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UK Research and Innovations (2022)

Exploring opportunities for the exploitation of polymer-based technologies to reduce food waste and enhance incomes for fine bean farmers in Kenya

Food Waste Bean Farmers

Titre : Exploring opportunities for the exploitation of polymer-based technologies to reduce food waste and enhance incomes for fine bean farmers in Kenya

Pays/Région : Kenya

Durée : janv. 22 - mars 22

Référence projet : 10020550
Catégorie : Collaborative R&D

Résumé
The key objective of this feasibility assessment is to establish the necessary means for successful deployment of an innovative agricultural amendment product (’PAM’) in Kenya based on technology that has been developed a team of researchers and collaborators using public funds.

AGS Ekology Ltd. (’AGS’) is part of the consortium delivering an Innovate UK project titled : _Novel polymer-based technologies to reduce waste and enhance incomes for smallholder and commercial fine bean growers in Kenya_. The team have developed technological spray innovations using anionic polyacrylamides (PAM) to minimise soiling of fine beans, which accounts for \>25% of farm gate rejects in Kenya due to ’soil splash’ contamination. This is due to direct yield losses associated with splash transfer of plant pathogens and bean quality defects due to fungal and bacterial pathogens. Results from our trials indicate that our novel PAM application technologies can reduce soiling by up 67%. Spraying PAM can thus increase marketable yields, curtail rejects, reduce water consumption and increase farm revenue.

A feasibility study is now needed to assess the capacity for wider uptake of PAM technology to reduce food waste throughout Kenya. The application method and concentration of PAM used varies according to soil type. During our research, we have tested 4 broad soil types from Kenya which were imported for analysis in the UK. However, fine beans are grown on a much wider variety of soil types across the region, which should be tested locally to reduce costs associated with exploitation. As part of this feasibility study, we will assess the soil types in Kenya that need to be tested, as well as the capacity of Kenyan soil labs to perform the analyses required to calibrate our PAM technology. We will also explore appropriate means of establishing a distribution network to deliver PAM to farmers, coupled with outreach/education capabilities to train farmers on its correct application. Finally, we will meet with regulatory agencies, such as KEPHIS (Kenya Plant Health Inspectorate Service), to determine the steps required to get PAM licensed for commercial use.

From this feasibility assessment we will be able to develop a PAM distribution venture to reduce the wastage of food and water resources in the fresh produce supply chain from Kenya to the UK. This will improve revenues for smallholder farmers as well as enhance the sustainability of agriculture in an era of environmental change where support for climate adaptation technologies is critical.

Lead Participant : Ags Ekology Ltd

Financement : Innovate UK
Budget  : £19 704

UK Research and Innovations

Page publiée le 12 septembre 2022