Legume Centre of Excellence for Food and Nutrition Security Gets Nod for Phase II

Vice Chancellor, Prof. Victoria Wambui Ngumi (right) and Prof. Marc Hendrickx of KU Leuven, Belgium interact during the meeting announcing the award of Phase II by VLIR-UOS

JKUAT domiciled Legume Centre of Excellence for Food and Nutrition Security (LCEFoNS) has secured funding from VLIR-UOS for the second phase of the project running from 2022-2023.

Phase II of the project brings together JKUAT and Belgian partners – Katholic University Leuven and Vrije University of Brussels and is funded to a tune of 1,750,000 Euros.

This was established when 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) paid a courtesy call on the Vice Chancellor, Prof. Victoria Wambui Ngumi, September 6, 2022.

During the meeting, Prof. Hendrickx highlighted some of the successes of phase one of the project that culminated in August 2022. Phase one saw a total of 24 candidates undergo post graduate training (7 PhD and 17 Masters) and enhanced the laboratory infrastructure at JKUAT through procurement of discipline related research equipment.

According to Prof. Hendrickx, the first five years of the project was dedicated to capacity building. The second phase will see the project consolidate the gains of the first year and escalate it to the community for improved food security and nutrition.

“In Phase II, we will focus on consolidation of the programme this far valorization. We intend to strengthen research and academic capacities, increase skills, knowledge and competence of both staff and students, improve infrastructure and dissemination and enhance regional and international connections,” reported Prof. Hendrickx.

While lauding the multi-disciplinary and multi-regional aspect of the project, Vice Chancellor, Prof. Victoria Wambui Ngumi said the university will give the second phase of the project the requisite support and was confident it will improve the nutrition aspect in the country thus enhancing food security in Kenya.

“As JKUAT, we have always strived to conduct research that is meaningful and beneficial to the society. I am glad that LCEFoNS has so far enhanced the research output and built the capacity of our young researchers. It is my hope that the second phase will enhance collaborative research between JKUAT and our Belgium counterparts and strengthen the outputs of the researchers involved in the programme,” said Prof. Ngumi.

She further urged the research team to leverage on the research outputs of phase one and empower the community to address the hard-to-cook defect in legumes.

LCEFoNS is an inter-departmental and inter-disciplinary programme domiciled at the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources working closely with the College of Health Sciences and School of Computing and Information Technology.

According to Prof. Sila, who is also the Dean, School of Food and Nutritional Sciences, the project focuses on different stages along the value chain of legumes; from agricultural production, postharvest storage, food processing, and human consumption to its impact on nutrition and health.

Legume Centre of Excellence for Food and Nutrition Security Gets Nod for Phase II

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