Project 2: Storage and processing of legumes for convenient products of high nutritional value – Introduction

Kenya did not meet its millennium development goal in Food and Nutrition security. Most people rely on starchy staples for energy and on legumes for proteins. Because of their amino acid profile, legumes have a greater potential in the fight against nutrient insecurity and alleviation of protein energy malnutrition than most staple foods such as maize, cassava, and rice. In addition, legumes are easily affordable in the human diet, compared to relatively expensive animal proteins. However, legume utilization by food-insecure consumers (rural and urban poor) is hindered by the hard to cook phenomenon, high levels of phytic acid, the presence of antinutrients and various flatulence causing oligosaccharides. In particular, the inconvenient long cooking times and conditions of limited cooking fuel and firewood within reach, lead women to change the food consumption patterns compromising the nutritional intake of many families (Brouwer et al., 1989). For the agricultural efforts on legumes to be successful in the long term, postharvest and processing issues need to be addressed to facilitate the consumer in utilizing these raw materials by unlocking the key barriers to utilization. It is in this perspective that this project seeks to build on the just ended team project on the hard to cook defect on common beans between JKUAT-FST and KU Leuven LFT (2011-2015).