KFP collaborates with the following organizations to find new ways of preserving food:
  • Kenya Industrial Development Institute (KIRDI)
  • The Kenya Gatsby Trust (KGT)
  • The Africa Harvest Biotechnology Foundation International (AHBFI)
  • The Export Promotion Council (EPC)
  • Dryers for Africa
Fruits and vegetables comprise a significant portion of Kenya’s horticultural products. Most of them are grown through rain fed agriculture, especially those grown by small scale farmers, which means there are very large supplies in season and very little out of season. Further, due to their perishable nature, fruits and vegetables that cannot be sold fresh need to be preserved immediately to avoid wastage and to minimise loss of income to the farmer. It has been estimated that 30-40% of fruits and vegetables in Kenya is lost through wastage in farms and markets.

Additionally, a lot of work has gone into research and programmes for increasing the production of fruits and vegetables in many parts of Kenya, which has greatly increased yields. However, the increase in yields has in some cases resulted in seasonal flooding of local markets and some wastage as farmers lack the knowledge, skills and technologies for preservation and value addition. Inadequate knowledge about food values, social values, food choices, combinations and preparation also affect the way households benefit nutritionally from the available foods.

In an effort to improve the whole value chain there are a number of initiatives experimenting with new ways of food preservation. There is also a growing consciousness about the value of food as a key to better health, disease prevention and as a natural healing for some ailments. The proliferation of herbal medicine has created new consciousness and opportunity for the use of a diversity of food products for better health and care of the sick and vulnerable groups. The HIV/AIDS pandemic has placed an unprecedented challenge to families living with people with HIV/AIDS and improved nutrition has been identified as one strategy for dealing with the nutritional and other healing needs of the HIV/AIDS survivors and family members.

One of the readily available production technologies that can extend the shelf-life of fruit and vegetables is the drying technology, which extends the shelf-life by at least 12 months. It also gives them the versatility to be used in the creation of a diversity of products, on their own or in combination with other farm produce. Value addition increases the income to the farmer by at least 50%.

There is increased interest among farmers on adding value to their products through processing and KFP demonstrations at farmer events always generate enormous interest from farming groups who would want to learn more. In addition to adding value, farmers also need to be trained to use the dried products in their communities in order to increase their marketing outlets. Products like dried sweet potatoes, mushrooms, bananas, tomatoes, green vegetables, pumpkins, carrots, onions and cassava can be used to produce a variety of fortified foods in combination with other products like maize, sorghum, millet and amaranthus.