For the past three years, the Legume Centre of Excellence for Food and Nutrition Security (LCEFoNS) has endeavoured to enhance the legume value chain of the country. This comes in the backdrop of claims that legume farming is the answer to perennial food insecurity and economic distress facing local farmers.
The project focuses on different stages along the value chain of legumes; from agricultural production, postharvest storage and food processing to human consumption and its impact on nutrition and health.
While paying a courtesy call to the Vice Chancellor, Prof. Victoria Wambui Ngumi, January 9, 2018, the Joint Steering Committee of the Legume Centre of Excellence for Food and Nutrition Security led by Prof. Marc Hendrickx (KU Leuven, Belgium) and Prof. Daniel Sila (JKUAT, Kenya) said they were impressed with the progress so far made and the collaborative nature of the post-graduate students under the project.
“I am confident with the competence level of the 7 PhD students and upon completion of their studies, the project will accord them infrastructural support to enhance their research work,” said Prof. Hendrick.
Prof. Ngumi lauded the work the project has done so far and encouraged the team to come up with tangible research outputs and innovations that can be scaled down to the community.
According to the Vice-Chancellor, the outputs should not only improve the nutritional and health status of the country but also the economic status of legume farmers.
With the help of ICT, the Legume Centre of Excellence in Food and Nutrition Security plans to escalate the data collected and analyzed to all stakeholders of the legume value chain across the country. The data will be shared through tailored mobile applications developed under the project.
LCEFoNS, funded to the tune of Euros 3735,000.00 (Sh410 million), is a twelve-year research project under VLIR-UOS initiative that brings together JKUAT and Belgian partners (Katholic University Leuven and Vrije University of Brussels) and comprises of four interrelated research projects.
The first project focuses on legume production and management practices including breeding for easy to cook flatulence free varieties of high nutritional value. The second project delves into storage and processing of legumes for expedient products of high nutritional value. The third project focuses on the impact of whole legumes and legume derived foods on nutrition and health of vulnerable groups particularly children and women.
The fourth project is transversal throughout the project with the broad objective of reinforcing JKUAT’s human and infrastructural capacity in order to explore the use of ICT in legumes as well as successfully apply and enhance use of such technologies in the specific context of agricultural research.