The Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Horticulture at the University of California, Davis (UC Davis) has collaborated with
the International Centre for Evaluation and Development (ICED) to establish the East Africa Horticulture Regional Hub. ICED’s Nairobi Office serves as the office of the East Africa Horticulture Regional Hub. The Innovation Lab’s global research network advances fruit and vegetable innovations, empowering smallholder farmers to earn more income while better nourishing their communities. The program is funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development and led by a team based at University of California, Davis, as part of the U.S. government’s Feed the Future initiative.
Within the next four years, the Horticulture Innovation Lab is focusing its efforts on the East Africa region with the aim to implement a locally led, globally supported program that will produce systemic, sustainable, and inclusive improvements in the horticulture sector. Despite, East Africa region having favourable climate, the great potential of horticulture sector remains unrealized due to several challenges along the value chain. Alongside the constraints, there exists unexplored opportunities for inclusive growth for all actors such as women and the youth in the sector. Identification and prioritization of the challenges and opportunities by key stakeholders and practitioners in the horticulture value chain is critical for targeted interventions to achieve productive, efficient, sustainable, and inclusive growth of the horticulture sector in East Africa Region.
- Promote projects in the East Africa region targeting small scale farmers that will tackle challenges and seize opportunities in the horticulture industry.
- Coordinate and monitor projects within the region.
- Facilitate the exchange of innovative ideas and technologies to contribute to practical and academic horticultural pursuits.
- Develop capacity of local networks to equitably respond to regional needs.
- Cultivate in-country networks including USAID mission relationships.
East Africa Horticulture Hub Research Priority
In May 2022, the feed the future Innovation Lab for Horticulture, East Africa Region Hub organized the first Consultative Workshop which brought together regional leaders, local horticulture experts, academia, private sector, the Lab consortium, and other relevant stakeholders with the intention to identify on-the-ground challenges and opportunities within the region. The consultative workshop explored avenues for addressing the identified challenges through research or capacity building activities. The consultative workshop was preceded by Desk review and key Informant Interviews with key stakeholders within the East Africa Region. This led to the development of East Africa Regional Horticulture Workshop report, which detailed the various challenges and opportunities within the horticulture sector. Click here to view the report.
In November 2022, the East Africa regional hub manager joined the other regional hub managers from West Africa, Central America and South Asia together with Lab management team and consortium partners in Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University (FAMU) in Florida, USA. The goal for this meeting was for each regional Hub to establish clear priorities and subthemes which informed the Request for Proposal (RFP) for projects spanning 2023 to 2026. The key research Priorities for East Africa are;
- Pre-harvest and post-harvest management to reduce post-harvest losses
- Enhanced marketing and market access of vegetables in the East Africa region.
This led to the development of the East Africa RFP titled: Transforming the horticulture sector in East Africa for better incomes and improved livelihoods for small scale farmers. Click here to view the RFA.
In March 2023, the Innovation Lab for Horticulture awarded 3 projects from the East Africa region. The awarded projects will be implemented by local organizations in Kenya and Uganda with the goal of empowering smallholder farmers to earn more income while better nourishing their communities.
East Africa Horticulture Management Team
East African Horticulture Lab Hub Director
East African Horticulture Lab Hub Manager
East African Horticulture Lab Hub Program Assistant
East Africa Horticulture Advisory Board
Prof. Jane Ambuko
Associate Professor of Horticulture, Department of Plant Science and Crop Protection, University of Nairobi.
Prof. Arnold Opiyo
Associate Professor of Horticulture, Egerton University