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02.10.2014 17:05 Age: 5 yrs
Category: General HORTINLEA

HORTINLEA Annual Meeting at Kenyatta University

How can African indigenous vegetables (AIVs) be utilized to improve livelihoods of farmers, merchants and salespersons in Kenya? What chances do AIVs create and how can they enhance general food security in Kenya? In the spirit of these questions, more than sixty dedicated researchers and young doctoral students from Kenya, Germany and other countries came together at Kenyatta University Conference Centre from 8 to 11 September.

It was the annual meeting of the international research project HORTINLEA taking place. The project´s overall goal is to diversify food systems in Kenya by strengthening healthy and nutritious AIVs. Following a very successful start of the summer school for the HORTINLEA Ph.D. students beginning in September, the annual meeting provided a pleasant and productive venue for exchanging ideas and meeting actors from practice. “There was a vital information exchange and various workshops were held, which according to many members was essential to keep this interdisciplinary project moving together”, said Prof. Wolfgang Bokelmann, Leader of the HORTINLEA Consortium and Chairman of the Executive Board.  

The members presented the results of their research done during the past year as well as their plans and discussed value chain strategies. There was also a workshop and a first stakeholder meeting where some of the project partners and experts from organizations such as the German Development Agency (GIZ), SustaiNet East Africa and Kenya Resource Center for Indigenous Knowledge (KENRIK) explored effective dissemination strategies. It was all about the question how existing traditional knowledge as well as the project´s expected results can be effectively disseminated. As an example, there was the idea to make innovative water saving technologies through minimal tillage that are being developed accessible by smallholders through a computer based decision support system and a mobile phone application. The workshop and the stakeholder meeting were the first steps in creating the dissemination strategy to spread HORTINLEA solutions in the upcoming project phases.

Capacity building was another important theme during this year’s meeting. The PhD students had the opportunity to design and present an overview poster of their chosen topic. They talked the consortium through their topic, important solutions they aim to identify and the overall plan of their study.

The joint research project HORTINLEA is funded within the framework of the Programme GlobE – Global Food Security by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) and the German Federal Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development with a grant of up to 7.5 million Euros over five years. Leading universities within the project are among others Humboldt-University (Berlin), Kenyatta University (Nairobi), Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology (Nairobi); Egerton University (Nakuru).

Photos: © Nana Takvarelia / HORTINLEA