PROF. KARURI EDWARD GICHOHI

 BIODATA

I am a Kenyan citizen by birth. I attended local schools inKenyafor my primary, secondary and undergraduate education. My graduate studies were undertaken inSwitzerland(Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH)) for Msc. andEngland(National College of Food Technology (NCFT),ReadingUniversity) for PhD.

I have accumulated over 20 years of lecturing in the University after with a PhD. in 1984. Main area of specialization is Food process Engineering. This graduating covers the Unit operations in food processing, Food Engineering systems and Measurement and Control Engineering.

Soon after graduation I was employed by the food industry as a production foreman for approximately 3 years. I have hands-on knowledge in the manufacture of fruits and vegetable products. I worked for reputable firms like Del Monte inThika,Kenya. I also enjoyed industrial attachment locally with Nestle Foods(1978) and overseas withBischofszell Conservenfabrik,Switzerland(1976). For eight years I participated in the rehabilitation programme of the Pan Vegetables Ltd. in Naivasha. This was a dehydrating firm for export vegetable products.

My contribution in the local food industries is seen in consultancy reports, training workshops in UNIDO, UNDP, ILO and FKE(Federation of Kenya Employers) and actual commercial products designed under my instruction. That has benefited both the large and small scale food industries inKenyaand in particular women in search for income generation. One Survey conducted in 1992 led to development of training workshops on Management and  Technology which had been identified as the major needs of the small scale food industry at that time. Currently, women are benefiting from the Women Entrepreneurship Development(WED) under UNIDO support.

The search for problems and constraints in the micro, cottage and small scale food industries in the sub- Saharan Africa continues under various donor support. SMALLFOOD project funded by EC has been executed in the Department of Food Technology where I participated.

The exposure in the sugar and coffee industry, in regard to production, processing and marketing, has been extremely useful in the delivery of my commodity technology and Engineering Systems lectures. I am very familiar with the Kenya Sugar Industry, having participated in the Sugar Pricing Committee of the Kenya Sugar Authority for six years. I understand theKenyacoffee industry as a small scale coffee farmer- processor(my hobby) and also as lecturer in the technology of Coffee. A lot of travel is involved to attend technical seminars and meet with other professionals in my field.

The latest challenge in the University is income generation by each production unit to support the academic programmes. We have done well in this area and are now manufacturing and commercialising the meat and milk products in a project that is bound to expand and capture a reasonable market share in the interest of the future of our Institution.

In my area of specialisation there are very many challenges in the design of processes and products for an endless list of raw foods. The products have to be sellable, nutritious, safe and culturally acceptable. This has been possible through application of appropriate technology that is suitable for our developing world. Our Institution was the first beneficiary in terms of establishing a commercial bakery for bread and semi-continuous chapatti production unit. This aimed at the production of hygienic chapatti, in particular, to benefit the University of Nairobi student community. I was instrumental in the planning through to the implementation of the project.

We have carried out several successful research projects with graduate students. One of them was a SIDA supported Lake Victoria Fish project looking at microbial and pesticide contamination, hence the safety of the fish products in the local and export market to the European Union.

I am well acquainted with the problems of the small dairy industry inKenya. I take advantage of the well established dairy pilot plant which doubles as a teaching laboratory and a commercial unit to teach extension processing to dairy farmers and demonstrate Research and Development activities. The pilot plant currently processes most of the milk from the University farm.

A very successful project relevant to Agribusiness was concluded  in September 2004 for Export processing Villages in Kenya. The clients were the International Trade Centre,Geneva,Switzerland, UNDP and the Export Promotion Council,Kenya. I led a team of experts in horticulture, economics , Finance and Food Technology.

In the meantime research and development work continues targeting particularly child malnutrition by designing affordable, acceptable, nutritious and safe food interventions. We have designed products based on the orange-fleshed sweetpotato as a food based intervention to combat Vitamin A deficiency inAfrica.

I have benefitted significantly from the application of nuclear technology for peaceful purposes when I served as the Kenya RAF/8/033 project under the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). This taught me networking with global collaborators in value addition to raw materials for agriculture, industry and human health care products. I chair the committee on Food processing by Ionizing radiation under the Radiation Protection Board.

Currently agricultural sector is focusing on agribusiness. I participate in seven value chains under KAPAP funding.

I embrace ICT in delivery of lectures and multi-tasking in research projects

Personal Information

Areas Of Specialization

Food Process Engineering

Research Interests

Application of ionizing radiation in materials processing and environment

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