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EWA-BELT & INCiTiS-FOOD online webinar "Enhancing Crop Production: Innovative Techniques and Sustainable Practices - Study cases from Kenya"

June 11, 2024. Partners of the EWA-BELT (GA 862848) and INCiTiS-FOOD (GA 101083790) projects engaged in the first of a series of webinars with a focal point to discuss the ongoing experiences and research endeavors on crop production systems in Kenya.


Rewatch the webinar on 


With the title “Enhancing Crop Production: Innovative techniques and sustainable practices - study cases from Kenya”, representatives from the two projects addressed the main challenges and promising results achieved so far through targeted research and on-site experiences towards a safer, more inclusive and sustainable future of crop production systems in Kenya and sub-Saharan Africa in general. 


If it is true that African countries suffer from high levels of food and nutrition insecurity exacerbated by the increasing impact of climate change on agricultural production and the non-stopping growth of the population; and that agricultural systems are at a crucial crossroads, between family and subsistence farming systems, conventional intensive models and emerging agro-ecological approaches, the webinar shed light on some promising techniques and best practices implemented on the field, with the active involvement of farmers, researchers and on-the-field agents. In this context, four main topics were addressed by the panelists of the webinar, enriching the debate and the literature for not only EU-AU collaboration but paving the way towards positive system change. 


In particular, on behalf of the EWA-BELT Project, Prof. Sheila Okoth, Professor, Researcher and Consultant on Fungi, Mycotoxins and Food & Feed safety at the University of Nairobi, highlighted why and how groundnuts must be considered and “protected” as a crucial crop in Kenya. Her intervention “Performance of selected technologies for improvement of groundnut farming in the Lake Victoria Basin" spanned from the origin of the crop to on-the-field trials and surveys that researchers within the EWA-BELT Project have submitted to the attention of farmers, providing pre-and post-harvest technologies capable of increasing yield and safeguarding the properties of the crop towards food-security. Among the solutions proposed: use of organic fertilizers and manure, crop rotations, PlantHead Platform, drying and storage practices (i.e. PICS storage bags). Along the same lines, Dr Noel Makete, Centre Director for the National Sericulture Research Centre, KALRO, harnessed “The value of neglected crops in cereal legume rotationspresenting the activities and the results achieved so far within the EWA-BELT Project. With a focus on Finger Millet (Eleusine coracana), Sorghum (Sorghum bicolor) and Groundnut (Arachis hypogaea), as the farmers’ preferred neglected crops, the on-farm Participatory technology development “learning by doing” approach was implemented for the cereal legume rotations, and in particular, to test the use of organic and inorganic fertilizers, the use of pre-harvest bio-controls for management of mycotoxins (Aflasafe KE01), the slow-release SO2 bags as well as the innovative PlantHead Platform for plant disease diagnosis. While challenges still persist - lack of mechanization of the procedures - some promising results have already emerged. Among other ones, the familiarity with which some farmers have now become trainers to other farmers of their community attests to the success of the employed approach and confirm its advantages in sharing knowledge and training capacities. 


With the INCiTiS-FOOD project being well in gear in its second year, Prof. Dr. Arnold M. Opiyo, Associate Professor at the Faculty of Agriculture at Egerton University, focused on bringing the first empirical results to light regarding increasing production of fruit and African leafy vegetables using two innovative components - Black Soldier Fly (BSF) frass and fish sludge from aquaponics. In his presentation, Dr. Opiyo noted that in the Egerton Living Lab the circular approach of no resource getting wasted allows for test crops to be irrigated and re-nuroushed by applying BSP frass and fish sludge to plant groth beds. Cowpea production (Vigna unguiculata) was favored in this set of experiments due to its drought tolerant properties and nutrient richness ( calcium, iron, zinc and vitamin B complex) while tomato (Solanaceae family) production was tested as it is one of the most produced and consumed crop in Kenya. The initial observation showed that this circular and sustainable approach not only produces greater yields compared to traditional outside farming practices but also allows for different and unique farming practices to take place. Additionally, Dr. Ibrahim Macharia, Senior Lecturer at the Department of Agricultural Economics in Kenyatta University explained to the audience what are aquaponics crop production systems, the different types of systems found in the Kenyatta University Living lab, and what African leafy vegetables can thrive in such a set-up. At this stage of the INCiTiS-FOOD project two different crop growth performance data including germination, growth rate, plant high, number of leaves and size and total yield were analyzed for African nightshade (Solanum spp), preferred for its nutrient content and medicinal properties, and Cowpea (Vigna unguiculata), favored for its source of dietary fiber and positive impact on stomach conditions. With collaborative work and co-creative approaches for problem-solution practices from the germination to the harvesting stage the INCiTiS-FOOD Living Lab found promising results for the aquaponics systems paving the way towards innovative farming practices in Africa.


Acknowledging to the wide range of topics that the webinar discussed, a sustainable, safer and more inclusive future of crop production systems in Africa is possible and attainable if cooperation and involvement of all players at all levels, research endeavors and investments are provided. The EWA-BELT and INCiTiS-FOOD Projects are promising exemplary instances of this ambitious objective. 


You can rewatch the webinar on



Stay tuned for the upcoming webinar on “Participatory approach to confirm the importance of community engagement and of collaborative solution - Experiences from Ghana". More news soon! 



To learn more about the topics that were discussed, get in touch with: 

Prof. Sheila Okoth, University of Nairobi : sheilaokoth@uonbi.ac.ke 

Dr. Noel Makete, KALRO : neks2030@yahoo.com, noel.makete@kalro.org

Prof. Arnold Opiyo, Egerton University : mopiyo@egerton.ac.ke

Dr Ibrahim Macharia, Kenyatta University : macharia.ibrahim@ku.ac.ke 



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For media inquiries:

EWA-BELT Project 

INCiTiS-FOOD Project

Website: www.ewabelt.eu

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Instagram: ewabelt_project

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LinkedIn: showcase/ewa-belt

YouTube: occam3039

Joint YouTube channel: @sfs35

Website: www.incitis-food.eu

Facebook: Incitis-food

Instagram: incitisfood

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LinkedIn: INCiTiS-FOOD

YouTube: incitis-foodproject



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