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IKEA Foundation learning event fosters innovation

In the last three days, the KT team led by CEO Dr Birungi Korutaro, Anthony Mugambi, and Andrew Cheboi participated in the IKEA Foundation learning event themed Better Together Agricultural Livelihoods Sessions Spring 2021 virtual edition. 

The virtual event brings together key partners funding or implementing various development projects aligned with R4iCSA project goals. Notable participants included Aceli Africa, AGRA, SNV, Wageningen University, among others. 

Anthony Mugambi, Kenya Team Leader who was among speakers highlighted lessons learnt from the R4iCSA project so far as well as reflected on the significance of the event to participants. 

‘‘My takeaway message from different café sessions moderated by various partners is that to establish meaningful community mobilization, we need to co-create solutions you foresee with them because you can do all the modelling or spreadsheets, conduct the feasibility studies of initiatives you want to initiate with the communities, but they need to co-own the process for the project to be sustainable’’ Anthony told participants. 

Anthony gave a glimpse case study of what is happening with regenerative rice value chain project in Uganda and Kenya under R4iCSA project. ‘‘A quick example is simple prototypes of rice husks stoves for women in rural communities in Kenya and Uganda. The project involves beneficiaries in the scientific process right from basic prototyping. Women groups work together with innovators and technicians to model these technologies. So far, it has been an amazing journey, and it is work in progress.’’ Anthony explained. 

Apart from women using rice husks that have always gone to waste as fuel, thus saving the environment from cutting trees for fuel, they can also generate more money from byproducts of that particular stove as a biochar for use in organic fertilizer manufacturing, Anthony explained. 

 Anthony thanked IKEA Foundation for organizing such impactful learning and connecting event while challenging stakeholders to invest in initiatives that support regenerative agriculture. ‘‘As we build critical mass right from the local level involving cooperatives, private sector, CBOs and FBOs in pushing the idea championed by IKEA, we need other global corporate leaders joining in and levers put on, collaboration and re-education to accelerate development.’’ He concluded.

R4iCSA is a 2 years pilot project (2020-2022) that will concentrate on introducing regenerative agriculture in rice-based farming systems through sustainable rice cultivation, inter/rotational cropping with leguminous species and management of crop waste streams. 

The project is funded by IKEA Foundation and will be implemented by Kilimo Trust in partnership with public and private sector partners. R4iCSA will work with 5,000 smallholder farmers comprising 3,000 in Eastern Uganda and 2,000 in Kenya (1,000 in Kisumu County and another 1,000 farmers in Busia County).

Learn more about the R4iCSA project here 

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