InnoFoodAfrica Pay Courtesy Call to DVC – AFP&D

Left: Prof. Mutembei shares a light moment with Prof. Fred Stoddard, Crop specialist and expert in legumes research, University of Helsinki. Left: Prof. Mutembei chairs a plenary session with visiting

On 26th May 2022, a team from the University of Helsinki, Finland who are a Work Package three leaders of the InnoFoodAfrica Project paid a courtesy call to the DVC-AFP& D Prof. Henry Mutembei. The delegation and team of researchers were led by Prof. Fred Stoddard, a crop specialist and expert in legumes research. The University of Helsinki. partners with Chuka University in the InnoFoodAfrica Project to address and solve issues on African food value chains for healthier diets and export potential. These include the issues of low farm productivity due to poor seed systems and lack of improved farming practices, lack of expansion, and access to urban and International markets of farm products. The project is envisaged to bring out solutions for improved farming practices, locally available food crops value addition, and the use of bio-friendly packaging materials within Tharaka Nithi and Busia Counties and the country at large. In his opening remarks, Prof. Mutembei urged the Chuka University team led by Prof. Gathungu to ensure the sustainability of the ongoing project. The DVC stressed the need to conduct monitoring and evaluation to ensure the project is on course.

Chuka University works closely with the County Government and NGOs to develop regional plans that address environmental development, hazard preparedness, pollution management, human-wildlife conflict mitigation, alternative tourism, and sustainable hospitality business in conservation areas. Agricultural production has remained steadfast and the pillar of many people despite the changes taking place globally. InnoFoodAfrica project funded by the European Union is being implemented by a team of researchers at Chuka University. The University has been allocated 111,875.00 Euros for the project funding. The team of researchers comprises Prof. Geoffrey K. Gathungu (Dean, Faculty of Agriculture), Dr. Grace O. Abucheli (Chairperson of, the Department of Plant Sciences), and Mr. Geoffrey Kipruto (Chairman, AGEC), Prof. Moses Muraya (Director Graduate School), Dr. Haggai Onyango Ndukhu (Plant Sciences) among others. The project endeavors to utilize, inventive and exhaustive approaches for improving local food structures toward a healthy diet in Africa and for global export. Prof. Stoddard the Project Team Leader commended the Chuka University management for the commitment to support the project towards completion. He further urged the University to explore and develop student exchange programs. Both teams pledged to put in efforts to implement a sustainability framework and mitigation methods to shield farmers against climate change through the timely provision of improved farming methods targeting vulnerable communities. The other officials present during the round table meeting were Ms. Caroline Nthiiri, Dr. Immaculate Mutali (Chief Public Relations Officer) and other representatives from the University of Helsinki and Africa Harvest Biotechnology Foundation International.