Mr. Gekonge is the only attendee from an African University competitively selected among international applicants.
Gekonge Duke Omayio, a Phd student from the Department of Food Science, Nutrition, and Technology is among the 20 international student travel grant awardees to attend this years’ International Association of Food Protection (IAFP) Conference in Cleaveland, Ohio - United States of America (https://www.foodprotection.org/annualmeeting/).
The IAFP annual event recognises and awards plaques and travel scholarship awards to exceptional students in the field of food sciences and food safety from across the world as well as capacity building through the organization’s Student Professional Development Group. Mr. Gekonge is the only attendee from an African University competitively selected among international applicants. Mr. Gekonge is undertaking a Ph.D. in Food Science and Technology under the Fruits and Vegetables for all Seasons project (FruVaSe, 2018-2021)whose Principal Investigator is Prof. Agnes Mwang’ombe and supervised by Dr. George Ooko Abong and Prof. Charles Gachuiri. His research area is on natural guava value addition since the crop is a neglected and an underutilised fruit with extremely high annual losses in Kenya.
To date, he has been able to develop and market test guava nectars with boosted iron, zinc and vitamin A levels for tackling malnutrition. Besides, he has also come up with six other commercially viable natural guava products for which he has successfully patented. Mr. Gekonge has already published two papers on the status of guava fruits in Kenya, highlighting the plight of the almost non-existent guava value chain despite the country’s high annual production. His research has had significant implications on the need for the fruit’s value addition and he is working towards scaling up his research findings to strengthen the crop’s value chain among the Kenyan guava farmers.
This will ensure the reduction of high post-harvest losses, improvement of guava farmers' household economic status through guava commercialisation, and nutritional diversification through the availability of processed local guavas. The College of Agriculture and Veterinary Sciences is proud of this achievement and congratulates the candidate for the award.