UCL Institute for Global Prosperity


The IGP to Lead Partnership Exploring Agricultural Innovation in Eastern Africa

5 September 2019


Marakwet Research Station Director and Citizen Science team leader Mr Timothy Kipkruto points to community irrigation as an example of longstanding farmer innovation, Elgeyo-Marakwet County, Kenya

The IGP and a team of Kenyan and UK partners have been awarded an AHRC-GCRF research grant to explore the past and future of agricultural innovation in Eastern Africa with specific focus on re-valuing and supporting farmer knowledge and practice. The work will draw on longstanding research on the history of farmer innovation in Kenya conducted by Dr Matthew Davies and Professor Henrietta Moore and will extend this to contemporary farming practices focussing on rural small-holder’s knowledge of indigenous crops and cropping patterns, practices of soil fertility maintenance and farmers knowledge networks, including longstanding socially proscribed exchange practices and recent digital technologies and apps.

The primary research will be conducted in Elgeyo-Marakwet County in Kenya and will work with an existing team of Citizen Scientists and an established group of research participants. The research will combine primary interviews and on-farming participatory mapping with smartphone data collection and policy analysis. These data will be used to produce policy interventions aimed at fostering greater support for famer-led innovation and practical action. Project partners in Kenya include the University of Eldoret, East Africa Herbarium, Marakwet Research Station and British Institute in Eastern Africa. UK partners include researchers from the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew and Pesticide Action UK. The project is also partnering with the UN Environment Programme through its Kenya TEEB Agriculture and Food initiative.