CESAAM Zeroes in on Food Security
The Centre of Excellence in Sustainable Agriculture and Agribusiness Management (CESAAM) is funded by the World Bank in collaboration with the Kenya Government, and supports students, faculty and partners across Africa through building their capacity for quality teaching and innovative research. In its efforts, the Centre has partnered with peer and top global universities, the industry and farming community actors. The Centre is anchored at the Faculty of Agriculture and focuses on agri-innovations, agri-entrepreneurship, Climate smart agriculture, research, training and technology transfer for sustainable development.
The main goal of the project is to address food insecurity, one of Kenya's Big 4 AGENDA and perhaps the most cited African challenge.
The objectives of the Centre are: Capacity development along the Agricultural Value Chain in the Eastern and Southern Africa region, especially for the fragile and post-conflict states; Undertaking innovative research, including use of biotechnology and climate smart agriculture, for increased crop and livestock productivity; Enhancing the capacity of Egerton University's Agro-Science Park to assist partner universities establish a similar model for incubation of technological innovations; Developing evidence-based agricultural policy briefs; and disseminating best practices through Agricultural Knowledge Centres in Egerton and partner universities.
The Centre has over 200 graduate students from 11 countries in Africa, namely Botswana, Burundi, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Lesotho, Malawi, Rwanda, South Sudan, Tanzania and Uganda.
CESAAM has supported a total of 240 graduate students from 11 countries in Africa (168 M.Sc., 72 Ph.D.), of whom 52 percent are female. From this group 14 Master's and 3 Ph.D. students have successfully completed their studies. In enhancing exposure to the international environment, the Centre has supported 35 students and staff to exchange experience in China, USA, UK and Sub-Saharan Africa for a period of one to four months. This has provided the exchange fellows with the opportunity to work with top institutions and researchers around the globe.
Out of the research work at the Centre and through regional and international collaboration, a total of 190 research projects have been supported, resulting in 204 publications in internationally peer- reviewed journals.
As an avenue to improving industry and community skills through short courses, the Centre has trained a total of 398 stakeholders made up of farmers, students, extension workers and industry representatives. The short courses available on demand at the Centre are Animal Feed Formulation, Conservation Agriculture, Data Analysis, Food Safety and Quality Management, Apiculture, Agribusiness Value Chain Development and Management, and Business Plan Development. The Centre has also organised short courses in Governance and Leadership for university management staff.
At community and youth level, 7 Youth-led extension forums and 4-K Club revival initiatives have been carried out. For industry engagement, a total of 104 internships and research attachments for graduate students have been supported at 4 institutions, namely the Hive Kenya Limited, ICIPE, Community Action for Rural Development (CARD), and the Feed Industry.
The industry engagement also includes support for innovation products. So far, a total of 4 products have been supported and some are undergoing commercialisation, namely aflatoxin reduced peanut for dry land farmers/ industry, sugarless jam for diabetics, sorghum with low gluten for bread suitable for diabetics, and fabrication of farm machinery, including winnowing machines and maize shelling machine.
Prof. George Owuor, Lecturer at Egerton University and Director of CESAAM.