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Wageningen UR helps horticulture in Kenya

Wageningen UR will assist three agricultural sectors in Kenya in their transition from aid to trade in Dutch development policy. President of the Executive Board Louise Fresco attended a round table meeting in Nairobi on Monday, December 14th on how to achieve innovations in one of these sectors: horticulture.

The project '3R Kenya' has been designed by Wageningen UR in collaboration with Kenyan partners. "We will look at how current, small-scale projects funded by the Netherlands in the horticulture, fish farming and dairy sector can be scaled up," says Irene Koomen, involved with the Wageningen-wide 3R Kenya project through the Centre for Development Innovation. The research projects will focus on small and slightly larger farmers, gardeners and growers. For 3R Kenya, Wageningen UR's expertise in the area of critical sector analysis, innovative thinking, experience with multi-stakeholder processes, efficient and integrated chains and circular economy is important, among others.

Resilient, Robust, Reliable
The three agricultural sectors should become more Resilient, more Robust and more Reliable in the areas of innovation, chains and governance, to strengthen trade relations with the Dutch business community. Kenya innovates, but the middle class and the farmers benefit too little. Koomen: "We will therefore try to expose what elements or links are missing to enable aid to trade in the projects concerned."

Dutch Diamond 
Jennie van der Mheen, Wageningen UR’s manager international cooperation Africa: “In addition, good cooperation between government, industry, NGOs and research institutions in Kenya is needed. The position of the business community in Kenya is traditionally strong, but policymakers can play a major role in, for example, removing obstacles to innovation and transition. However, they must want to take up this role." In her speech at the round table meeting, Fresco therefore pointed out the role of the 'Dutch Diamond' for innovations in the agrifood sector. Better dynamics in the quadrangle can contribute to the important sharing of lessons and generating a common agenda.

Projects for which the scale-up potential will be explored include HortIMPACT (horticultural project in which the Kenyan and Dutch horticulture industry collaborate, also involving Wageningen) and the Kenya Market-led Dairy Programme (the same in dairy). The Kenyan partners in 3R Kenya are Egerton University and its related institute Tegemeo, TradeCare (consultants), African Centre for Technology Studies (ACTS, think tank) and AgriProFocus (agri-network organization). At least three PhD students will be assigned to the project.

Food security
The Dutch embassy in Kenya invests in food security in Kenya. The embassy makes 3R Kenya possible thanks to a contribution of nearly four million euro, for four years. In 2021 the bilateral aid relationship with Kenya should be phased out. The 3R project in Kenya could possibly serve as a precursor for other countries and actors for the design of future bilateral relations and the shift from aid to trade.

Source: Wageningen UR
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