SP 13
< Gender in Agricultural Value Chains: African Indigenous Vegetables in Kenya
13.11.2017 10:20 Age: 2 yrs
Category: SP 13, PhD & Master theses, General HORTINLEA

HORTINLEA Master students at the TROPENTAG 2017, Bonn

Sergio and Manon attended the Tropentag Conference 2017. © Manon Lelarge, Sergio Urioste Daza

Manon presents her thesis results in a presentation session. © Manon Lelarge, Sergio Urioste Daza

Sergio put together the most important results of his thesis for the poster presentation. © Manon Lelarge, Sergio Urioste Daza

The TROPENTAG 2017, a renewed international conference for students in tropical agriculture and related areas, took place from September 19th to 22nd in Bonn, Germany. This year’s topic, “Future agriculture: Social-ecological transitions and biocultural shifts”, brought together more than 800 participants. Scientists and students from different disciplines put on evidence the interdisciplinary nature of food and nutrition security, as well as the research that is being performed in developing countries. The TROPENTAG Conference was a perfect platform to present our Master theses written in the framework of the HORTINLEA Master’s Thesis Programme in front of experts.

Complementing Each Other’s Knowledge Gaps

Manon’s topic deals with the necessity to close the gap between research and practice, and more specifically to integrate local and academic knowledge of food systems. In the presentations session for knowledge systems the set of sustainable practices – identified during a field phase from February to April 2017 – for each step of the AIVs production process was summarised. These practices, embedded in an environment with several challenges, are facing possible disruption. However, a clear synergy between local and academic knowledge was identified. By complementing each other’s knowledge gaps, farmers and academics could be able to overcome them. It was put forward that the potential of AIVs can be tremendous, especially regarding their nutritional content and marketing opportunities. By promoting the adoption of sustainable and efficient AIV production practices at a small-scale level, emerging from the integration of local and academic knowledge, a step towards food security and better nutrition could be reached in Kenya and in East Africa.

Transdisciplinary Approach for M&E Food Security Interventions

Sergio had the opportunity to present his master’s thesis topic at the Knowledge systems’ poster session. His research was on monitoring and evaluation (M&E) of transdisciplinary research intervention on food security in Kenya. Through a mixed-method’s approach, the study analysed ongoing M&E systems in Kenya, as well as the different actors involved in the process. It furthermore looked into challenges and opportunities in the design and implementation of M&E systems. This information was complemented with quantitative analysis of four indicators of food security, which were related to household characteristics of 700 households in Kenya. The indicators are: Coping Strategy Index, Food Consumption Score, Household Dietary Diversity Index and Months of Adequate Household Food Provisioning. The results highlight the importance of implementing a transdisciplinary approach on the M&E food security interventions, as well as the importance of adapting implemented methods to local context.

The conference was an ideal opportunity to encounter participating friends and meet new ones. Several pre-conference workshops kicked-off the interaction between participants where we had the chance to discuss and work in groups in different thematic areas. During the conference, the side events and coffee breaks provided a platform for networking where students and researchers did not only discuss the outcomes of their research but also their future in research and professional development.

TROPENTAG was without doubt a great opportunity for our academic and professional growth. We are looking forward to joining and meeting former HORTINLEA colleagues at the next TROPENTAG, which will be held at our alma mater, Ghent University.

© Manon Lelarge, Sergio Urioste Daza