On 29th July 2022, the Faculty of Agriculture hosted a virtual workshop to share the findings of a study on Food Quality Management and Loss Assessment in Value Chains linked to the Homegrown School Meals Program (HFSMP). The study was funded through a collaborative agreement between the University of Nairobi and the United Nation’s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). The University of Nairobi research team led by Prof. Jane Ambuko was tasked by FAO to develop and share knowledge on the understanding and practices on food quality management among stakeholders of the HGSMP. In addition, the team was to conduct an assessment of food losses in selected supply chains linking farmers to the school feeding programme and formulate recommendations. The other team members included Prof John Mburu (Economist) and Dr. George Abong’ (Food Scientist). Students involved in the study included Esther Mujuka (Economics), Duke Gekonge (Food Science), Emmanuel Amwoka (Horticulture), Robert Ouko (Horticulture), Rose Githumbi (Economics) and Caren Okumu (Economics). The study commenced in May 2021 and covered two Counties, Kajiado and Kitui where the Ministry of Education has implemented the HGMSP since 2009 using the Cash Transfer to Schools modality.
The goal of the consultation workshop was to share the study findings and seek feedback/input from key stakeholders in the HGSMP. The workshop was attended by various stakeholders including officers from the relevant Ministries (Education, Health, Agriculture), Department of Social Protection, Kitui and Kajiado County Education Officers, representatives of FAO-Kenya, FAO-Rome, researchers from University of Nairobi and Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology, KALRO, private sector players and NGOs involved in schools feeding (such as 2 scale and Partnership for Child Development, PCD), traders’ representative, farmers’ representative among others.
The opening session of the workshop was attended by the Dean, Faculty of Agriculture, Prof. Moses Nyangito and the Chairmen of Departments involved in the study including Prof James Muthomi (Plant Science and Crop Protection) and Dr. George Abong’ (Food Science, Nutrition and Technology. In their remarks, the Dean and heads of departments commended the research team and thanked FAO for entrusting the University of Nairobi with the important study, whose findings and recommendations are expected to improve the HGSMP. The Dean reiterated the importance of such partnerships in the efforts to link the University with the stakeholders in the agriculture and food sector. He commended the research team for including students in the research activities as this was critical for the students’ skills enhancement through experiential learning.