Professor Struthers continued: “At present, farmers in Kenya face many barriers when it comes to trade with certain countries, specifically in the EU, so we hope that this new environmentally friendly technology will open up doors for Kenya’s agriculture sector. The Farmtrack project has huge potential to increase farmers’ outputs and to boost the Kenyan economy.”
Currently there is no commercially available and environmentally friendly approach to female fruit fly management.
The proposed approach will reduce the need for chemical pesticides’ current reliance on imported raw materials, safeguarding supplies, human, animal and environmental health.
Professor Struthers, from the University’s School of Business and Creative Industries, will work alongside Dr Richard Thacker (School of Health and Life Sciences) and Professor Andrew Hursthouse (School of Computing, Engineering and Physical Sciences) as well as other colleagues from across the institution to deliver the cross-departmental project in partnership with academics from Mount Kenya University.
The two-year project will focus on mango crops, but has potential to be expanded to different types of produce. If successful, Farmtrack will be able to commercialise the technology to support clients across Kenya, the continent and internationally.
As well as working with the partner universities, Farmtrack will gain access to a KTP Associate employed by UWS and based in Mount Kenya University, a recent graduate who will work on the project full-time. Academics from UWS and Mount Kenya University will provide expertise in both the scientific and business side of the project. Work on the project is set to commence in January 2021.
The African KTP is the latest in a number of great strides taken by UWS in the Knowledge Transfer Partnership landscape in 2020. UWS’s portfolio peaked at 35 KTP projects in 2020 with a combined value in excess of £7 million, positioning UWS as third in the UK and number one in Scotland by size of its KTP portfolio. With 12 management KTPs, UWS’s School of Business and Creative Industries occupies the top spot in the UK.
Professor Milan Radosavljevic, Vice-Principal and Pro Vice-Chancellor for Research, Innovation and Engagement at UWS, added: “UWS has seen huge success in Knowledge Transfer Partnerships in Scotland and the wider United Kingdom, so I am thrilled that we have been chosen as one of the first higher education institutions to introduce the programme in Africa."