Farming activities in peri-urban regions of Nairobi, Kenya © HORTINLEA

HORTINLEA is an interdisciplinary research project addressing food security in East Africa, particularly in Kenya. The overall goal is to improve the livelihood and nutritional situation of the rural and urban poor.

Global food security is one of the pressing challenges of the 21st century. In Kenya, half of the population is unable to meet their daily nutritional requirements, while the majority of Kenyans depend on farming. Horticultural crops and particularly African leafy indigenous vegetables  provide essential nutrients lacking in the diet of millions.

HORTINLEA uses an integrated approach that encompasses the entire value chain from production to marketing and consumption of leafy vegetables and integrates poverty, environmental and gender dimensions.

See the list of AIVs analysed in HORTINLEA.

Scientific research and beyond


In HORTINLEA, 19 universities and research institutes in Kenya, Tanzania and Germany collaborate in 14 subprojects to gain added value from their academic excellence and expertise. In doing so, the project will lead to regionally adapted solutions related to food systems in East Africa based on interdisciplinary, comprehensive and holistic knowledge. In order to ensure that the research findings ultimately benefit the rural and urban poor in Kenya, a comprehensive dissemination strategy that addresses policy makers and practitioners forms part of the project.

HORTINLEA consists of 14 Subprojects (SP) in different areas of research. Details about individual SPs are accessible through the right column and the chart below.

 

Knowledge ExchangeSP14SP13SP12SP11SP10SP9SP8SP7SP6SP5SP4SP3SP2SP1

Funding initiative for global food security


HORTINLEA is embedded in a funding initiative for global food security (GlobE) of the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research and the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development. The HORTINLEA consortium has been awarded a total grant of approximately 1.5 million euros per year, jointly provided by the donors for three years, starting in 2013. Two additional years are in prospect.

Background: Integrated approach to food security

Global food security is one of the biggest challenges nowadays. Due to its close mutually reinforcing relationship with poverty it has become a focal point in the public debate. To put this in perspective, according to FAO statistics around 925 million people suffered from chronic hunger in 2010, majority of whom are living in the rural areas. Meanwhile, statistics show that overwhelming figure of several billion people are affected by the so-called “hidden hunger”, meaning an inadequate vital micronutrients intake, such as vitamins or minerals, which can have a detrimental impact on an individual’s health and can contribute to developmental delays in children. 

In Kenya, half of the population is unable to meet their daily nutritional requirements, while majority of Kenyans depend on farming. Strengthening the horticultural sector thus has the potential to foster improvement in the nutritional status and increase incomes among vulnerable people in Kenya. 

Horticultural crops, particularly leafy vegetables, provide essential nutrients lacking in the diet of millions. In addition, the labor-intensive horticultural production systems as well as the associated logistic and processing activities provide workplaces and income opportunities. 

With its focus on horticulture and leafy vegetables, HORTINLEA seeks to meet the pressing challenges of malnutrition, poverty and sustainability. HORTINLEA aims to tackle these problems by adopting an integrated approach which combines poverty, environmental and gender concerns.

Collaboration structure

In HORTINLEA, universities and research institutes from different disciplines and countries join forces to guarantee high quality research on key questions of food security. In addition, HORTINLEA is designed to strengthen university, research and innovation capacities in Kenya and in the neighbouring regions of Tanzania and Ethiopia.

Relevance for research and practice

The academic excellence and expertise of the partners enable the project to gain valuable research results. In order to ensure that the research findings ultimately benefit the rural and urban poor in Kenya, a comprehensive dissemination strategy that addresses policy makers and practitioners forms a part of the project.