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MKU gets 15 million grant to develop fruit fly bait

Mount Kenya University (MKU) has a won a grant from innovate UK; part of UK Research and Innovation to develop a novel product for management of fruit fly. 

The grant will be implemented in partnership with the University of West of Scotland (UWS) and Farmtrack Consulting, a private company in Kenya specializing in sustainable management of agricultural pests.

The overall objective of the project is to develop a novel and environmentally friendly female fruit fly protein baited trap (food bait) using local raw materials. This is expected to enhance sustainable management of fruit fly complex in Kenya and open up export market for Kenya mangoes. 

Kenya imposed a self-ban on mango export to European Union due to fruit fly. Development of a product that enhances management of this pest and open export market for Kenyan mangoes will contribute to improvement of livelihoods for small-holder farmers in Kenya and contribute to the national economy through foreign exchange earnings.

The grant-Knowledge Transfer partnership (KTP) is a first of its kind and the first for UWS partnerships in Kenya and will involve development of sustainable female fruit fly management food bait. The product will target female fruit fly of different species and it is expected to contribute to long term and sustainable management of fruit fly. The product will benefit fruit and vegetable farmers and in Kenya and beyond.

This grant will train by hiring one associate researcher (MSc or PhD holder in Pure and Applied Sciences) who will be stationed in MKU School of Pure and Applied Sciences and will work in collaboration with Farmtrack Company for a period of two years to develop the novel product.

The grant will be implemented through partnership of Mount Kenya University Chancellor Prof.  John Struthers – The lead academic for UWS and Dean School of Pure and Applied Sciences (SPAS) in Mount Kenya University-Dr. Mary Muriuki -The lead academic MKU, developer and chemical analyst for the fruit fly bait and Dr. Maina Ngotho –The -head of department- Animal Health and Production that houses the agriculture, Dr. Allan Mweke- The lead academic supervisor and lead technical expert in development and toxicity tests and support academics, Elizabeth Mwaura and Mr. Simon Nyoro who will be assisted in field tests and community outreach.

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