Home > Agriculture > Rongo University to collaborate with Canadian university to strengthen food systems 

Rongo University to collaborate with Canadian university to strengthen food systems 

Rongo University in collaboration with the University of Wilfrid Laurier in Canada, has initiated a seven-year programme to educate farmers on modern approaches to food production.

The program intends to leverage local media to amplify farmers’ voices and disseminate crucial information, with the overarching goal of addressing gaps in the food production chain.

During the launch of the project, Prof. Samuel Gudu, Vice Chancellor of Rongo University said that the project emphasis will be on food systems with a major focus on how to produce and distribute in the value chain.

“The collaboration will be initiating projects that the community needs from the farmers’ point of view where stakeholders in agriculture and the blue economy will be involved in food growing and distribution to support healthy living,” noted Gudu.

Migori is an agricultural-based county that can sustain various crop varieties ranging from maize, beans, sweet potatoes, sorghum, vegetables, and fruits. The county is also rich in fish production and sugarcane farming.

Prof Gudu added that the initiative would also incorporate agroecology, encompassing the cultural knowledge of food cultivation held by indigenous communities.

He highlighted the benefits of agroecology for farmers facing challenges such as climate change and poverty, emphasizing its potential to reduce contamination of aquatic life associated with the use of commercial fertilizers.

The project will also help to train graduate fellows in the fields of Information Communication and Media studies, agricultural extension, and basic agricultural production to enable them to share the acquired knowledge with the local communities.

Dr. Andrew Spring from Wilfred Laurier University of Canada underscored the importance of building communities’ capacity to produce their food, aligning with the objectives of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) focused on food safety and ending malnutrition.

He explained that the project’s foundation lies in sharing information with farmers and providing support for culturally relevant agricultural practices.

“We will ensure that the project is participatory to help bring voices together and share knowledge collectively to address poverty, food insecurity, and climate change in the county,” acknowledged Dr Spring.

The university don pointed out that they will be working closely with Rongo University, students, and local farmers who have experience in what they grow locally on their farm community gardens to improve food productivity.

The project will incorporate farmers from the two sub-counties of Migori, namely Nyatike and Suna West, which are particularly affected by the adverse impacts of climate change.

The collaborative effort aims to empower local communities, foster sustainable agricultural practices, and contribute to achieving broader development goals.

By Geoffrey Makokha

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