Institute for Sustainability


Maximising the impact of clean technology for sustainable rural livelihoods, improved food security and nutrition

Key Words: postharvest; food security; renewable energy; impact assessment toolkit; rural livelihoods


Lead Supervisor: Dr Huashan Bao

Project Studentship Code: IFS002

Programme Code: 8110F

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The overall focus of the research will be the assessment of positive impacts, in particular on rural livelihoods and local agri-food resilience, related to the introduction of innovative technologies in the postharvest supply chain in LMICs. The research aims to deliver a toolkit for assessing the social, economic and environmental impacts of clean technological interventions on postharvest supply chain processing. A particular focus of the impact analysis will be the extent to which technological innovation improves rural livelihoods in Kenya, in turn contributing to achieving the SDG targets.

This will be achieved through development and optimisation of postharvest facilities under constrained conditions within rural Kenya. This research will extend a successfully delivered ESPRC, DECC & DFID funded project ‘Energy Efficient Rural Food Processing Utilising Renewable Energy to Improve Rural Livelihoods’ (RE4Food) and an Innovate UK funded project ‘The Development and Demonstration of a Unique Low Cost Scalable PV Technology for International Deployment’ (DDPV) which will start in Feb 2018. In our previous work, the causes of postharvest losses and the potential to significantly reduce this through the creation of rural services facilitated by access to renewable energy and energy efficient technology has been studied. As a consequence, innovation requirements in the postharvest food sector were identified, and sustainable food processing, cold storage and drying facilities have been successfully designed, modelled and built in several rural communities.

There is a need to clearly understand the economic and social outlook for rural livelihoods in these communities improving and to learn from and improve the facilities designs and technological solutions. Therefore, the impacts of interventions need to be assessed, if evidence is to be generated regarding the efficacy of different interventions and their impacts on the target community and in achieving SGD goals. The findings will be used to inform county and national government to aid the development of future policies regarding the postharvest food supply chain in particular, and local food security in general, as well as other policies relating to rural livelihoods and resilience.

The PhD research project will continue our successful collaboration with Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology (JKUAT) and Practical Action in Kenya. The research will focus on optimise and improve existing postharvest processing facilities and to fully understand the impact of these interventions. The project will enable the development and validation of an impact assessment toolkit and inform policy makers regarding effective technological implementation, which will have generic applicability across other supply chains.

This project addresses multiple sustainable development goals (which are also interconnected and interdependent) particularly in SDG1, SDG2, SDG5, SDG7, SDG8, SDG9, SDG10, SDG12, SDG 13 and SDG 17.