FOod waste Reduction and food Quality living LAB (FORQLAB) is a consortium led by four Dutch universities Van Hall Larenstein, HAS , Inholland and Aeres, together with two Kenyan universities, Egerton University and Meru University. Also involved are a range of companies, business support organisations, knowledge partners and alumni networks from the dairy and avocado sectors. FORQLAB follows a living lab approach: doing applied research with the business partners in order to find and test technical solutions and tools as well as look into better coordination in the avocado and dairy value chains.
For many perishable and nutrient-rich food products, the shelf life can be extended. This can be done, among other things, by means of packaging of agricultural products, food processing and value addition and managing the immediate ambient temperature and humidity. Large export-oriented companies have access to and invest in post-harvest management. Yet value-added activities and cost-effective, mid-tech- based, energy-neutral and multifunctional post-harvest management are not widely applied in the Kenyan context. In many cases, the knowledge and technology exist, but its practical orientation and application in a specific context is lacking. The FORQLAB project will therefore focus on practice-oriented research to provide additional insights and action perspectives with regard to:
- market development and potential for mid-tech post-harvest management options at various levels, including revenue model and business operations, with a focus on local implementation;
- applicability and feasibility of small-scale context-specific mid-tech post-harvest management and food processing technologies for local markets using local experience in commercial markets;
- the revenue model and cost efficiency of post-harvest management technology and its potential local impact on issues such as food waste, food availability, food security and food prices.
Food safety, quality assurance and traceability
In the Kenyan food system, large volumes of agricultural products circulate within informal and local markets. It is often not known what origin a particular agricultural product has and which production guidelines have been followed. Transparent mechanisms and ICT applications to map the traceability and quality assurance of agricultural products from farm to point of sale offer the possibility to link agricultural products from small-scale and organised farmers to a market that may be willing to pay added value for a safe, nutritious and fair product. The FORQLAB project will also carry out practice-oriented research to provide additional insights and action perspectives with regard to:
- The technical feasibility and social acceptance governance and revenue model for ICT applications, that make traceability and food safety transparent, and offer options to better link organised, small-scale producers to a specific market with added value;
- Proof of concept for service provision with an ICT application for organised, small-scale farmers.
The role of NFP
NFP will be providing FORQLAB with backbone support and in doing so, connecting the project to our network in NL as well as in Kenya. This includes Dutch governmental, NGO, civil society organisations as well as knowledge institutions. In addition NFP will offer additional support FORQLAB with learning events to further disseminate knowledge and findings from the project to a broader audience.