A team of researchers from Kibabii University have partnered with a Kenyan based Norwegian organisation known as KENOR Investment Limited to write joint proposals geared towards food production and value addition in Bungoma County.
Led by the Kenya Country Director Richard Lusweti, who is also the project officer and his Norwegian counterparts Lewi Peter Hansen and Bjoerk Voll Ingebrigt, the team from KENOR visited the University on Monday July 4, 2022 for a familiarisation tour as well as ratification of a Memorandum of Understanding signed in March 2022.
“Currently, we are working on a joint proposal titled: “Economic Empowerment of Communities in Western Kenya through Promotion of Mushroom Production,” Lusweti said.
Realising that mushroom production can positively impact rural livelihoods through food security, income generation, employment creation and improved human wellness through enhancing the body’s immune system, the researchers are focused on using a multi-stakeholder approach to upscale mushroom production at household, community, and country levels.
Farmers are organised into groups, societies and cooperatives particularly led by women and youths and linked to prospective markets through digital platforms and technologies with an overall goal to economically empower Women and Youth along the mushroom production value chain. The project is being implemented in four counties of Bungoma, Transzoia, Busia and Kakamega.
Speaking to KNA, the team from Kibabii University led by Dr Jonathan Mutonyi said that mushrooms are good for health as they are a low calorie food that packs a nutritional punch, adding that mushrooms are rich sources of potassium, a nutrient known to lessen the tension in blood vessels, potentially helping to lower blood pressure.
The Vice Chancellor Isaac Ipara Odeo lauded the initiative saying that mushroom cultivation will aid in supporting local, regional, and national trade and offering opportunities for processing industries as well as creating employment for the youths and other enterprising citizens.
By Anne Wekesa and Oliver Mwangi