Sustainable greenhouse production types and resource efficient technologies for future cultivation (START)


Vegetable production and consumption, Healthy diets, Micronutrients, Food production technologies


Germany, Ghana, other countries in Africa


African countries will need to significantly increase their production and consumption of vegetables to address malnutrition and ensure access to healthy foods for the growing population. This is a major challenge, especially in the context of climate change, as heat, water scarcity, and increasing problems with plant diseases and pests make it difficult to increase productivity in the open field. Greenhouse vegetable production could be an important part of the solution for both urban and rural areas. The START project develops new greenhouse technologies ( “deep water cultivation” techniques) for efficient production of various types of vegetables. Research and testing grounds are established at the University of Bonn, considering current and future conditions in Africa.

Ghana is used as one country example. ZEF researchers collect comprehensive data from rural and urban households in Ghana to analyze the role of various types of vegetables for people’s diets and livelihoods and how production and consumption may potentially change through the new greenhouse technologies. Preferences for different local and exotic vegetables as well as the potential acceptance of new production technologies are also investigated. Based on various data sources, future scenarios in which new types of greenhouses produce more vegetables at affordable prices and with less seasonal variation are developed and analyzed in terms of their impacts on nutrition, health, socioeconomic development, and environmental sustainability.

Main Cooperation Partners

  • University of Bonn, Institute of Crop Science and Resource Conservation (INRES)
  • University of Ghana
  • RWTH Aachen
  • Bio Innovation Park Rheinland
Main Funding Partners


Duration of the Project

04/2023 - 03/2027


at ZEF:

at INRES (Sustainability Campus Klein-Altendorf):

  • Prof. Dr. Ralf Pude
  • Dr. Marcell Moll


Matin Qaim

Prof. Dr. Matin Qaim


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