Welcome to the UniCARSSA project Website
In Kenya and Uganda, challenges of food & nutrition security (FNS) and rural poverty remain major concerns. Declining soil fertility, mono-cropping, poor post-harvest handling and erratic rainfall as a result of climate change lead to malnutrition and poverty1 . Over-dependence on rainfed agriculture with vulnerable crops such as maize exacerbates soil degradation and food insecurity. Poorly responsive soils to fertilizers, low organic matter content and lost top soils are common with micronutrients such as copper, zinc and nickel being diagnosed as limiting factors2 to crop production. Low consumption of traditional high-value crops such as sorghum, millet and grain legumes has led to increased nutrition-related diseases. Yet, research on these crops has been neglected in Africa3 , despite the opportunities to improve livelihoods through grain/legume-based product development.
Integrated soil management practices and intercropping of nutritious foods can enhance resource utilization, increase production, and improve rural livelihoods.4 Intercropping of cereals and legumes provides diversified sources of food and opportunities to reduce malnutrition and increase household incomes through product development at household and community level. Crops such as sorghum, millet and legumes are a good source of protein, iron, zinc and vitamins. Furthermore, the crops are drought tolerant and more resilient to erratic rainfall. Legumes grown in sequence with cereals positively affects the system’s water- and nutrient-use efficiencies5 . However, these crops typically incur post-harvest losses. The combination of cereal and legume crops can also be used as base ingredients for the production of nutritious ready-to-use supplementary foods (RUSFs) to alleviate malnutrition.