USAID Supports Research on Use of ICT in Agriculture

Prof Elizabeth Mitcham (front center) together with the JKUAT team

The United States Agency for International Development (USAID), through the Feed the Future (FtF) Innovation Lab for Horticulture initiative awarded a research grant of USD 200,000 to a team of four multidisciplinary researchers from the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources at Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology (JKUAT) to support a project that seeks to investigate the use of Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) in Agriculture.

The project titled; “ICT Landscape in Horticultural Value Chains for Inclusive Community Food System Resiliency and Potential Paths for Social Transformation in Kenya,” will be implemented by the Principal Investigator, Prof Willis Owino (Food Science & Technology) together with Dr. Winnie Nyonje, Dr. Geoffrey Otieno and Mr. Marvin Muriungi for three years running up to 2026.

The project which focuses on tomato, mango and cowpeas farming (crops regarded to have a high production volume and economic value), will look into how farmers are using ICT platforms to obtain information on production and access to markets, and whether this knowledge has an impact.

A tour of the Horticulture Students Association Farm

The findings of this project are expected to inform policy making in the Agricultural sector, and therefore ensure farmers reap maximum benefits from their ventures. This is in line with FtF mission to equip people with the knowledge and tools they need to feed themselves, so as to address the root causes of poverty and hunger, help people end their reliance on aid, and create important opportunities for a new generation of young people  — all while building a more stable world.

During a tour of Horticultural Innovations at JKUAT on Friday, May 19, 2023, Director of Horticulture Innovation Lab, Prof. Elizabeth Mitcham, who was accompanied by visitors from the University of California, Davis, USAID, and others, lauded JKUAT for the significant expansion of the research base at the university and expressed optimism at the project’s outcome, which she said, would be instrumental in the enhancement of Agriculture.

The tour was a culmination of the 2023 Annual Feed the Future Innovation Labs Regional Partners Meeting, themed; Systemic Solutions for Climate Adaptation and Mitigation in Agriculture, Food, and Nutrition Systems, held in Nairobi, Kenya, from the 15-19 May, with a focus on climate change and international collaboration.

FtF brings together partners from across various sectors and the U.S. Government to utilize each of their unique skills and insights in a targeted, coordinated way to help countries that are ripe for transformation change the way their food systems work.

FtF is implemented across aligned countries and at the regional level in Asia, Central America, and East, Southern and West Africa to improve food security and nutrition.

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