activity I carry out has less impact on the environment and this includes reducing, reusing, or recycling of plastics whenever possible. Also, instead of buying more than needed and consequently wasting leftovers, I purchase or cook what I can consume in order to minimize food waste. Furthermore, I pay very much attention to labels and look out for products which are either produced in an eco-friendly manner or Fair Trade Certified. Buying organic foods whenever possible is another way I show my commitment towards this green challenge. This is to support farmers who have chosen to produce without the use of pesticides or other harmful chemicals that may endanger wildlife as well as farm workers. Lastly, water conservation. Growing population has increased demand for water for both agricultural and human activities and this has resulted into unanticipated incidence of drought in so many countries across the world. Therefore, I conserve water by using it efficiently during bathing, cooking, washing, or cleaning in order to prevent unnecessary wastage.
Sustainability is becoming part of our everyday life and will continue to be. Think broadly and inform yourself where your interest lies from farm to fork and devote time to it. Furthermore, even though this program is an English taught program, to help you integrate quickly and better locate decent opportunities, it will be best to begin taking French lessons before arriving in France.