Stakeholders Provide Feedback on LCEFoNS Project

Prof. Marc Hendrickx makes a presemtation during the forum

Stakeholders converged at Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology on Friday, September 29, to map the second phase of the Legume Centre of Excellence for Food and Nutrition Security (LCEFoNS) project. The VLIR-UOS funded Institutional University Cooperation project brings together JKUAT, Katholic University Leuven, and Vrije University of Brussels.

It was launched in 2017 and has since morphed into a formidable platform to promote food and nutrition security research and technology transfer with a focus on beans, cowpeas and green grams.

Drawing from the successes of the first phase, the project in 2023 got funding for the second phase that will run through 2027. Managed in four sub-themes LCEFoNS takes an interdisciplinary approach to legumes value chain and has registered a number of feats in research capacity building through postgraduate training and infrastructure modernization. The sub-themes are legume breeding; storage and processing; nutrition and health as well as computing and information technology.

During the event, students who undertook their doctorate research under the project had an opportunity to share the results of their studies across the four sub-themes to the stakeholders who included industry, academia, and government representatives. While appreciating the research milestones by the student researchers, the stakeholders also provided insights that could inform future research work through LCEFoNS.

Prof. Daniel Sila, Principal College of Health Sciences and LCEFoNS Steering Committee local lead said the event was primed to get feedback from the stakeholders to inform future activities of the Project. He explained that the key aim of the project is to provide solutions to the challenges faced by the industry along the legumes value chain.

Participants follow proceedings during the meeting

The stakeholders were taken through the scope and activities that would define the Project’s implementation in the new phase. The scope will cover research, education, people, outreach, network and policies.

Under research, LCEFoNS team will work to build new research groups, chart new research lines and methods. Within the education scope, the Project will see development of new academic courses and modernization of existing ones. For the people scope, more trainings at doctorate and masters levels will be undertaken. Similarly, there will be short term trainings and exchanges to build capacity of participating groups.

Under outreach, LCEFoNS seeks to expand the frontiers of community engagement through target events, media, technology transfer and trainings of target groups. Within the network scope, the Project will facilitate linkages, international networks and student mobility. Within the policy and systems pillar, the project will further support infrastructure upgrades through purchase of equipment.

Prof. Marc Hendrickx from Katholic University Leuven who is also a coordinator of LCEFoNS opined that the ultimate aim for the Project is to see the each of the four sub-themes emerge into fully functional and sustainable research units.

Legume crops mature fast, are widely consumed and are a cheaper source of proteins compared to meat making them great agents in eliminating protein and energy malnutrition. They also have capacity to fix nitrogen in the soil. This reduces the need for expensive inorganic fertilizers thereby reducing environmental impact.

Participants of the LCEFoNS stakeholder meeting

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