MUST wins FORQLAB Project Grant
Meru University of Science and Technology (MUST) has won a grant for Food Waste Reduction and Food Quality Living (FORQLAB). The FORQLAB project would like to contribute to structural reduction of post-harvest food losses and food quality improvement in the Kenyan avocado and dairy value chains through the application of technical solutions and tools as well as improved coordination in those food chains.
The consortium has four types of partners:
- Universities (2 Kenyan, 4 Dutch)
- Private sector actors in those chains
- Organisations supporting those chains, and
- Network partners
The applied research will be implemented in collaboration with all partners, whereby students of the partner universities will conduct most of the field studies and all other partners support and interact depending on the phases.
The FORQLAB project targets two areas in Kenya for both commodities, a relatively well-developed chain in the Central highlands and a less-developed chain in Western-Kenya. The research methods are the business to business and multi-stakeholder (living lab) approaches in order to increase the potential for uptake of successful interventions in the chain.
The project consists of four phases:
- Inventory and inception
- Applied research
- Spreading research outputs through living lab networks
- Translation of project output in curricula and trainings
The expected outcomes are: two knowledge exchange platforms (Living Labs) supported with an advice for sustainable food loss reduction, a research agenda, proposals for ICT and other tech solutions and an implementation strategy; communication and teaching materials for universities and TVETs; and knowledge transfer and uptake.
The project was started on 1st June 2022 and we are currently in the inception phase. Master students have conducted food loss audits, in which they evaluated the current state-of-the-art of food losses in both the dairy and avocado food systems. The next phase is setting research agendas in a multi-stakeholder forum around each participating cooperative.
The Team from Meru University of Science and Technology;
- Prof. Romanus Odhiambo – Vice-Chancellor
- Prof. Peter Masinde – School of Agriculture and Food Science
- Dr. Eric Mworia – School of Agriculture and Food Science
- Dr. Beatrice Owiti – CoD, Communication and Journalism
The project also won an Erasmus Mobility Fund. This will see 3-4 students from MUST will go for a 6-month training in the Netherlands and 5 members of staff from MUST also have a 10-day training period in the Netherlands. The students will be post graduate students from the School of Agriculture and Food Science.