Egerton University partners with Wageningen University in the Netherlands in regenerative and inclusive food systems
- By Agnes Mwangi
Egerton University is partnering with Wageningen University (the Netherlands) to implement the REFOOTURE project in Kenya. REFOOTURE, an acronym for Regenerative Food and Future, is funded by the IKEA Foundation. It is mobilising innovation capacity and strengthening the enabling environment through living labs in East African countries of Kenya, Ethiopia and Uganda.
The REFOOTURE project at Egerton University is known as Nakuru Living Labs. Its mission is to provide food security in the most environmentally friendly and inclusive way in Nakuru County. Nakuru Living Lab is managed through the Division of Research and Extension with the acting Deputy Vice-Chancellor Prof. Bockline Bebe as the Project Director.
On 21st June 2022, the REFOOTURE team comprising researchers from Wageningen University, Ethiopia, Uganda and Kenya paid a courtesy call to the Vice-Chancellor Prof. Isaac Kibwage at Main Campus in Njoro. The team is currently touring the living labs in East Africa.
Prof. Bebe briefed the VC Prof Kibwage on eight innovations at Nakuru Living Labs. These are Griincom waste management ( an innovation of mechanising the composting processing to increase the volumes and improve the nutrient value of the organic fertiliser), RESSECT innovation platform that uses black soldier flies to compost waste), Wanyororo Dairy Cooperatives (focuses on improving productivity, milk supply and access to the market for value-added products), Greenthumb (youth-targeted fish production), Lare-Njoro Farmers (innovation in dairy products to access a larger local market share), Menengai Community Forest Association (sustainable ecosystem management), Hotspring Youth Group (fish production), and the Green Vision (seed potato production).
The researchers from Wageningen University were Karin Andeweg and Gonne Beekman. From Ethiopia were Prof. Gezahegn Berecha from Jimma University, Prof. Yihenew G.Selassie Bahir Dar University and Tewodros Tefera. From Uganda were Prof. Robert Kajobe based at Muni University.
The VC, Prof. Kibwage, welcomed the innovations presented, appreciating the inclusivity of smallholder farmers who stand to benefit and get value from their work. The VC noted that the collaboration among the researchers presented opportunities for cross-learning and knowledge sharing.
In his comments, the Deputy Vice-Chancellor for Academic Affairs, Prof. Bernard Aduda, said that the University stands to benefit through the transfer of the project’s knowledge products to the curricula to add value to students.
The acting DVC (R&E) Prof. Bebe added that Equity Bank will be offering financial literacy education to the smallholder farmers involved in the project in Kenya.
Also present were Tom Owino from the Department of Crops Horticulture and Soils (CHS) and the Deputy Director at Nakuru Living Labs, Pauline Murage, Jonah Muthui and Dennis Kigiri from Nakuru Living Labs