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Food Technology Research Center (FT-RC)


Agriculture is the largest sector of the economy, contributing one-quarter directly to Kenya’s gross domestic production and another quarter indirectly. Two-thirds of Kenyans derive either all or part of their incomes from agriculture.  Consequently, the manufacturing sector in Kenya is largely centered around agro-based industries. The food and beverage sectors contribute 40 percent and 48 percent of manufacturing employment and gross domestic production, respectively. Value-addition to agricultural produce is thus a viable route to expand manufactured exports, improve food security, decrease post-harvest losses and enhance socio-economic development. Despite the strategic importance of the agricultural value chain to economic growth, value added manufacturing of agricultural produce is low. The national agricultural product processing ratio (i.e. food manufacturing value-added as a fraction of agricultural gross domestic production) is about 13 percent. About 90 percent of total agricultural exports are in raw or semi-processed form whereas postharvest losses account for 50 percent of agro-produce.  


Research and Development Activities in FT-RC

  • Valorisation of plant, animal, and blue economy resources for improved food security, postharvest loss reduction and enhanced food safety and quality. Special attention is focused on valorization of underperforming indigenous cereal, root and tuber crops such as sorghum, millets, sweet potatoes and cassava; fruits and vegetables such as cowpeas, amaranth, black nightshade, jute mallow, pumpkin leaves, sunhemp, pig weed, spider plant, tomato tree, cactus fruits, baobab and stinging nettle; novel protein sources such as insects; and blue economy resources, in particular seaweeds.
  • Develop sustainable food value chains by promoting green manufacturing and circular economy practices in food industries.
  • Provide entrepreneurs with technical knowledge and skills to enable them develop market-ready products and services. Clients receive support on product formulation and design, standardization, packaging and certification; design, layout, installation, commissioning and maintenance of plant food equipment. The training can be individualized, in groups, and on/off-site KIRDI premises.
  • Risk assessment, predicting and mitigating the risk of contamination, management of food contaminants, improvement of traceability systems, allergen testing and management and anti-microbial resistant research.
  • Develop functional foods including low-fat/fat-free, low sodium, reduced-sugar/sugar-free, low alcohol beverages, gluten-free, lactose-free and fortified foods; preservative-free foods; fermented foods, vegan and plant-based diets; probiotics and pre-biotic foods.

Key Facilities in FT-RC

  •  The FT-RC has pilot plants for honey, fruits and vegetables, nuts and oils, and baking technologies.
  •  The cereals, roots, and tuber crops laboratory has farinograph, extensograph, texture analyser, viscograph, spectrophotometer, and       brabender junior mill.
  •  Sample and ingredient preparation equipment for peeling and size reduction for a wide range of fruits and vegetables, meat processing and preparation equipment, pulpers, mixers, blenders and homogenizers.
  •  Thermal processing equipment such as pasteurization tanks, batch pressure cooking and cooling vessels, extruder, electric driers and freezers.